First drive: BMW M6 Convertible
Turning a convertible into a sports car or a sports car into a convertible must be the stuff of engineers' nightmares - while a sports car needs to be firm-riding and hunkered down on the road, convertible buyers expect comfort and refinement. Blending both of these disparate traits, however, is the remit of the BMW M6 Convertible.
What is it?
The BMW M6 Convertible takes the title as the most expensive BMW you can buy - barring the high-tech i8 hybrid supercar. Helping to warrant its near £100,000 price tag, the M6 is the performance version of the upmarket four-seater 6 Series Convertible and packs a mighty 553bhp twin-turbocharged motor under its long snout.
What's under the bonnet?
The M6 Convertible boasts an immensely powerful 4.4-litre V8 motor under the bonnet, and thanks to a pair of turbochargers, punches out more than 550bhp. With the two turbos boosting power across the engine rev range, this heavyweight machine has the muscle to sprint from a standstill to 62mph in a rapid 4.3 seconds and doesn't run out of puff until the electronic limiter cuts in at 155mph.
What's the spec like?
True to its hefty price, the M6 Convertible includes plenty of kit as standard. All models include an automatic gearbox, 19-inch alloy wheels, sat nav and heated leather sports seats in the price, along with front and rear parking sensors and adaptive LED headlights. The 6 Series also includes a heads-up display, carbon fibre interior trim and uprated speakers in M6 form.
As a hardcore performance convertible, the M6 lines up against rivals including the Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type Convertible and Mercedes SL. While it offers sufficient room for smaller adult passengers in the rear seats, unlike its rivals, the M6 is more than rapid enough to fulfil the sporty half of the brief too.
What's it like to drive?
Slide behind the wheel and the M6 Convertible feels just as sporty as its hardtop sibling. However, slicing the roof off has done no favours to the ride or handling of the M6. The steering relays little of what the front wheels are up to, while the car feels very big and heavy around corners and the ride is jittery over rough Tarmac. This is no agile sports car.
BMW M6 Convertible
First drive: BMW M6 Convertible
Discover More Like This
BACK TO SLIDE
The power on tap, though, is undeniable, with a NASCAR-style bellow coming from the exhaust under hard acceleration. The automatic gearbox also shuffles smoothly between gears, though it becomes jerky when asked to change gear more quickly. The brakes require plenty of force to stop this heavy machine too.
Refinement levels are very high, even with the roof down, reducing the sense of speed you feel in the cabin, making the M6 a more pleasant machine to be driven in than to pilot for yourself.
AOL Cars Verdict
The M6 Convertible may add wind-in-the-hair motoring to the M6's talents, but cutting the roof off has dramatically eroded the coupe's appeal as a driver's car.
Those who value the ability to lower the roof are likely to be put off by the bumpy ride and enormous price tag of the M6 Convertible, while those looking for a sports car are likely to be disappointed by the Convertible's inert handling.
As a result, the lesser 6 Series Convertibles or the 640d Coupe are likely to be more appealing prospects to potential buyers than spending £100,000 on the flawed M6 Convertible.
Model: BMW M6 Convertible
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, petrol
Power: 553bhp, 680Nm
Max speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 4.3 seconds