In many ways, the BMW we know today rose to prominence in the ’70s with its iconic 3.0 CSL coupe. On top of being one of the most beautiful cars of its era, it dominated on European racetracks, was the first car to receive the go-fast treatment from BMW’s M-Division, and as a result, its smooth inline-six put out 205 horsepower at a time when the base-model Corvette could only muster a paltry 165. After leaving production in 1975, it took BMW another eight years to build a true successor to its first super coupe. The first M6 took its modified six from the BMW M1 supercar, and at the time was the second fastest car the company had ever built.
Three decades later, the current-generation M6 has become the jewel in BMW’s M-Division crown. Available as a coupe, convertible, and the four-door Gran Coupe, the high-performance 6-Series cars are great enough to remind the world why BMW can continue to be called the “Ultimate Driving Machine” while offering dogs like the 5-Series GT and the X6 SUV. And as of this July, the M6 cars are about to get even better. With BMW’s new Competition Package, the M6 will get bigger brakes, a stiffer suspension, and most importantly, a power increase to a whopping 600 horsepower – nearly three times the power of its ur-coupe from 40 years ago.
Not that the M6 was a slouch to begin with, with its twin-turbocharged 4.4 liter V8 serving up 560 horsepower. But with the competition package, BMW gives an impressive zero-to-60 time of 3.7 seconds (3.8 for the convertible and Gran Coupe). Still, Car and Driver views this number with some skepticism – it’s already been able to take a stock M6 to 60 in 3.5 seconds. Surely those extra 40 horses will shave a few tenths of a second off that time.
Like most performance Bimmers, top speed is electronically limited to 155 miles per hour – unless you opt for the M Driver’s package, which safely removes the nanny and lets you help the car reach its true 189 mile per hour potential. Underneath, the suspension has been reengineered to make driving in anger even more fun, with firmer springs, bushings, dampers, and anti-roll bars.
Like any modern BMW, the M6 has plenty of electronic aids, and most of those have been upgraded too. The active differential has been upgraded to accelerate out of corners better, the drive-by-wire system has been upgraded for an even more direct steering feel, and the traction control has ben revised to make track-day driving that much more interesting.
While its hard to think of many ways to improve on the M6, BMW has somehow managed to find a way. The base price for a 2015 coupe model is $112,400, and while the company hasn’t released pricing for this upgraded Competition Package, the current pack adds $7,300 to the car’s price, and these latest upgrades shouldn’t cost much more. If you want to know what makes a BMW so great, take an M6 for a drive, and if you really want to have some fun, make sure it has the new Competition Package.