BMWBLOG First Drive: 2012 BMW M6 Convertible

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The new 2012 BMW M6 Convertible is more than the pinnacle of the M Division’s performance lineup, it’s a performance automobile that impress with every …

The new 2012 BMW M6 Convertible is more than the pinnacle of the M Division’s performance lineup, it’s a performance automobile that impress with every feature and design line. Over the course of two days, the new M6 Convertible showcased its abilities on the curvy and scenic roads near Santa Barbara.

Over 100 miles of scenic and curvy roads, the M6 Convertible impressed us with its perfect synergy between a high-performance vehicle and a stylish grand tourer. The soft top convertible  is fairly heavy at 4,509 pounds, but aided by a future award-winning engine and a unique tuned up chassis, the high-end convertible makes the extra weight and size being fairly irrelevant.

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The magic starts with the S53Tu 4.4 liter V8 TwinPower turbocharged engine employing the M division’s patented manifold that evenly spaces out exhaust pulses. With a peak turbo boost of 21.7 psi, the M-built engine produces 560 hp and 500 lb-ft of torque that now is delivered in a flat band between 1500 and 5750 rpm. The performance is also possible thanks to twice as large intercoolers compared to the ones found in the X5M/X6M models and of course, the unique Valvetronic. Compared to the highly-acclaimed, now retired, 5.0 liter V10, the new unit found in the M5 and M6 not only has 10 percent more ponies, but it also improves its efficiency by nearly 30 percent, in part thanks to the engine stop-start feature.

All great numbers on paper, but none of the performance and driving thrills of the M6 Convertible would come to life without M’s best chassis to date. Versus a regular 6 Series Convertible, the M6 droptop gets a rigidly mounted rear subframe, an M-specific suspension with Dynamic Damper Control active dampers, and hydraulic-assist for the power steering. The M Drive system lets the owner change the M6 driving performance, including suspension stiffness, steering feedback, double-clutch shifting response and stability control.

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So how fast does it go? Fast enough to make us drive the car like we stole it. On the  twisty roads of Sierra Madre, the M6 makes its dimensions and weight work in its favor. Without hesitation, we switched over to Sport or Sport+ mode, pushed the aggressively setup M1 or M2 buttons, and off we were to conquer the road. The M flagship has not lost its core values and we instantly come to experience great steering feedback, road grip, dynamics and perfect balance, as we fly through corners, both up and downhill. As designed, the Comfort mode is there to calm you down without taking away all the fun. Sport or Sport+ modes increase the throttle response and gave us an adrenaline rush as we flew through corners and imaginary racing lines.

And since we mentioned steering response, we would like to point out the new M steering wheel that brings back a classic look. Long gone is the bulky wheel, now replaced by a sleek unit that remind us of racing cars. The center circle is now connected to three spokes, one of them dressed up in aluminum, a sign of sportiness, if there was any doubt.

The perfect shifting coming from the configurable seven-speed double-clutch transmission (a manual will be offered next year) completes the driving experience and as we approach the driver change moment of our trip, a sadness begins to overwhelm us. The new M6 Convertible is just that much fun to drive.

On roads with plenty of Police patrol units, we decided that being booked is not our agenda for the day, so we obeyed the speed limit ….well, kinda. The folks over at Car and Driver shared with us some of their recent findings during their own private test drive, 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds, to 100 mph in just 9.2 and even more impressive, to 130 mph in 15.5 seconds.

Now onto the exhaust note. Yes, it’s not as glorious as the one in the E60 M5, but we believe most of the buyers will find it more than adequate and sufficiently loud with either the top down or up. Sitting on the side of the road and watching the other M6s pass by, made us appreciate the acoustics.

The standard 19″ non-runflat wheels and M compound braking system with 6 piston front calipers and single piston rear calipers, give us the confidence needed in the most unexpected situations.At low speeds, the brakes are a bit touchy and takes time to break them in or getting used to, but they shine the most at full speed and sharp corners.

A first for an M model, the M6 Convertible and Coupe will be available starting in July with carbon-ceramic brake rotors as an option. BMW of North America M Brand Manager Matt Russel says the ceramic brakes resist fade better than the standard brakes while weighing 40 pounds less.

The Gran Tourer spirit comes to life on flat highways. Switching over to Comfort and the M6 Convertible becomes a perfect commuter car, expensive and luxurious, yet eager to conquer the road with a push of a button. Compared to the regular 6 Series Coupe, the Comfort mode remains fairly aggressive.

Our Frozen Grey M6 was one of the most sought test vehicles, partly thanks to its rare factor and the matte paint that perfectly describes the design lines as the artist outlined in his sketches. The character line from front to rear is now accentuated more than ever, while two flowing lines run across the hood towards they end in the front fascia.

One topic we have seen surfacing quite a bit at the event revolved around the old-time comparison between the BMW’s classic and driver oriented interior, and Audi’s futuristic approach. The M6 Convertible does  a superb job combining the two characteristics, with a layer of luxury around them. The now stand-alone iDrive screen, the optional Bang & Olufsen high-end audio system or the full-color M Head-Up Display, are now proof that BMW’s interior design language has taken a turn for the better.

As any other M model, the interior of the M6 Convertible retains the M icons: M footrest and door sills, M Instrument Dashboard, and carbon fiber trim. In a nutshell, a cockpit that makes us crave the track even more.

At $113,995 ($895 destination and handling included), the 2012 BMW M6 Convertible is priced to play in the big league. Despite our love for classic Ms or more recently the 1M, the new M6 Convertible is without a doubt the best M we have driven to date, a perfect combination between motorsport, luxury and style.

If you look past the emotional aspect of non-naturally aspirated engines and the slightly less imposing engine sound, the 2012 M6 Convertible is worth at least a test drive, if not a permanent spot in your garage.

27 responses to “BMWBLOG First Drive: 2012 BMW M6 Convertible”

  1. Michael says:

    Great review guys! Can’t wait to see the M6 Coupe what can do on track

  2. bmw SUCKS says:

    Another stupid car for stupid people. Even the S8 will easily kick this gayish car ass. I don’t even need to bring in the RS6.And about the engine. Why are you so sure it will win an award, foolish editor?

    • Horatiu B. says:

      Why? The engine truly is a great piece of work, ask any mechanical engineer and will tell you that. I’m willing to bet that it will win an award over the next two years.

      • Guest says:

        OK, my firend. I’m a BMW fan as well. But let’s look at the facts straight. BMW has already lost its performance crown to Audi. And that’s more than obvious. The new A6 leaves no chance to the 5 Series. The new A8 beats the 7 Series. The same applies to the A4 vs 3 series confrontation. So now BMW has become a brand which isn’t the best at anything unlike Mercedes-Benz (ride comfort and build quality) and Audi (interior quality and best-in-segment performance).
        And my advice to “bmw SUCKS” is the following: stop eating people’s nerves here. We all know that Audi beats BMW in the performance and handling department and builds much better cars than BMW. So get calm: we admit our defeat.

      • bmw SUCKS says:

        You will lose, pathetic bmw loser! Let’s bet. This year results of the International engine of the year award will be announced in the middle of June, and you’ll see that your pathetic M6 engine which isn’t even faster than the 420hp S7 engine, won’t even be a runner-up. And then I’ll say a couple of words to you in this forum. So stop talking rubbish

      • Pete says:

        That engine is rubbish. Even the S7’s 420hp has the same performance numbers. So the M6 engine is an absolute disgrace. So you understand nothing in automobiles, my friend.

    • cpw2626 says:

      Another stupid comment from the ultimate troll.

      • Pete says:

        He’s the ultimate truth-speaker. Visit and compare consumer reviews for the 5 Series and the A6 and you’ll see that bmw owners hate their cars and Audi owners are extremely satisfied. And most of the A6 buyers compared the A6 with the 5 series prior to buying the A6 and all of them say the same thing: no comparison since the A6 kills the 5 series in every aspect. And the sales results will prove that the A6 is one step ahead of the already outdated 5 series. And the most clear testimony to my words is the following. BMW engineers added too much weight to the new 5 Series while Audi engineers even managed to cut the weight down. It testifies to BMW engineers incompetence and Audi engineers brilliance. And the result is that Audi is now growing at a much faster rate and will soon dethrone BMW as the best-selling premium car maker in the world. And Audi deserves it unlike BMW.

        • Horatiu B. says:

          Next comment from you that is not related to the M6 will be deleted.

          And stop using multiple usernames.

        • says:

          Pete youre so silly and really dont know nothing of BMW , people like you dont know how it works!! BMW does not run like VW and a bunch of managers who are controlled by just growing and selling cars ! BMW built its reputation very slowly due to the fact that every step is well thought, BMW is also the only Co in the car world managed by a family, also +/-( toyota) your Audi even stoled the Numeration from BMW among many other things . An Audi will be for ever a VW no matter what VW = Cheap Cars as it says in German !! oh sorry you dont know German so check it out !!! see what it means .

  3. bmw SUCKS says:

    Another stupid car for stupid people. Even the S6 will easily kick this gayish car ass. I don’t even need to bring in the RS6.And about the engine. Why are you so sure it will win an award, foolish editor?

  4. StraightSix says:

    Very beautiful, very expensive, this car will truly get to life only on expensive sunny boulevards around the globe. And even there the insane power of the car will be hindered most of the times.

  5. bmw SUCKS says:

    Too pathetic for BMW. Just look. The Audi S7 with only 420hp has the same performance numbers as the most powerful bmw M6 convertible. 0-60 4 seconds. The same to quarter mile. Go hang yourself, lovers of an outdated brand called bmw.

  6. truth says:

    What a stupid comments? lol! Audi fanboys… This M6 is amazing car and the coupe is even faster than convertible. Audi have never had Grand Tourer!
    S7 – fastest 4 door coupe? ha ha ha! No! CLS 63 is faster! (The M6 grand coupe is coming!) Another competitors – Audi RS6 and BMW M5… The RS6 is still powerful tan M5 F10 but if you see results you will shut up… The E60 M5 has naturally aspirated V10 engine and produces 500 hp and its competitor Audi RS6 has Twin Turbo V10 and produces 580 hp. That’s because Audi introduces from 2008 and E60 M5 from 2005.
    E92 M3 vs RS5? hmmm the M3 is better in every aspects and faster!
    So shut the fuck up and just leave comments field alone ))

  7. Jason says:

    Great review Horatiu! And what a fantastic machine…I’m jealous of you. Can’t wait to drive one. My brother owns the previous generation and now it’s my turn.

  8. Giom says:

    No need to argue with these trolls. They’re here because they know BMW is doing things right and being copied by everyone else. I don’t even read their comments anymore. Fabricated from a non-informed low life!

    Great report guys. But I do hope the coupé is a little bit more hard core. These M models need to distinguish themselves from the MPerformance models properly. In your opinion, is it enough?

  9. D says:

    0-130 mph in 15.5 sec? C&D also wrote that from 0 to 150 mph did it in 22.2 sec. Previous M6 convertible did 0-130 mph in 15.5 sec too and 0-150 mph did in 20.9 sec. it is only 100 kg lighter than the new one… +60 hp and +120 nm is not enough? The previous one is 1.3 sec faster from 0 to 150 mph than the new? Something is wrong I think… Maybe C&D have made mistake…

  10. Tim says:

    Good job on the review. Loved it, to the point and focused on driving experience. I’ve seen others saying the car feels heavy. Is it true? Can the 560 hp make up for the weight increase?

  11. Thomas says:

    Man, that sounds like a blast! Did you push it that hard? I feel like you’re not saying the full story behind speed and such :)

  12. Takido says:

    Love the photos! What camera did you use? I can tell that some are made by BMW since I saw them on other sites, but the other ones are probably yours.

  13. roller garage door says:

    Nice share! the photos are very lovely.

  14. Shark 28-28 says:

    My friend BMW is number one car in the world with the highest brand value image , Audi is like in the eight place , when it comes in design or technology there always in advance and definitely I disagree with u that the rs5 is faster than than m3 not even a chance u can google it or even see some car show about it I own Audi a5 it quiet nice car but I did face some technical problem specially with the cabriolet compenet ,so my friend let discuss about it without saying it sucks and something like that because trust if you drove a BMW u will know why we r crazy about it

  15. david says:

    If you like Audi buy Audi. If you like BMW buy BMW. The stats are almost meaningless unless you’re taking it to the track. Then you will probably be passed by a better driver in a slower car. What good are the stats in that case?

  16. […] its 560 horsepower in standard form, the BMW M6 Convertible is already a beast that’s hard to control. The super sporty cabriolet is BMW’s jewel in the […]

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