AOL Cars' Road Test of the Year: BMW M6 Gran Coupe


AOL Cars' Road Test of the Year: BMW M6 Gran Coupe

Our third contender in our ultimate road test is the flagship offering from BMW's M division, the stunning M6 Gran Coupe, which is being championed by Daljinder Nagra.

Following Jon in the diminutive Fiesta as it bobs and weaves across the narrow arteries of the Beacons, the M6 initially feels at a disadvantage - its sheer size denies you the road space to exploit its massive performance.

There's a palpable intake of breath every time wider traffic passes and those gorgeous wheels come closer to the traction-free grass and never- ending drops beyond.

On the straights it is easy meat, but come to a corner (and there are many in this part of Wales) and the Fiesta simply jinks through, where the BMW needs more considered guidance.

The traction control is saving my blushes on occasion - turn it off and the M6 will slide for England, but it'll take a braver (or stupider) man than me to get that big backside out of line here.

Give it some room, though, and the M6 really shines. I'd feared that ditching the screaming V10 of old for a more eco-worthy twin-turbo V8 would have neutered the driving experience, but not a chance.

The motor pulls hard from low down with a torque-laden surge completely missing from the old car, and continues up to a screaming top end, at which point you'll be travelling at speeds that'll see you doing porridge quicker than you can say 'Sorry officer'.

The noise, too, is intoxicating. From inside it can sound a little contrived, with some obvious tuning going on. But while it doesn't have the attention-grabbing low-speed rumble of the Range Rover or Audi, get it right up there and it emits a hard-edged V8 hammer that reeks of expensive engineering and motorsport heritage, all accompanied by a rifle-crack from the exhausts on upshifts.

AOL Cars' RTOTY: BMW M6 Gran Coupe

AOL Cars' RTOTY: BMW M6 Gran Coupe

It's no secret the Bimmer is among my favourites from this year's selection, and at lunch (petrol station sandwiches in a windswept car park - nice) I'm getting some stick over my new crush.

'It's too expensive,' says Leon, conveniently forgetting that the Bentley he's just climbed out of costs more than the BMW and Porsche combined. 'Why wouldn't you just get an M5?'

It's true that, next to its similarly powerful saloon sibling, the Gran Coupe can look like BMW is taking the mickey, charging £24,195 extra for a four-door coupe bodystyle. And that's before you plunder the options list – as BMW had done with the car we had on test.

I disagree. In terms of design, the BMW's interior is in the same league as the Bentley and compared to similarly fast four-door coupes such as the Aston Martin Rapide, it's a positive bargain. Couple that to the supercar-slaying performance, GT comfort and discreetly aggressive looks, the M6 is perhaps the most well rounded car of the lot.

BMW M6 Gran Coupe

Price: £119,575 (as tested)
Engine: 4.4-litre V8, twin-turbocharged petrol
Power: 560bhp, 678Nm
Max speed: 155mph (limited)
0-60mph: 4.0s
MPG (combined): 28.5
Emissions: 232g/km