This is the facelifted 2015 BMW M6 Convertible. Performance cabriolets are rarely a good mix, so is the M6 any different?

What is it?

BMW has given its 6 Series a mild makeover for 2015. As most of the changes cover styling tweaks and equipment upgrades to the standard versions, spotting a new M6 Convertible requires a ‘Where’s Wally?'-type forensic eye.

There are small differences, though. Now you get LED headlights as standard, plus a gloss black finish around the climate control buttons to enhance what was already a beautifully crafted interior. 

Power from the 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 remains the same at 552bhp, as does the option to upgrade it to 567bhp if you go for the Performance Package.

However, someone must have written to BMW complaining that wasn’t good enough because M Division has also introduced a 592bhp Competition Package as well.

What's it like?

Although that Competition Package is available to order now, there aren’t any cars thus equipped in the UK yet, so we made do with the standard car. ‘Made do’ perhaps isn’t the correct turn of phrase; even in this state of tune the M6 Convertible is still ridiculously quick and blessed with a great engine.

Step hard on the accelerator and there is a momentary pause while you wait for the two turbos to limber up. But when they do, cramming as much oxygen into those eight combustion chambers as each will reasonably endure, the M6 presses you firmly back in your seat and just goes.

So much so, in fact, that you'll do the occasional double take after contemplating the incongruous speed reading being beamed back at you from the head-up display. At this stage, you might utter something impolite, too.

It also sounds great, and all the better with the roof down. It’s not a lazy V8 burble, but a hard-edged, clearly defined howl, punctuated by loud woofs during each gear change. Those changes are finger-click fast, too if you set the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox to maximum attack.

So there’s no questioning the M6 Convertible’s straight-line credentials, but eventually, inevitably, you will reach a corner. In this instance, your first task will be to shed speed, and suddenly you become aware of the car's two-tonne mass and the resulting inertia.

The huge discs and calipers scrub off speed well, but even so, you sense their struggle against that substantial bulk. The fact that the pedal has a longish travel and little feel doesn’t help inspire confidence, either.

As you turn in, no matter what driving mode you’ve selected, the M6’s numb-feeling steering wheel takes a few degrees to load up, which diverts some of your focus away from the corner itself.

All that weight makes it reluctant to make quick direction changes, too, but the M6 does generate enormous grip, so you can still carry plenty of speed into corners. And for a car of this size and power it’s very docile, with a tendency for progressive understeer at the limit. That said, switch off the traction control and it’ll transform into a drift car no problem.

However, if you dial all the driving modes back to Comfort and simply go for a cruise, the M6 Convertible will happily oblige. With the roof up the cabin is almost as quiet as that of the Coupé, while with the roof down and the wind deflector in place there’s not much buffeting, either.

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The ride is harsh over really scarred roads, which diminishes the BMW’s grand tourer credentials, but in the main it’s tolerable. The rear-view mirror also shakes over lumpy surfaces - a telltale pointing to the loss of torsional rigidity that results from cutting off a long car's roof.

Backing off also leaves you time to enjoy that fabulous interior. It’s so well finished with swathes of leather and strips of carbonfibre that it’s no wonder the new gloss black fascia was all BMW could come up with by way of improvement.

Should I buy one?

The BMW M6 Convertible is an odd car whose purpose is difficult to define. On the one hand, it’s hugely fast, but really it’s too heavy and the steering is too vague for it to feel like a proper sports car. Equally, it has a wonderful interior but the ride is never compliant enough for it to be a proper GT.

As a result, if you want a car that serves one of these extremes, this probably isn't the car for you. Even if you can accept its betwixt and between nature, logically you'd be better off buying the still fast but cheaper to run 640d Convertible instead if a luxury open-top is what you're after.

BMW M6 Convertible

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £97,300; Engine V8, 4395cc, twin-turbocharged, petrol; Power 552bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 502lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox 7-spd automated manual; Kerb weight 2055kg; Top speed 155mph; 0-62mph 4.3sec; Economy 27.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 239g/km, 37%

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spqr 11 June 2015

In what world

is a 640d and alternative to the M6? I suppose that if the badge, prestige and the size are the buyers criteria for their convertible then maybe (just about) the comment is a valid one but even then why would you want to listen to a clattery nasty diesel while wafting around the lanes of Surrey or Cheshire? A 640i would be much nicer. The M6 whether a convertible or coupe is a curiously German type of car - capable of hurtling down the autobahn from Munich to Berlin as a high speed express but also able to entertain when the occasion arises. I doubt it is really intended to be a "sports car" (oddly What Car? includes Golf GTis and Audi TTs in that definition) whatever that means today nor is it a "GT" in the British XK8/XJS sense either. Of course the real reason the M6 exists is in order to be "better" than the 650i in the company car park.
John Howell 9 June 2015

The reason is...

The issue is the M6 isn't a sports car by a long chalk - it's too big, too heavy, and the controls are not polished enough.

Therefore, you have to look for something else it does well for it to recover credibility like cruising ability and ride comfort. But it's not great in these areas either if you compare it to other GTs out there.

For a car to be great it can't just be tolerable in key areas.

Ektor 8 June 2015

So, Bentley-esque girth and pace without the class. Pointless

Numb steering? Brittle ride and no brake feel? What has BMW M come to? (and BMW as a whole) They've lost my appreciation and respect by becoming so cynical as to think that they will still sell with image over substance, numbers over actual driving pleasure. Not in the long run, they won't.
Knowing how good 80's, 90's and early '00 bimmers were, this is very sad to see.
Overdrive 9 June 2015

Ektor wrote: Numb steering?

Ektor wrote:

Numb steering? Brittle ride and no brake feel? What has BMW M come to? (and BMW as a whole....

True, but when you actually read the article in detail, you can see it's not being entirely fair here.

Take the ride for example, it sounds like the car's ride is as you say, very brittle, as a rule, but when you actually read the detail, it states: ".....The ride is harsh over really scarred roads, which diminishes the BMW’s grand tourer credentials...."!

My point is, ok but surely most cars, save for the top end limos like Rolls Royce, the S-Class etc, would have a pretty rough ride over "really scarred roads", never mind a very high performance coupe like the M6. So is this such a huge demerit against the car, especially when the reviewer goes on to admit: "...but in the main it (the ride) is tolerable.."?

Ektor 9 June 2015

Poor ride spoils a GT

The fact is that the M6 with very stiff steel springs simply cannot compete with an air-suspended, more sophisticated chassis like the Betley GT's, or simply a better fast-GT set-up like the Mercedes SL's.

Hence my labelling it as 'pointless'