Motoring review: BMW M6 Gran Coupé - it's not stealth wealth, but it's not ostentatious, either

 

Price: £97, 700
Engine capacity: 4.4-litre V8 twin turbo
Power output (BHP @ rpm): 552 @ 6,000 – 7, 000
Top speed (mph): 155
0-62 mph (seconds): 4.2
Fuel economy (mpg): 28.5
CO2 emissions (g/km): 232

Usually BMW names its cars in a fairly sensible way, starting with the 1 Series for its smallest to the 7 Series, its behemoth of a luxury limousine. It might be boring but, as the Bavarian firm updates its models every year or so, it kind of makes sense. Or does it?

You see, the gentlemen in Munich seem to have rather gone to town of late. And I've been driving the BMW M6 Gran Coupé, which in name at least is only a little less confusing than the numbers and letters soups you'll find in the BMW M135i or BMW Z4 x35is.

Let me untangle the jump leads for you… In the beginning of petrol head time, there was the BMW M5 saloon. It looked normal, but was faster than an energy-firm boss departing a Parliamentary Select Committee hearing. Then BMW made a two-door coupé version called the M6 and some of those people had to have that instead.

This is the latest incarnation: a range-topping, four-door monster of that coupé that BMW has called the M6 Gran Coupé. In truth, it's gone full circle and it's just a BMW M5 with a lower roof isn't it? And did I mention that it's £25k more than the M5 and isn't really much faster? Never mind, though, because its astronomical asking price and mixed lineage aside the BMW M6 Gran Coupé is a rather wonderful thing.

BMW claims it is the "Ultimate Driving Machine" and I can only assume it's aimed at the world's super-rich elite. Not being such a person, I put it to the test with a run to the seaside for a rather late-in-the-year swim in the sea. So in addition to testing its mighty V8 on the motorway, I'd be able to put its sumptuous leather-clad interior to the test by trying to get out of my wet togs on the back seats. This is what the super-rich do in motors, right?

As an aside, members of the super-rich elite (like some of the rest of us) probably want to get up to all sorts of funny business in their back seats (and front seats), but with a rather wide drive tunnel separating the driver and his or her glamorous passenger I can report (that I imagine) funny business would be impossible for all but contortionist oligarchs. This is a worrying trend I have noticed in many £100k supercars and needs further exploration.

Despite some risqué clothes changing, I didn't get many looks in this motor, which is odd for such a posh car. It can't be said that it's not sleek, or that it doesn't have lovely touches, including a fancy, illuminated M6 logo in the door sills. It's just that it looks rather conventional from a distance. I wouldn't dare suggest it was "stealth wealth", but it's not as ostentatious as an Aston or Bentley, which is probably the idea.

Either way, I should say that the BMW M6 Gran Coupé is the most fantastic blend of luxury and performance I've driven in a long time. Stick it in sports mode and be rewarded with superb handling and an engine that knocks out a growl, then a thump as you change gear – probably more for your ego than necessity. Or you can switch it into comfort, brush the sand from your hair and drive along in a sedate manner that, dare I say it, you'd expect of a Jaguar driver on a jaunt to the seaside – not a BMW bruiser looking for a dark and secluded lay-by.

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