An exerpt from SA's leading motoring magazine "Cars in Action"..
BMW M6: Beemer extreme
Michele Lupini - Cars in Action - Seville, Spain
Posted Mon, 25 Apr 2005
BMW went to the unknown Ascari circuit in Spain to unleash its sophisticated and powerful new M6. Don't be too concerned if you had never heard of the Ascari track — they don't actually race there — it's an exclusive club you can join to drive anything from a BMW 320ti to a Benetton F1 car flat out.
We'd driven up there from Seville and the fastest ever BMW had seemed like the ultimate big daddy GT on those relatively busy B roads. Lofty, luxurious and supreme.
But the BMW M6 shares its epic V10 power unit with the BMW M5, which means that it transforms into a monster at the touch of that M button, shunting its everyday 400bhp instantaneously to well beyond 500, stiffening up the chassis and quickening the throttle. That followed by a dab on the ESC button kills the traction control, which in turn allows you to flick the SMG up to phase 6 for lightning millisecond robotic gear changes.
BMW M’s efforts to absolutely minimise weight and the driving dynamics to tame the racetrack combined with comfort and equipment ideal for any road anywhere in the world, make M6 into the new BMW Uber Coupé — the ultimate BMW. That lightweight quest seeps through everywhere — from its carbonfibre roof to that revolutionary material's appearance in place of wooden cabin trim.
M6 is otherwise subtly immortalised by an aggressive shark like radiator grilles flanked by a pair of imposing vents each side of the front bumper-spoiler ramming ambient air onto those monster brakes, while the M body kit goes all the way around where you find those no-nonsense quad exhausts.
M6s stylish double-5-spoke wheels are its own too — until someone in Lens replaces them with 23" monsters and gives his set to another lightie for his mock-M 316i, that is.
“M6 is the essence of BMW,” BMW M Fuhrer Professor Eckhard Bruhnke reckons. “It’s everything that the company and the cars stand for distilled and diluted into one machine. “The M6 embodies everything that BMW stands for…”
M6 benefits from ultimate acceleration and driving dynamics on the road – attributes not only of pure power, but also of lightweight and balance, not to mention the ability to help engineers match it all to optimum gearbox and final drive transmission ratios.
BMW reckons its high-revving concept was the perfect choice for M6: the compact, fast-turning normal-aspirated V10 can reach 8250 rpm — until now the reserve only of purebred racecars — to easily surpass that magic specific power mark of 100bhp/litre.
The 90° V10 also optimises vibration and comfort thanks to its extremely stiff six-bearing crankshaft, while variable dual-VANOS camshaft control ensures optimum valve timing and performance by perfecting the torque curve and ensuring instantaneus throttle response, never mind lower fuel consumption and minimum exhaust emissions.
Each cylinder in this F1 derived masterpiece boasts its own throttle butterfly, while the ten spark plugs double up as ionic sensors between each ignition pulse to perfectly monitor and control every aspect of combustion in each individual cylinder. The V10 is needless to say commanded and masterminded by the most powerful central engine management processors currently in global car production.
M6’s seamless twin-chamber exhaust system is crafted of stainless steel and its quad tailpipes emit gas compliant to next generation European EU4 and US LEV2 standards, in an even more imposing and sporting tone than M5.
M6s V10 mill drives through BMW’s supreme seven-speed SMG transmission - the world’s only seven-cog sequential 'box, which features Drivelogic. SMG shifts gears lightning quick in ‘race’ mode, while still offering comfortable cruising even with automatic selection in the more composed settings. And that additional gear keeps those increments between engine speed and torque even tighter, ensuring a smoother shifting sequence.
Gear shifting is driver inflicted either via prodding F1 paddles on either side behind the steering wheel or by pressing or tugging the gear selector and SMG now responds significantly faster and slicker than in previous generation SMG transmissions. Or you can let it do it all for you in a broad spread of five 'drive' and six manual shift speed and attitude settings.
BMW claims its quickest ever 0–100 dash in M6 — just 4.6 seconds, while it reaches 200km/h in 14 seconds, with the electronically enforced 250km/h top end coming up seconds later. Without that artificial top speed- limiatation, M6 would touch 330km/h, although it can lap the legendary Nürburgring Nordscheife in under 8 minutes just like that.
But we're at Ascari, where the start marshal eventually shows us the green flag and I stomp on it. And all hell breaks loose...
The big coupe shoves its back down with an almighty bang as that V10 instantaneously ignites the huge 19" rubber at the back and M6 lurches forward, the tacho needle coming to rest just south of 9000 as the car's speed catches up the rate at which the rear wheels are spinning. I bang into second with another resounding wallop, the rear wheels still well on fire.
The bang to third is a little more subdued, but at least this time there’s semblance of traction as we crest the brow and climb on the clamps for the impending left hairpin.
It drifts through the decreasing radius exit but I finally kill the slide by tipping it into third again, then fourth as the quick left-right approaches frighteningly quickly.
A quick dab on the brakes before I turn in and I feed her in smoothly, the nose responds with alacrity and it follows through a dream.
I lift momentarily to transfer the weight to the other side for the right-hander, avoiding the ugly shark’s teeth as M6 storms toward the next, longer right-hander and it simply flows through toward a right hairpin, which it responds to by incinerating the rubber at the back as it drifts out under glorious power before I let it fall full throttle into the next banked lefthander followed by a flick left through the first bit of a chicane and its undulating easy roller coaster exit
But a left hand hairpin follows very quickly and the huge clamps whirr us down to the right pace, it turns in sweetly and I bang it — setting fire to the back end again as I turn it to full lock to catch it before it sweetly comes into line.
Now we’re onto a triple straight that’s quite like the East London GP circuit’s through Potter’s Pass and Rifle bends and M6 roars as it barrels down toward the first challenge. I wait a bit to turn in quite hard and late but M6 just charges through leaving me only to line up the exit apex a hair's breadth off the rumble strip.
The next one is simpler, before the brilliant big ABS clamps seem to stretch my cheeks as I brake from 230 and turn into the tighter right-hander, which M6 does so sweetly — a tribute to what BMW M Boss Bruhnke explais as M6’s brilliant polar mass packaging and low centre of gravity with most of the car’s bulk well within the wheelbase.
It bursts out of that corner — well proving that M6 is close to idiot proof as it rushes up the short chute to a tricky little chicane where the Ascari circuit turns technical.
I brake as hard and as late as possible while snatching down a cog or two to turn the exit into the following banked curve into one main corner. It does that as sweetly as ever and I short-shift — preventing any significant loss of traction at the back under full power, wary of the ominous green wall where the tarmac ends
I peek momentarily at the revs on the head-up display, noticing it pull through 5000 rather than six-and-a-half thousand rpm something like a nuclear submarine as the road dives downhill toward another tricky little chicane through the valley,
Both M6 and I love the next complex through an odd right-hander over a crest and into a hole that becomes a banked left-hander I reckon they copied off the Nurburgring Nordschiefe’s Karoussel and I shift up twice as M6 rockets out of the ever decreasing radius bend. I eye the following Laguna Seca Corkscrew-like tight left over the brow into a long-long right and down the hill and M6 emerges again with its rear tyres burning strong in third as it brushes sideways along the lengthy apex, the Gs in the cabin knocking us about.
This is my moment of M6 glory and it roars into fourth as I bang the top of the wheel as I lift off into the pit entrance.
The pit marshal beckons us imposingly toward the paddock. The end — all that remains is lunch before a lazy GT ride back to Sevilla in fat cat mode.
That evening, we discussed this glorious machine well into the night. I’m fortunate enough to have sat with M boss Professor Bruhnke to debate his latest masterpiece. The BMW M6 is a tour de force without shadow of doubt — a double take of phat cat cruiser and one of the finest sporting machines on the road all melded into one dramatic, dynamic and devastating driving weapon. Yes, M6 is indeed everything BMW stands for — and then a whole lot more…