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      05-05-2012, 03:33 PM   #1
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Lightbulb My impressions of F10 M5 vs F13 M6 coupe from BMW of Austin VIP event

Today I got to see both the M5 and M6 Coupe in person (seen in these earlier posted photos by P1et) -- WOW what a great event. Matt Russell, BMWNA's M Brand Manager was there, along with Christine Fleischer, BMW Sales and Marketing head for all of the Americas. Thanks as well to BMW of Austin for doing such a great job. The only tragedy of the event other than not being able to test drive the cars was learning that they were pre-production samples and therefore after the event were going to be CRUSHED!!

Anyway, first off (mostly for SleepTight), the M5's aluminum trim looks better in person than it does in the pics; I was pleasantly surprised. The vertical lines don't bother me nearly as much as I thought, and they have an even subtler sawtooth/sewing diagonal line pattern running down the vertical stripes that I surprisingly liked which makes the trim simultaneously sporty and a very upscale, perfect for a car like the M5. The aluminum also doesn't clash with the silver strip running along the bottom of the trim. The car I saw had the Silverstone Full Merino interior, and honestly I was thinking that aluminum/Silverstone would look odd, but it actually looks sharp. Since Silverstone Full is what I'd get, I would definitely have a tough time choosing between aluminum and Piano Black. I still believe Piano would go far better with a Sakhir Full interior though.

As for general thoughts, I'll start with some general comments and then get into comparing the two of them.

- Matt Russell said that he's put 3000 miles on a 6MT M5 and even more on a DCT. As much as he respects the speed, precision, convenience, etc of the DCT, he vastly prefers the driving feel of the 6MT, and apparently many of his friends who he's let drive both do too (lucky bastards!) He said the M5's 6MT shifter and clutch setup feel exactly like the 1M's. As for the M6, he said the earliest availability for 6MT would be MY2014, but it's still not definite, so customers who want one should be contacting BMWNA, getting their dealers to do the same, etc to make sure BMW knows there's a market.

- Even though blue is my favorite car color, I thought Monte Carlo would be too loud on a car as large and stately as the M5 -- I was wrong. It's still definitely a bold choice and will absolutely stand out, but the M5 wears it very well. It looks a little less saturated in person than in pics, but that led to me liking it better than the pics would have suggested. Same with the Sakhir Orange (exterior) on the M6, definitely bold but not obscene. I'm not sure I'd rock it myself, and I don't think Sakhir would work well as an exterior on the M5, but it certainly wouldn't be downright bad. My preferred blue would be something darker than Monte Carlo but lighter than Imperial (Tanzanite, Deep Sea, even Le Mans), but if I didn't want to pay the $5K Individual color fee, I'd go Monte Carlo. Unfortunately the M6 Convertible with its San Marino Blue wasn't there, but Matt said it looks absolutely stunning, like it has electricity running through it. He described it as "Interlagos, amped way the hell up".

- The cars sound amazing, holy hell. The videos aren't even close. I also didn't think I'd like the "lift-off fart/blat/crackle" that people have been discussing, but I admit I loved it. It gives an otherwise stately luxury car a very raw side. It doesn't sound artificial or contrived at all. The M5 and M6 sound the same if anyone's wondering about that, btw. I've heard that the E90 and E92 335i's have different sounding stock exhausts; BMW didn't differentiate these models that way.

- The leather-wrapped dash was disappointing. I was expecting the leather there to be thick enough to be plush, supple, and soft. Instead, it was thin, hard, and plasticky -- same with the leather on the upper door trim. If you've ever felt the leather on the M3's transmission tunnel or lower dash (both of which come with Extended leather), it felt exactly like that. I'd say Full Merino would only be worthwhile for those who want their interior color to appear in all of the extra locations included with Full. Otherwise, I don't think it raises the luxury bar appreciably. Those of you getting Individual interiors and annoyed that they don't include leather on the upper dash or upper door trim, you're not missing out. Those of you going with black interiors, I don't see a case for Full at all.

- The HUD and night vision were a lot of fun. The HUD is a whole lot better than the E6x generation and would be a must-have option for me. Night vision is cool in a gee whiz way, but I don't think it'd be worth the cost. It'd be fun to cruise around and figure out which cars have been driven recently based on their exhaust and engine bays, but I see very little practical use for it, except for people who might drive in rural areas a lot -- but somehow I don't think that describes many potential M5 and M6 owners. It's also not widescreen, so it only takes up about 60% of the iDrive display width with vertical black bars filling the sides.

- Neither the M5 nor M6 on display had the "full black panel" instrument cluster that's been introduced on the base series models when equipped with HUD -- even though both cars had the HUD. Instead, they have the mid-range "extended display" that includes an LCD running along the entire bottom of the instrument cluster (as opposed to the base display where the display is only in the lower-right corner). But the tach and speedos are printed.

- Customers in the US, skip Bang & Olufsen. The M6 had it, and the M5 had the "base" stereo, which for US-spec is BMW's Premium Hi-Fi system -- it sounds excellent. So does B&O, but honestly I couldn't tell much of a difference at all between the two even after rolling the windows up. For $3700 I expected to have my mind blown, and instead it sounded just like the base Premium system. Maybe for countries that have the lesser stereo as standard and have to choose between that and B&O it might make sense, but for the US, save your $3700 or spend it much more wisely on the aftermarket. I made sure both had completely neutral settings when I tested (treble, bass, fader, and EQ).

As for comparison of the two, I really didn't think I would, but I actually prefer the M5 over the M6, even disregarding the price difference. And I say that as someone who almost always prefers coupe styling and has no need for the practical advantages of a sedan. Here's why I still prefer the M5:

- While both cars are gorgeously styled, the M5's styling has much better integration and flow as a whole, whereas the M6 has several areas that all look great separately, but they don't come together the same way. I think this could just be an issue with the coupe body style not scaling well to a car this size, or it could be that the F10 is just such a gorgeous car to begin with.

- The M6 has a noticeably lower-slung seating position and its vertical viewing area is much smaller compared to the M5 because its windshield is much more sharply raked. I preferred the M5's seating position and outward view; it's also easier to get in and out of (no surprise).

- Another thing I wasn't expecting, I actually preferred the M5's interior. The M6 interior, largely because of that pillar that comes down from the dashboard to the center console, starkly separates the two people in the front. It's the driver with everything wrapping around him/her, and then the passenger visually isolated from everything else. I think I'd feel awkward as a passenger in that car; you're really cut off and feel almost trapped. The M5 is more cohesive between the two front seats, and it actually feels more spacious as a result. The M6 also has a partially free-floating iDrive display (think 1 Series or F30 3 Series), whereas the M5 integrates it into the dash more cleanly which I really prefer.

- The M6 also has a much wider center console that I think made it feel smaller from a seating perspective, and I didn't really like that either. It results in a HUGE trim piece that just looks sprawled out. The center armrest storage compartment is absolutely CAVERNOUS on that car though. It's long and deep enough to swallow a full-size box of Kleenex with room to spare.

- Just like the previous generation, I don't like the M6's carbon fiber trim, though it is improved for this generation. It's just a bummer that the only other trim options on the M6 are wood.

- Also just like the previous generation, the M6 has less rear seat room than either the M5 or even the E92 M3!! And the lower part of the seats (the part under your butt and thighs) is angled VERY sharply upward because there isn't enough room for you to sit with your legs pointing straight ahead. I don't think my friends would be comfortable back there for long. Meanwhile, the M5's rear seating is very nice.

Let me know if you have any other questions, would be happy to share more!


Photos from the event:

by P1et






















MORE PICS by SERI335 (from post #4 below)






























































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      05-05-2012, 05:19 PM   #2
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Nice post my friend. I knew you'd like the aluminum trim once you saw it in person. And for the rest of you out there who are making their interior trim decisions based solely on photographs, you really owe it to yourself to find some way to see the M5 aluminum trim in person. It's finely detailed and doesn't look anything like the aluminum trim options in the other BMW models. It actually reminds me a little of the detail on the bezels of some of the top-end sports watches. It's that distinctive and precise looking.

I'm glad that you also confirmed my initial underwhelmed take on the B&O system as well. It's even better that you got to compare it with the the standard U.S. M5 audio system (which, as you note, is the upgraded audio system outside of North America). That's something I didn't have the chance to do because there are no actual F10 M5s within four hundred miles of me. Again, for the rest of you, there have now been two people telling you to save your money by not selecting this very expensive option.

Now if I could just get a production number.

Last edited by SleepTight; 05-05-2012 at 06:47 PM.
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      05-05-2012, 08:55 PM   #3
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Thank you for your impressions, especially on the sound system. That is the one option I'm still on the fence with so it's good to hear an opinion of someone who has heard it themselves.
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      05-05-2012, 09:33 PM   #4
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some more Austin pics!

Hey dude, great post indeed. Couldn't have described it better myself. Don't forget the monster calipers and ceramic discs on the M6. They were beyond huge at first sight!!!

I'll throw in a few pics from the event to accompany your post. Didn't really snap any interior pics though. Bummer on my part. Enjoy nevertheless!

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Quote:
Originally Posted by singularity View Post
Thanks for the review. I agree, M5 F10 is arguably one of the best BMWs ever made. I am yet to see M6 and M6GC in person, but from what I've seen in videos - both are great looking cars but they aren't as perfected as a M5. But tastes differ, no arguing in that
Quote:
Originally Posted by SandmanTR View Post
Thanks for the write ups guys. I am one of those guys that passed on the M5 for the M6. I have no need for back seat usage when driving this car and prefer the look of the coupe over the sedan.

I really love the pictures here on the forum showing the Sakhir Orange exterior but I am afraid, that without seeing it in person, it may be a mistake. Some of the photos show a red undertone. My question for you guys that went to the event is does Sakhir come off like Hemi orange you see on a Dodge Challenger or something else?

Thanks!
Quote:
Originally Posted by s62 View Post
It's a bit darker than the Dodge but it is in no way red, just a deeper orange with tiny metallic flakes.

Go for it
Quote:
Originally Posted by SleepTight View Post
+2 Saw the Sakhir Orange M6 at the New York Auto Show. It's definitely a bold color, but is a much deeper and classier orange than say on a Dodge. It you want to be noticed, its definitely the way to go.
Since there is so much interest in the colors of the cars, I decided to upload some more photos, but in this case, unedited. The exposures on them however vary a bit, but hope it gives you some more insight on what's missing from the set above. Enjoy!



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Last edited by Doctor///M; 05-06-2012 at 09:58 PM.
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      05-06-2012, 03:49 AM   #5
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great comparison, thanks! Your comments on the M6 interior are interesting, guess I have to wait to sit in one myself.
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      05-06-2012, 06:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for the review. I agree, M5 F10 is arguably one of the best BMWs ever made. I am yet to see M6 and M6GC in person, but from what I've seen in videos - both are great looking cars but they aren't as perfected as a M5. But tastes differ, no arguing in that

At this point I'm really sure that BMW built F10's design on an actual M5 version, then made changes to front/rear spoilers etc to make it look also regular.
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      05-06-2012, 10:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielt View Post
great comparison, thanks! Your comments on the M6 interior are interesting, guess I have to wait to sit in one myself.
Yeah, I really wasn't expecting to get that impression, but the M6 interior design is driver-oriented to the extreme. The driver is visually and functionally cocooned by that pillar coming down from the dashboard and the layout of the equipment, but at the cost of the passenger feeling like a visually cramped outsider. I think the fact that the trim stops at the center console, leaving nothing but dashboard and the glovebox on the passenger side also reinforces that impression, compared to the M5 where the trim joins the two sides of the car. Between all that and the almost "emergency-only rear seats", the M6 was clearly designed for the customer who will almost always be driving solo.
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      05-06-2012, 12:57 PM   #8
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Thanks for the write ups guys. I am one of those guys that passed on the M5 for the M6. I have no need for back seat usage when driving this car and prefer the look of the coupe over the sedan.

I really love the pictures here on the forum showing the Sakhir Orange exterior but I am afraid, that without seeing it in person, it may be a mistake. Some of the photos show a red undertone. My question for you guys that went to the event is does Sakhir come off like Hemi orange you see on a Dodge Challenger or something else?

Thanks!
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      05-06-2012, 03:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SandmanTR View Post

I really love the pictures here on the forum showing the Sakhir Orange exterior but I am afraid, that without seeing it in person, it may be a mistake. Some of the photos show a red undertone. My question for you guys that went to the event is does Sakhir come off like Hemi orange you see on a Dodge Challenger or something else?
It's a bit darker than the Dodge but it is in no way red, just a deeper orange with tiny metallic flakes.

Go for it
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      05-06-2012, 05:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by s62 View Post
It's a bit darker than the Dodge but it is in no way red, just a deeper orange with tiny metallic flakes.

Go for it
+2 Saw the Sakhir Orange M6 at the New York Auto Show. It's definitely a bold color, but is a much deeper and classier orange than say on a Dodge. It you want to be noticed, its definitely the way to go.
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      05-06-2012, 10:21 PM   #11
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Thanks guys! Love the Sakhir exterior!
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      05-07-2012, 12:00 AM   #12
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Great write up John! Here are my .02 pics that I managed to get of the M5 and M6 interior (mind my crappy phone pics ):
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