Drive Away 2Day

2013 BMW M6 Cabriolet : Current Models

After we drove the 2012 BMW 650i Coupe, we noted that, although excellent as a grand tourer, it was no agile sports car. Is that where the M6 fits in?

To begin with, BMW dubs this M6 as their fastest M ever, even though on the surface dropping two cylinders to your top-tier performance coupe seems like you're going backwards. But then, adding two turbochargers in exchange isn't such a bad tradeoff. Yes, you lose the sonic blast of the previous gen's V-10, but the twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 willingly produces 560 bhp and 560 lb.-ft. of torque. Not to mention, the single-clutch automated manual gives way to an 8-speed dual-clutch unit.

There are other performance related changes between the 650i and M6. The rear sub-frame is rigidly mounted to the chassis, and the limited-slip differential uses a computer-controlled servo-motor to adjust clamping force. Unlike other BMW products that utilize a rocker switch to simultaneously control the adjustable chassis functions, the M6's shock damping, transmission shift map, throttle map and steering effort are all independently adjustable. It's an OCD driver's paradise, and, as witnessed by the more technically illiterate journalists during the press launch, a nightmare for technophobes.

To simplify selecting all the different modes, there are two programmable "M" buttons on the three-spoke steering wheel. Think of them as preset memory buttons for driving scenarios. For better feedback, the multi-mode HUD is colorized and features an F1-esque rev counter, gear position indicator and shift light display.

Riding on 265-mm-wide tires up front and 295-mm tires out back, the M6 sports a high level of grip. But it's not easy to discern this grip when you're driving near the limit of traction. Steering feel is adjustable from light to tight, but no matter what setting you select, there's always a mild vagueness to the steering feel.

The brakes, even with a soft brake pedal, are progressive and responsive. Up front, 6-piston calipers clamp down on large 2-piece rotors. A cast steel rotor rides on radial pins from an aluminum hub, thereby mitigating rotor warping while providing a solid rotor-to-hat connection, free of rattles of floating rotor designs. The rear axle sees the same rotors in action, but is combined with single-piston calipers. For those wanting even better brake durability or bling-factor, carbon-ceramic brakes will also be available. Of course, another benefit is weight reduction, as the set removes a combined 42.8-lb. of unsprung mass from the car.

In the Car
Our drive through the hills and coastline surrounding Santa Barbara, California, provided an ideal location (and weather) for the M6 convertible. Fast sweepers highlighted the cars inherent stability, and a combination of highway and twisty roads allowed us to play with the full suite of chassis adjustability. We noticed the vagueness of steering particularly on tight, switchback corners and when the car was pushed harder than a brisk pace. That same vagueness is a benefit on rain-grooved highways, as it keeps steering kickback to a minimum: High-speed two-fingers on the steering wheel cruising is no problem.

On the highway, we not only tried the EcoPro mode, designed to help save fuel by severely damping throttle input and short shifting the gearbox, we also played with the convertible top. The top will operate when the vehicle is moving 25 mph and below, and when up, keeps the interior in near hardtop levels of quietness. At speed, the retractable wind deflector, located behind the rear seats, is ineffective for the front seat occupants. EcoPro mode, while nice to have, is not any fun.

Yes, it's definitely edgier and sportier than its more civilized 650i cousin. But even with advanced electronics and suspension, big tires and brakes, with a listed curb weight of 4255 lb., an agile sports car it is not. Certainly, the power hits harder, it can turn sharper and the ride is definitely stiffer, but rather than thinking of it as a pure sports car, think of it as a supremely composed GT car for those who like to drive at ten-tenths, even with the top down! Available now, expect MSRP to start at $113,995.

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Sources : 2013 BMW M6 Cabriolet Photo | 2013 BMW M6 Cabriolet Article | 2013 BMW M6 Cabriolet Rear Photo | 2013 BMW M6 Cabriolet Photo 2 | 2013 BMW M6 Cabriolet Photo 3 | 2013 BMW M6 Cabriolet Wheel Photo | 2013 BMW M6 Cabriolet Window Photo | 2013 BMW M6 Cabriolet Engine Photo


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