I think it’s funny that this version of the 6 series had that E63 designation. When most of us hear E63 we think of the mighty Mercedes and it’s motor massaged by AMG. I wonder if the boys in Bavaria thought this might be a nice little slight they could send Mercedes way, considering the AMG car not to be noteworthy enough to name around so to speak. After driving both recently I thought I’d take a few moments and note what I really loved about the big burly V10 powered BMW.
Is it pretty?
I’m starting here because I think it may indeed be the most divisive and in my mind is not the most important. Looking at the M6 you can really see it’s shark nosed dna showing through in it’s genes. Bangle didn’t actually design this car like you might think. The car was penned by Karl John Elmitt and Adrian van Hooydonk but you can see the influence of other BMWs in the same timeline. I think as time has gone on, like many other cars, the design has grown on most people. Today it still is striking and special. Is it pretty? I don’t think it makes that cut. That’s ok though. I don’t think all sharks are pretty. They’re all striking to some degree though. I think it gets a B-.
How is it as a place to be?
The interior of this car is honestly quite nice for a guy like me who’s 6’6. I couldn’t tilt the seat alllll the way up where I would’ve prefered without my hair touching but I have many tall hairs that hamper that ability in the best of times. The really nice thing was the legroom and space everywhere else to really get into a comfortable position and then change it up a little here and there as the miles ticked over. The layout inside is well thought out and anything you need to reach is where you’d expect it. The alcantara accenting everywhere is a really nice touch but the carbon fiber bits don’t really add much as they feel cheap and plastic. The HUD is lovely. As the miles roll by you’ll find yourself getting so familiar with the car that you barely have to remove your eyes from the road if you don’t want to. A solid 7 stars.
How’s the storage?
There’s not much but it is indeed usable as a weekend warrior getaway car. Don’t get needy though. You’re not here to read about storage anyway. One and a quarter thumbs up.
What’s the bloody thing like to drive?
Welcome friends. Here’s the part where I tell you the one bad thing about the car that some of you already know too well. The SMG automated manual transmission is not a good transmission in the same sense that we think of good transmissions today. If you think you’re going to just get into one of the cars and know how to drive it properly you’re less than correct, or you’ve been paid to race at some point in your life.
The shifts can come as easy or hard as you like, however they cannot be smooth. When the car is really being taken by the neck and reminded who it’s owner is it responds like a very eager and submissive pet, happy to fulfill its owners needs. When it’s delicately asked to go into a specific gear it looks at you like a cat that knows that you’re going to die someday and it’s going to eat you then. However you can indeed get it to do as it’s told more often than not with some practice. You do have to think about it to get it right for a while so that’s annoying.The suspension isn’t crashy but easy to predict and well suited to the car. The M6 has a carbon fiber roof so expect some noise in the cabin too. Nevertheless, the most important part is really the 5.0L 507hp V10. That power comes equal responsibility of course. The LSD at the stern of the ship will happily help the car sideways in quick fashion without proper respect and control. This motor is positively a masterpiece and yes I say that despite the rod bearing issues and it’s expensive costs. It’s plausible that my thoughts are biased by never having to maintain this monster but hear me out. All motors have issues to one degree or another however, very very few have the capability of this one. I struggle to think of a modern motor that screams and slices through the heavy air as easily and violently as this one does while being packed into the same kind of car. So much these days the turbocharger has quelled the carnal sounds of something like a V10 that revs to 9000 rpm. It simply exhilarates and empowers its occupants. Quite simply this car ticks so many boxes for those of us that love a great sports or GT car. I’m a better person for having experienced it and feeling it in my veins. As I’ve run out of obvious scoring conventions I’ll just give this one the full banana.
The E63 M6 seems really underappreciated to me. It’s probably the last NA V10 coupe to be sold by BMW. It’s a proper Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde kind of animal. I can’t believe how cheap they are these days. Yes lots of stuff breaks on them but for what they are capable of you might be better off getting one of these and maintaining it over something like a used Aston Martin or Maserati. If you’re looking at something like those two I would encourage you to drive the M6. I bet you’ll think it’s pretty tasty.