When I spoke with Carsten Priest, aka Mr M, on the launch of the new BMW M5 last year, he told me a fair bit about the forthcoming M6.
And I got the impression at the time that, if anything, he was even more proud of the work his team had performed on the coupe (than the saloon) because they’d had a bit more freedom to let rip.
'Because it’s a coupe, it will naturally appeal to a more sporting audience, which is why we’ve gone maybe 10-15 per cent further with the tuning of the dynamic performance,' said Herr Priest of the M6 last October.
Yet the one thing his team won’t have been able to do much about is the fundamental weight of the car. And for the average M-car engineer, weight is the ultimate dilemma nowadays, especially when it comes to the current 5/6-series platform (beneath the skin they are the same car) which is almost 150kg heavier than before.
So although M Division’s engineers did ‘everything we could to reduce the car’s weight during the engineering process’ they knew they had one hand tied behind their back on this occasion.
The result will be a hugely more refined M6, no doubt, and a gigantically rapid one, too, if the latest M5 is anything to go by. But whether it’ll contain the agility and slightly crazed response of the previous model – which I ran for six months way back when and, irritating gearbox aside, fell for in a very big way – is another question.
I suspect that, one day, maybe in 10 years, the V10 M cars might just end up being remembered with more affection than those that replaced them – even if they were a little bit on the mad side to drive, had rubbish touring ranges and were virtually impossible to park.
Then again, I’m sure the new M6 will be a cleaner, more ecologically sound and, of course, a much better everyday car than the one it replaces; Herr Priest admitted such intentions to me late last year. So who knows how history will regard it come the year 2022?