by Iain Curry
NOW this looks quite the way to travel?
Oh yes. This is BMW's pseudo-coupe grand tourer with four doors and the small matter of an M Performance turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 under its lengthy bonnet.
It's an M6 then?
An M6 with extra actually. The "proper" M6 is a two-door coupe or convertible, while this one has the sleek coupe shape but with four doors like an M5. Hence the name, M6 Gran Coupe.
You're not short of choice then?
If you consider the M6 is a very niche model (BMW sold only 164 6 Series models in total last year), then yes, your options are generous.
Hit me with statistics.
Brace yourself. We first received the M6 Gran Coupe here in 2013 boasting 412kW and 680Nm from its boosted V8.
In 2015 it was decided the Competition Package would be thrown in for free, upping those numbers to 441kW and 700Nm. As if it needed it...
But if you're spending that sort of money you want performance bragging rights. Such money, incidentally, is $299,315 before on-road costs for an M6 Gran Coupe.
Let's call it an even $300k before charges then. I hope it's quick?
Ballistic. For something that weighs two tonnes with a driver on board, the fact it can get to 100kmh in under four seconds is deeply impressive. BMW limits the top speed to 250kmh, but you can opt for an M Drivers Package and it'll let you hit 305kmh. You know, for those family days out at Mt Panorama.
You went to Bathurst in it?
Sadly not. I had the M6 Gran Coupe for a long weekend, strapped the family in and pointed it in the direction of the Gold Coast. As highly talented a track car as the M6 Gran Coupe would be, you're far more likely to find one cruising the glitzy streets of the Goldie than prowling a race track's pit lane.
It's a performance grand tourer or "GT" car, ideal for eating through mighty distances with space and comfort to spare, and with enough performance to know you'll outrun practically anything else on the road.
Not that you'd ever be able to use it properly on the road...
Of course not. I had to sit at the indicated 110kmh for my highway drive, the M6's engine constantly begging to be allowed to open its lungs properly.
These things are at their best crossing Europe with a few stretches of unrestricted German Autobahns thrown in. Let's just say you could tick a few countries off the visited list in the space of 24 hours in one of these extra-doored M6s.
All right, so who in Australia buys these things?
I asked that very question to BMW Australia and the local BMW dealer holding the car.
For starters, 97% of M6 Gran Coupe buyers are male, and 80% of those are aged over 50. So from that we can assume it's not for girls, the young or, of course, anyone without a substantial nest egg or seven-figure annual salary.
I was also told typical buyers are BMW enthusiasts who insist on a V8 engine (can't get those in the M3 or M4 any longer), and the likes of Ferrari owners who want something a bit more comfortable for everyday driving and to fit the kids or grandkids in.
Are you suggesting this thing is practical?
More so than a two-door supercar, for sure. My kids are five and two and their child seats were duly clipped in to the rear bucket seats (beautifully crafted and heated in this instance), and access to get them in or out was easy with those extra two doors.
The sloping roofline at the back does encroach somewhat, so adults are less cosy back here.
Boot space at 460 litres managed our suitcases well enough, but you'd be better off with a BMW M5 (520-litres) for serious cargo hauling.
At that price, I'm expecting a wonderful cabin.
Now this is one of the M6 Gran Coupe's real trump cards. It is a glorious interior with full leather Merino trim, leather for the instrument panel, Alcantara roofliner and carbon fibre trim finish.
Seats - which proved firm on our long trip- are ventilated, can be electrically moved to a billion different positions, and the driver enjoys a wonderfully chunky leather steering wheel with moulded paddle shifters at the fingertips.
Smart tech too?
Brace yourself again. You get a 10.2-inch hi-res screen, 3D maps with satellite images, tv, internet, harman/kardon surround sound, surround-view camera to give a bird's eye view to prevent parking mishaps, four-zone auto air con, a full suite of active safety kit, radar cruise control...the list is mighty.
So come on, what's it like to drive?
Daunting at first. It's a big car, and when you hit the throttle the power delivery is instant and a bit brutal. But in a good way. Let's just say the kids were entertained as the rear end wiggled as the fat 20-inch tyres struggled for traction.
And the noise. Who says money can't buy happiness? The V8's burble then booming roar through the exhausts made that $300k feel like good value with every spine shiver it offered.
You have the choice of Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings with the latter giving the most mongrel. It stiffens the suspension, holds gears longer and quickens steering response and weight. Oh, for a race track.
You can pre-set two M Drive Modes too. I set one up for leisurely economical cruising and the other with everything turned up to 11. At the touch of a steering wheel button I could flick between the two in a split second. Brilliant.
Would you buy one?
$300k gets you a lot these days, not least a selection from the excellent Porsche Panamera range. For $250k you could get a Mercedes- AMG CLS 63 S, or $213k buys an Audi RS7 Sportback. Or really, the M5 at from $184,715 looks cheap in this company.
But just look at that M6 Gran Coupe. Sleek styling yet muscular as hell, and with carbon roof, carbon rear diffuser and those giant callipers behind the 20-inch alloys it looks the ideal high-performance continent crusher. Now if only we had the roads to suit it.
Model: BMW M6 Gran Coupe.
Details: Four-door, five seat rear-wheel-drive performance luxury grand tourer
Engine: 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 with 441kW and 700Nm.
Transmission: 7-speed M double clutch automatic.
Performance 0-100kmh: 3.9-seconds.
Bottom line plus on-roads: $299,315 ($305,215 as tested before on-roads with Stratus grey paint and heated rear seats).
What matters most
The good: Rarity, earth-shattering performance for such a big car, muscular sporting looks, an exhaust note to die for, sense of superb engineering throughout.
The not so good: $300,000 looks expensive when you see what else you can buy for such money, seats proved a bit too firm for long distance touring, this model is showing its age and will be replaced soon.
Warranty and servicing: 3-year unlimited km warranty, servicing is conditioned based.