New BMW M6: Like an M5, but better looking

2013 M6 front 3/4

BMW released photos and technical information on the new M6, a 6-Series coupe and convertible souped up by the company’s M Division. Like the previous M6, the new car wraps the hardware of the M5 sedan in sexy two-door bodywork.

The M6 shares an engine with the M5, as well as the X5M and X6M SUVs. The 4.4-liter V8 is twin-turbocharged and direct-injected, producing 560 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque. That’s 60 more horsepower than the 5.0-liter V10 in the old M6 and, according to BMW, the V8 is also 30 percent more fuel efficient.

The new engine will also improve drivability. It delivers its peak horsepower between 5,750 and 7,000 rpm (redline is 7,200 rpm), and peak torque between 1,500 and 5,750 rpm. That gives the V8 a power band three times as wide as the V10, and a very flat torque curve. So whatever speed the engine is running at, there will always be plenty of power available.

All that power is sent to the wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (a manual may be available in the future) and what BMW calls the “Active M Differential,” which can automatically vary between open and full lock to give the car more traction on slippery surfaces. Both items are shared with the M5.

Slowing the M6 down are massive brake rotors: 15.7 inches in diameter in the front, 15.6 in the rear. An optional extra will be the M Division’s first carbon-ceramic brakes, which weigh 42.8 pounds less than the standard cast-iron pieces and are more resistant to fade.

2013 M6 convertible side view

Chassis upgrades include stiffer mounting points for the suspension, and a host of electronic aids, including Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), and others. Confused? All of these systems can be controlled through the master Dynamic Stability Control, which is programmed for three levels of electronic intervention, including one that turns the system completely off and lets the driver rely on talent alone.

On the outside, the M6 gets some minimal changes from the already good-looking 6 Series, such as wider front air intakes and bigger wheels to accommodate those huge brakes. More importantly, the M6 has aluminum doors and front fenders to reduce weight. As with the previous version, the coupe also has a carbon-fiber roof.

The 2013 M6 coupe will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show, while the convertible will debut at the New York Auto Show. However, the convertible will go on sale first, in June 2012, followed by the coupe. Pricing has not been announced but, given the base 6 Series’ $102,000 MSRP, don’t expect the M6 to be cheap.