seven-speed sequential manual gearbox
The BMW M6 Convertible
BMW's fastest ever soft-top, the new BMW M6 Convertible, takes centre stage at the British International Motor Show.
Powered by a 4,999cc V10 engine developing 507hp, the M6 Convertible engine is a technical tour de force. Using BMW's innovative Bi-VANOS variable valve technology and individual throttle butterflies on each of the engine's 10 cylinders for optimum breathing, the M6 Convertible delivers true supercar performance. The 0-62mph sprint is achieved in 4.8 seconds before going on to an electronically-limited top speed of 155mph. Unchecked, the car could continue to a top speed approaching 200mph. Managing the engine's operation is the MS S65 engine management system, the most advanced electronic control unit ever fitted to a car. Capable of up to 200 million individual calculations per second - a record for a production car - the unit, along with associated electronic components, monitors the entire operation of the engine from throttle inputs to exhaust gas management. Other innovations include engine oil pumps designed to operate despite the high g-forces generated by the M6 Convertible, a unique exhaust construction that improves engine efficiency and the extensive use of lightweight materials that save weight. Power is fed to the rear wheels via a seven-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG) with Drivelogic - the world's first such transmission and one that has already seen service in the BMW M5 and the M6 Coupé. The SMG system's Drivelogic function offers the driver a choice of 11 different gear change options - five in auto mode and six in manual mode - each offering a different speed of gearshift. On its fastest setting, the driver of an M6 Convertible can make gear changes in just 50 milliseconds - a much faster time than could be achieved by an experienced driver using a conventional manual gear box.
The new BMW M6 Convertible showcases many lightweight materials that reduce unsprung weight, thereby improving ride and handling while minimising consumption and emissions figures. Thermoplastic front wings and Sheet Moulding Compound, another form of hi-tech plastic, form the boot lid and spoiler, and reduce unwanted mass. The use of lightweight aluminium components throughout the car saves further weight while retaining the same levels of strength offered by heavier steel. In comparison to a standard 6 Series Convertible, the M-variant has revised front, side and rear bodywork for enhanced aerodynamic efficiency and to help engine cooling. BMW M's signature quad exhaust pipes protrude from the restyled rear valance. The M6 Convertible also features a triple-layered hood with a middle component of polyurethane (PUR) foam for the most refined closed-roof driving. The hood has also been designed so that the roof-up profile has a near identical silhouette as the M6 Coupé.
Even with its soft-top configuration, the M6 Convertible offers one of the most rigid chassis available. BMW's renowned Variable M differential, used on all current BMW M cars, ensures the BMW M6 Convertible offers the driver the highest levels of traction and stability. The Variable M differential permits up to 100 per cent of drive to be fed to a single rear wheel to optimise traction. In its optimum MDynamic Mode, as a part of the Dynamic Stability Control system, it permits a greater degree of wheel slip for safe and exciting driving. BMW's familiar double joint strut front axle is used on the M6 Convertible, while, at the rear, an integral axle with longitudinal arms with springs and dampers feature. In common with all previous BMW M developed cars, the BMW M6 Convertible is fitted with a hydraulically assisted rack and pinion steering. For ease of driving and manoeuvrability at slow speeds, the steering system is supplemented by BMW's Servotronic speed-proportional steering system.
Market and history
The M6 Convertible is unique - it is BMW's first ever M-badged high performance 6 Series Convertible and comes to the market at a time when demand for soft-top cars has never been greater. In 1993 UK car buyers bought 22,510 soft-top vehicles, while in 2005 108,618 convertibles were sold. The UK has traditionally been the third largest worldwide market for M-cars and the second largest European market for soft-tops. The introduction of the M6 Convertible is, therefore, a logical step for BMW. The M6 Convertible promises to be one of BMW's most exclusive cars and, in its first full year, BMW UK expects to sell 150 cars.
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