With more than 550bhp under the bonnet, the BMW M6 is more than just a ballastic Autobahn missile, but also a competent cruiser when you want it to be

Find Used BMW M6 2012-2017 review deals
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Used car deals
From £18,995
Sell your car
In partnership with
Powered by

What is considered the most outrageous M-car in the range, even with the ludicrous V12-powered M760Li - the M6 is Bavaria's answer to a bristling muscle car. The M6 is available in three guises, much the same way the 6 Series is - as a coupé, convertible and a four-door Gran Coupé. But that is where the similarities end.

The 6 Series is similar in many ways to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class Coupé as a competent grand tourer, while the M6 is cut from the same cloth as the aggressive brute that Mercedes-AMG devised in the S63 and S65 Coupé - that is to say brutally fast.

The BMW M6 Competition Pack is one of those cars that lets you overtake as you please

Getting to know the BMW M6

The standard M6 already has 552bhp, and like with most M cars there is a Competition Package that can be appended boosting the power to 591bhp. To put that in perspective, it remains on the coat tails of the 4.0-litre V8 S63 but finds itself 30bhp behind the outrageous twin-turbo V12 S65. In 2015, BMW facelifted the 6 Series with changes made to the bumpers, air intakes and headlights, with the M6 also inheriting those tweaks. However, there was one bespoke change BMW made to the M6's Competition Pack too, and let’s face it, who doesn’t like a horsepower number that starts with a six?

That’s not all: this new Competition Package is more… competitiony. Springs and dampers have been upgraded, as have anti-roll bars. The electronically controlled limited-slip M-differential gets its own ECU, the stability control programme has its own tune, as does the steering, while there’s an Akrapovic titanium exhaust system.

Back to top

When I say the suspension is ‘upgraded’, mind, what I mean is ‘stiffer’. The dampers are still adaptive, so you do get some say in how rigid they are. The chassis, like the steering and the engine/transmission response, can be put in Comfort, Sport or Sport+ - individually, or together, as you prefer.

For those of you keen to keep the M6 standard, you won't be disappointed with the 552bhp it produces, not to mention its extensive equipment list. There is double-wishbone suspension at the front, 19in alloy wheels, an M-Performance aerodynamically tuned bodykit, a quad-pipe exhaust system and plenty of M6 designation as standard on the outside. Inside, there is a Merino leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front sports seats, a wifi hotspot, and a Harman and Kardon stereo system, while like the rest of the BMW range, the M6 gets iDrive with sat nav, DAB, Bluetooth and USB connectivity and the addition of a 10.2in screen.

Unleashing the BMW M6 on the asphalt

Here we took on the M6 Competition Package and anyway you set it up, it’s an agreeable car. Slip the settings into their softest ones and it does a passable impression of a GT car. And although there’s always an underlying firmness to it – a result, you suspect, of the pack’s unique 20in rims and some of the limitations of this platform, which have long prevented the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series from being all they might be – that’s not always a bad thing here.

Unlike other cars on this architecture the M6 doesn’t have to ride particularly well, you see, and freed from those obligations it remains for my money the best car based on this platform. Body control, even in comfort, is tight, and if you flick the settings further, that only becomes more impressive. Sure, the ride goes from firm to fidgety, but it’s only too harsh on poor roads.

What is harder to find is a road that’s big enough. Quite often we drive a car overseas and have to reserve final judgement until we come to the UK. With the M6, almost the reverse is true. You’d want a derestricted autobahn to get the best out of this, performance is so mighty.

Back to top

It takes a while to arrive, though. The 4.4-litre V8 has notable lag at lower revs, but after a short pause an inordinate amount of shove arrives. The M6 Competition Pack is one of those cars that lets you overtake as you please, that bothers its stability control regularly or, if it’s switched off, lets you enjoy its front-engined, rear-driven balance with great ease.

If you’re in the market for an M6, should you pay the extra for the Competition Package? Sure. It costs £7300 more than standard, but if you were going to spend more than £90,000 on a 6 Series anyway, I suspect that’s the least of your troubles.

You can have the package on M6 Gran Coupé and BMW Convertible models too, and although I’m not sure why you’d want it on the latter, I’d probably tick the box on a coupé. It takes an already impressive machine and makes it keener in the areas that count.

Save you money 245

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

BMW M6 2012-2017 First drives