2006 BMW M6

Mark Gillies
Tom Salt
Full Driver Side View

Still, the M6 is very impressive for such a big machine. The accurate steering livens up at speed, although it isn't as connected as, say, an M3's or a Porsche Boxster's. The brakes have great feel, which means that left-foot braking becomes second nature. You can get a real rhythm going with the interplay of brake, steering, and paddle shifting. The massive 13.7-inch-diameter front and 13.6-inch rear discs are ventilated and cross-drilled.

The car's credentials as a dual-character, mega-money GT are reinforced by the interior. The sporty side is manifest in a terrific fat-rimmed steering wheel and seats that are adjustable for width to cope better with the extra g-forces. The sybaritic nature is demonstrated by more luxurious trim than in a regular 645Ci, with leather on the dashboard and doors and an Alcantara headliner. The center console and door trims include tasteful piano- black wood or slightly gauche carbon fiber. It certainly feels special, as it should for a price that's likely to be around $106,000 when it goes on sale in about a year. (That's probably $20,000 more than the M5, which goes on sale this fall.)

Full Engine View

The rear seats would be OK only for small children over long distances, because there is hardly any more room than in a Porsche 911. Unlike the 911, however, the M6 has a sensibly sized trunk that will swallow golf clubs, full-size suitcases, and the like. Our only complaint about the interior after driving more than 300 miles was with the iDrive system interface. Despite BMW's best efforts to tidy up the system, it is still infuriating to use.

The other contentious feature of modern BMWs, of course, is their styling. We reckon that the M6 is the best realized of them, however. It's way cool, a daring design statement in the manner of a Philippe Starck interior. With its superaggressive nineteen-inch wheels and tires and sculpted front and rear fascias and side skirts, the M6 looks wicked. Some of you will think we're visually challenged, but we like the idea of one in black.

Full Rear View

The M6 has plenty of competitors, from the Porsche 911 Carrera S at the lower end of the scale to the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti at the very top. The softer Bentley Continental GT, the more conventionally good-looking Aston Martin DB9, and the super-quick Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG are even more expensive, while the slightly cheaper Mercedes CLS55 AMG four-door coupe is perhaps its most direct rival. You could argue that the BMW M5 sedan is also a competitor, but the shorter-wheelbase M6 is even sharper, faster, and harder-edged. If you're in the market for a flamboyant 2+2 supercoupe, the M6 does a great job of providing practicality, usability, and sheer performance. Sure, it costs more than both the 911 and the CLS, but its polarizing style is a major selling point, while younger tech-savvy buyers will love the way you can change its character by pushing a few buttons.

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