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BMW M6 Gran Coupe: An M6 with two more doors, or a more stylish M5?

BMW is showing off its M6 Gran Coupe before the car’s official debut at the Detroit Auto Show. Just as the regular 6 Series Gran Coupe wraps 6 Series Coupe mechanicals in new sheetmetal, this performance version is essentially a “four door coupe” version of the M6 Coupe.

As with other BMW M models, turning a Gran Coupe into an M6 involves an injection of power and technology. The M6 Gran Coupe will get the 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 used in the M6 Coupe, M6 Convertible, and M5. In the Gran Coupe, it makes the same 560 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque.

The V8 is mated to BMW’s seven-speed M Double-Clutch automated manual transmission, which features Launch Control, Low Speed Assistance to (hopefully) keep the transmission from feeling jerky at parking lot speeds, and an engine start-stop function.

Completing the drivetrain is the Active M Differential, an electronically-controlled rear differential that works with the M6’s stability control to shift power between individual wheels depending on conditions.

With all of that equipment deployed, BMW says the M6 Gran Coupe will sprint from 0 to 62 mph in (0 to 100 kph) in 4.2 seconds, and reach an electronically-limited top speed of 155 mph (189 mph with the M Driver’s Package). That’s the same 0 to 62 mph time as the M6 Coupe, and a slightly faster time than the M6 Convertible (4.3 seconds) and the M5 sedan (4.4 seconds).

As with those other M models, the M6 Gran Coupe comes with plenty of electronic assistants to help its driver get around corners without crashing. These include the aforementioned Dynamic Stability Control, Dynamic Damper Control mapping, M Servotronic, and a Drivelogic controller for the transmission. All of these functions can be controlled with buttons placed around the shifter. The driver’s preferred settings can be activated with the “M” buttons on the steering wheel.

If that sounds like a tech overload, there are even more features that have nothing to do with performance. The M6 Gran Coupe is available with everything from night vision to a “Soft Close Automatic” setting for the doors.

Entertainment features include a Bang & Olufsen High End Surround Sound System and smartphone integration. Safety features include: Park Distance Control, Lane Departure and Lane Change Warning, Speed Limit Info, and a rearview camera.

Despite all of the tech under the skin, a passersby might mistake this M6 for a less-opulent 640i Gran Coupe. BMW’s M models have always been restrained, and this one is no different. Visual changes include more aggressive front and rear fascias, unique 20-inch wheels, and the traditional M vents on the front fenders. The Gran Coupe also gets the M6 Coupe’s carbon fiber-reinforced plastic roof.

The M6 Gran Coupe will go on sale in May 2013. American pricing has not been announced, but the Gran Coupe will sell for 128,800 euros in Germany. Anyone who can come up with the cash will have a tough choice: The Gran Coupe, M6 Coupe, and M5 sedan are essentially the same car underneath, so it will all come down to styling preference.

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