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Launch Pad – BMW M6 Convertible

The power of M

Richard Macaskill

M. BMW reckons it’s the most powerful letter in the world. Motorsport is what it stands for in a BMW context, but there are so many more things it could mean. Mean, muscular, magical. Mastery. After having driven the new M6 Convertible, I’m pretty convinced M actually stands for the last word there. Mastery of power, mastery of style, mastery of dynamism. Mastery of all things motoring.

Now, it’s hard to criticize a car as good as the M6, even in what is undoubtedly less rigid cabriolet guise. But then, when you spend over a million bucks on a car, you want everything to be perfect. The good news is, when it comes to the M6 Convertible, for the most part, it is.

Under its bonnet lies the same mountain-moving 412 kW, 680 Nm twin-turbo V8 that’s found in the widely lauded M5, and what an engine it is. Top down you can hear the deep, guttural growl of the V8, growing into a piercing scream as the revs climb. Fast. It’s an experience like no other, and even with the fabric roof up, the sound is barely deadened. I have to admit that there is quite a bit of road and wind noise, but if that helps the engine note better penetrate the cabin, it’s a price worth paying.

And speaking of fast… The M6 Convertible gets to 100 km/h in a mere 4.3 seconds, with a top speed of 250 km/h standard and 305 km/h with the optional M Driver’s Package. The engine is mated to a 7-speed M-DCT twin-clutch ‘box that sends the considerable power and torques to the rear wheels. And that means there’s plenty of sideways fun on offer for those brave enough to attempt to tame the M6. In MDM, or M Dynamic Mode, the M6 let’s you wag your tail more than enough to induce a massive grin, but it’ll still catch you before you do anything stupid.

However, potter along at a sane speed and the M6 is comfortable, even quiet, top down costal cruising is a pleasure in this thing. Rest assured, when you want to let the sanity leave you for a while, the M6 will always be a willing partner.

Suspension-wise, the newest M car on the block features a double-track control arm set-up up front with M-specific elastokinematics and anti-dive and an integral-V multi-arm axle at the back, also with M-specific elastokinematics, anti-squat and anti-dive. Stopping power, too, is impressive, with 400 mm six-pot ventilated calipers doing duty on the front wheels and 396 mm single-piston calipers taking care of the rear wheels. The quick cabrio rides on 265/40R19 and 295/35R19 rubber front and rear respectively.

It also boasts a raft of technical goodies that keep it on the straight and narrow, including DSC made up of ABS, ASC and MDM, Cornering Brake Control, Dynamic Brake Control, M Dynamic Damper Control and an Active M Differential linked to the Integrated Chassis Management system. Six airbags also make an appearance on the standard features list.

Okay, there are also stacks of options you can add onto your M6 that will push the price up significantly – the basic price is a shade under 1.5 bar and our launch unit came in at well over R1.7 million. But does R200K really matter when we’re talking about that much money?

My vote is no. High-class things aren’t cheap. Perfume or cologne, suits, Italian shoes. no-one brags about getting them at half price. And the same goes for the M6. Get your Italian shoes on, don your suit jacket and spray that cologne, then go and buy an M6, because it’s well, well worth it.

M6 Convertible   R1 485 500

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