I confess that, based on my experience with cars such as the Maybach or the old Bentley Arnage, it is weird and wonderful to go superfast in a big car. The sense of mastery, the wielding of all that kinetic energy, the Big Mo, is a special kind of pleasure, experientially separate from driving a 200-mph Ferrari. The M6—with the TwinTurbo V8′s mesa-flat torque curve (500 pound-feet from 1,500-5,750 rpm) and multiplicity of gear ratios (seven-speed dual clutch transmission, the M-DCT)—adds an uncanny effortlessness to the experience. Even at autobahn speeds, the big car holds offstage, but just barely, a staggering amount of power and acceleration.
Who could find fault with any of that? Well, law enforcement, obviously. If you are going to own one of these cars, it would be handy to have your own emirate.
The M6′s top speed is electronically limited to either 155 mph or 186 mph (the higher limit comes with the “M Driver” package). However, according to enthusiasts’ online forums, it’s a simple matter to recode the powertrain software to eliminate the speed limiter entirely.
The other objectors? Purists, perhaps. If one were hoping for an autobahn barbarian like the previous M6, the new car will feel over-refined. The M6 that retired in 2010 (the E63/E64 generation) was powered by a naturally aspirated 5.0-liter, 500-hp V10, an engine with an evil, flapping quad-exhaust note like the beat of leathery wings and the guttering of dragon’s fire. That car also deployed one of the most obstreperous gearboxes ever to appear in a luxury car: BMW’s seven-speed, sequential SMG transmission. Upshifting the SMG was like taking big strokes with an ax. Thwock! Thwock!
Whatever else the old M6 was, it certainly wasn’t lacking in drama. And, purists will note, you could even get the old M6 with a six-speed manual transmission.