2012 BMW M6 Convertible

There's no denying that the BMW M6 convertible is a fantastic car for enthusiasts. It looks great, with its gaping air intakes and big wheels. Its cabin is luxurious and comfortable. And the M car's performance is absolutely stupendous. Yes, the M6 convertible is the sort of car that gets my pulse racing and makes me want to take the long way home.

If the ridiculous level of acceleration doesn't tickle your fancy, the technology will. There's a cool color head-up display that shows a tachometer, shift warning lights, current gear, and speed -- although it's hard to see the display when you're wearing polarized sunglasses. Then there are 81 combinations of settings for the engine performance, suspension firmness, steering weight, and transmission shift speed. You can even store your favorite configuration with the M1 and M2 preset buttons. Finally, the dual-clutch automatic's unusual shifter apes the action of a manual transmission. You slide the illuminated shifter left and forward to select reverse, and must leave it in Drive when turning off the car.

Is the BMW M6 the most thrilling car I have ever driven? No. The exhaust is too quiet, the transmission doesn't feel particularly aggressive, and the steering is a bit too dull for the M6 to feel like a true sports car. Despite plentiful use of aluminum, the 4508-pound BMW feels large and ponderous on anything other than wide and straight roads. But a 560-hp convertible that looks this good will never fail to put a smile on my face.

Jake Holmes, Associate Web Editor

$125,595 is a lot of money. For about the price of a BMW M6 convertible, you could attend the University of Michigan Medical School for four years or buy four houses (at the median price) in Detroit. A BMW M6 that costs almost much as an M.D. should at least be worth the scratch.

It is: the M6 has both absolute power (560 hp) and great usability, thanks to a dual-clutch automatic transmission that plays nice around town in its mellowest mode and rips shifts when you drive it hard. The interior is beautifully appointed, the technology is top-notch, and the curb appeal is stellar. Simply put, it feels like a (recent) BMW M car: an otherwise heavy car that bends physics and delights passengers.

At $114k, the M6's base asking price is steep -- especially for power-per-dollar-minded buyers who would just as soon buy a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 convertible at half the price -- but I'd remind those naysayers that that price will also get you a well-appointed Porsche 911 Carrera S cabriolet, an amazing car that's still down 160 hp on the Bimmer. Furthermore, the M6 is at least $85,000 less than the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG roadster, a car that shouts more (both visually and audibly) than the BMW but likely performs no better than it. And if you've got $210k lying around and absolutely must spend it, buy an M6 cabriolet and a BMW 640i Gran Coupe to match.

Ben Timmins, Associate Web Editor

The BMW M6 droptop sure is a striking car to look at, in its San Marino blue and with these giant, twenty-inch, thin-spoke wheels. Looking good is critical for a car like this, but so is strong performance, and the BMW M6 has definitely got that, too. It took a great deal of restraint for me to keep from constantly driving this car at triple-digit speeds, but I was appeased by the car's excellent steering (and cool new M steering wheel) and composed chassis. I was less entertained by the vast -- perhaps even overwhelming -- amount of electronic adjustability (multiple settings for steering, throttle, suspension stiffness, and shift speeds). But it was easy to figure out and not too distracting after the first few miles behind the wheel, at which time I focused my full attention on the top-down, high-powered driving experience.

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

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