The BMW M6 is a high-performance version of the 6 Series marketed under the BMW M sub-brand from 1983–2018. Introduced in the coupe body style, the M6 was also built in convertible and fastback sedan body styles for later generations.
A M6 model was built for every subsequent generation of the 6 Series, with the exclusion of the G32 generation. Production of the M6 ended in 2018 and it was replaced by the BMW M8 F91/F92/F93 in 2019.
1. E24 M635CSi/M6 1983–1989
The M6 lineage began in 1983 with the M635CSi model of the E24 6 Series range, which was powered by the M88/3 DOHC straight-six engine which was a modified version of the engine used in the BMW M1 supercar. In most countries, the model was badged the M635CSi, however the equivalent model in North America and Japan was simply badged in "M6".
The European-specification M635CSi used the M88/3 engine without a catalytic converter, which generated 210 kW 286 PS; 282 hp at 6.500 rpm and 340 N⋅m 251 lb⋅ft at 4.500 rpm. The M6 version, sold in North America and Japan, used the S38B35 engine with catalytic converter, which generated 256 hp 191 kW; 260 PS and 330 N⋅m 243 lb⋅ft at the same engine speeds. The catalyzed engine was also used in European and other market cars beginning in the summer of 1987, with identical specifications to the federalized engine. The sole transmission for all models was a 5-speed Getrag 280 manual transmission.
Other changes included BBS RS wheels, a rear lip spoiler, a larger front air dam, larger front brakes and revised suspension with a 10 mm 0.4 in lower ride height.
The E24 series became a "world car" for the 1988 and 1989 model years, sporting the same bumpers and aerodynamic treatments as its high-performance counterparts across all markets. Production of the E24 M635CSi/M6 ended in 1989.
According to BMW, the car can accelerate from 0–97 km/h 0–60 mph in 5.8 and 6.8 seconds for the European and North American versions respectively. A top speed of 255 km/h 158 mph made the European M635CSi the second fastest BMW automobile ever built next to the M1. The quarter mile time for the M635 CSi has been recorded at 14.5 seconds while 161 km/h 100 mph is achieved in 15 seconds.
A total of 5.855 cars were produced. Of these, 1.677 cars were imported to North America. Due to the elongated front and rear bumpers, the length of the U.S. models is 4.923 mm 193.8 in.
2. E63/64 M6 2005–2010
Following a hiatus in M6 production for 26 years, the M6 version of the E63/E64 6 Series was introduced in 2005. The M6 uses the same BMW S85 V10 engine and SMG III gearbox as the E60 M5.
The M6 was produced as both a coupe E63 model code and a convertible E64 model code. The exterior styling was overseen by Karl Elmitt.
The M6 had two modes for engine power: a "P400" mode in which the engine has a rated power output of 294 kW 394 hp and a "P500" mode in which the engine has a rated power output of 373 kW 500 hp. Manufacturer claimed performance included a 0-62 mph 100 km/h acceleration time of 4.6 seconds. The top speed was electronically limited to 250 km/h 155 mph or 305 km/h 190 mph if the optional M-drivers package is fitted.
Weight reduction measures include a carbon fibre roof for the coupe only, thermoplastic quarter panels, aluminium doors, aluminium bonnet hood and a carbon-fibre boot trunk lid.
From 2007 a 6-speed manual gearbox was offered in North America, only 701 examples were produced with a manual gearbox 323 Coupes and 378 Convertibles.
Production of the M6 ended in mid-2010, with sales over the five-year run totalling 9.087 for the coupe and 5.065 for the convertible.
3. F06/F12/F13 M6 2012–2018
The new model is based on the F12/F13/F06 6 Series and shares its 7-speed M-DCT gearbox, BMW S63 twin-turbo V8 engine with the BMW M5 F10.
The official performance figures state the acceleration time from 0–100 km/h 0–62 mph in 4.2 seconds for the coupe and Grand Coupe, and 4.3 seconds for the convertible. The top speed is electronically limited to 250 km/h 155 mph, or 305 km/h 190 mph with the optional M-drivers package. The differential is an electronically-actuated "Active M" limited slip differential.
The front of the car has a newly designed M kidney grille with an" M6” badge – a homage to the first generation of the M6. The lead exterior designer of the F12/F13/F06 6 Series was Nader Faghihzadeh.
3.1. F06/F12/F13 M6 2012–2018 Competition Package
With the 2014 Competition Package, the M6 comes with a sportier exhaust system with black tips, stiffer springs, dampers, and anti-roll bars, steering is more direct than the base M6, the twin-turbocharged V8 engine utilised in the M6 is updated and is rated at 423 kW 567 hp and 680 N⋅m 502 lb⋅ft of torque. This results in a 0 to 100 km/h 62 mph acceleration time of 3.9 seconds for the coupe and Gran Coupe versions.
In 2016, the Competition Pack engine was upgraded to 441 kW 591 hp and 700 N⋅m 516 lb⋅ft of torque, resulting in a 0 to 100 km/h 62 mph acceleration time of 3.8 seconds for the coupe and Gran Coupe versions.
3.2. F06/F12/F13 M6 2012–2018 Motorsport
Around the start of 2015, BMW Motorsport began developing a replacement for the successful BMW Z4 GT3 which already had been in action since 2010, where they selected the M6 as the base model. Throughout the year, the factory engineered the M6 to match FIA GT3 specifications. Emphasis was placed on safety with BMW Motorsport producing an "FIA-approved safety cell in accordance with the very latest safety standards". Unlike the Z4 GT3, which used an engine derived from the BMW M3, the engine of the M6 GT3 was virtually unchanged from that of the production model of the M6 and the BMW M5. The engine only faced some modifications for use in motorsport. In May 2015, at Dingolfing, BMW works driver Jorg Muller drove the M6 GT3 on its first roll-out to contribute a milestone to its development, and later the M6 GT3 was revealed near the end of the year.
The M6 GT3 showed its success on its debut year in 2016 when Rowe Racing clinched overall victory at the 2016 Spa 24 Hours with BMW works drivers Philipp Eng, Maxime Martin, and Alexander Sims at the wheel. The car also saw success in championships around the world, with wins in the VLN, Italian GT Championship, and Super GT Championship.
The BMW M6 GTLM is the racing version of the M6 created to participate in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and intended to replace the BMW Z4 GTE. The cars are entered by BMW Team RLL, debuting in 2016, with no wins in its debut season. The car would earn four class wins during the 2017 season before being replaced by the BMW M8 GTE for 2018.