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Click Read more for the 2012 BMW M6 Convertible press drive review with a large gallery of pictures from 6post. Enjoy!

The Press Drive Review: The 2012 M6 convertible (F12) is big, it’s heavy, and it’s for showing off. But, courtesy of the usual magic from BMW M GmbH, it does not feel as big, heavy, or just for showing off. What it is is a super high performing GT convertible and a hell of a looker.

We spent two days this week in Santa Barbara, California to check out and test drive the all new 2012 BMW M6 and 6 Series Gran Coupe (see our previous review). After over 100 miles of highways, backroads, and mountain twisties, here were our impressions.

Leading with our biggest reaction is that the F12 M6 is a seriously fast car! Car and Driver just published their test numbers, which have the F12 M6 convertible clocked from 0-60 mph in 4.0 sec (BMW quotes 4.1 sec), 0-100 mph in 9.2, 0-130 mph in 15.5 sec and standing 1/4 mile in 12.4 sec @ 117mph. These are very impressive acceleration figures for a 4,255 pound car (U.S. curb weight).

Propelling the F12 M6 is the same 4.4L 560 horsepower / 500 lb-ft torque S63Tu engine from the F10 M5. This is the first time we’ve experienced it and it’s as good as billed. The S63Tu pushes the M6 around easily and without fuss when you’re just cruising, but switch into Sport Plus mode, drop the hammer somewhere above 2000 RPM, and it makes a ridiculous amount of fuss, instantly. If you’re a Spaceball (the movie) fan, Ludicrous Speed appears to be achieved once you hit 4500 RPM. It’s super car fast. Triple digits comes up on the HUD scary fast while you’re compressed into your seat. Unfortunately, to get the most thrills in the F12 M6, it may mean a foray into very high (illegal) speeds. The car provides such a composed and refined ride that 80 MPH feels merely like 50 or 60 MPH; and just seconds after you’ve planted your right foot the car has already rocketed to triple digit speeds. But man, would this car be fun on the unrestricted Autobahn. If you’re wondering about our gas mileage from all this fun, we averaged 17-18 MPG from 100+ miles mixing highway cruising, very spirited driving and several full out acceleration runs.

Engine (throttle) response, steering, and dampening are all 3 way adjustable in the M6 – from Comfort to Sport to Sport Plus. Having the throttle response in Sport Plus mode provides mad fun at speed, but it’s sometimes overly sensitive at very low speeds. Around town, Comfort and Sport modes are the more suitable throttle settings. Being an M car, the M6 convertible is pretty stiffly sprung even in Comfort mode. You will feel road imperfections even in Comfort mode. But, in our opinion, you want to be able to feel the road in any M car, even in the most comfortable settings. During spirited driving, the higher the dampening setting was turned up, the less the M6’s weight was felt. In the Sport Plus setting, the car handled excellent through the mountain canyons for a 4200+ pound GT convertible, albeit a bit jarring on very uneven roads. The car inspired confidence in the corners like all late model Ms.

And if you want to feel more of the road through the steering wheel as well, switching the steering into Sport Plus tightens up the M6’s hydraulic steering for a pretty communicative and never too heavy steering experience. As comparison, the weight of the M6 convertible’s steering in Sport Plus mode feels lighter still than that of the current M3’s ‘normal’ servotronic (steering) mode, but it’s entirely appropriate for this segment of car.

Our M6 convertible was stopped by the standard M compound brakes – 6 piston front calipers and single piston rear calipers, with cross-drilled rotors. It proved to be adequate and sharp, but we weren’t able to evaluate fade as there was no track evaluation performed. Optional M Carbon Ceramic Brakes will be available beginning with July production vehicles.

The M6 sounds terrific. You may have seen videos of the M5/M6 exhaust, but it would be premature to make your final judgment until hearing it in person. Bass of the type coming from the M6 exhaust does not make the same impression over computer speakers. My hotel room looked out onto the hotel’s long entrance road. I was always able to hear when an M6 was coming or going from its distinctive and bassy sound punctuated by a nice exhaust pop on throttle lift. In the two days of driving, I purposely lifted throttle countless times just to hear and feel that popping. Unlike the predecessor E63/E64 M6, the F12 M6’s overall sound definitely consists more of exhaust than engine noise, however.

Now about that showing off part. Convertibles get noticed. The M6 convertible gets ogled. Perhaps it was because the car is not yet known or seen by most of the population, or perhaps college students are just excitable about anything shiny, expensive, powerful, or loud, but a top-down drive through UC Santa Barbara’s campus elicited an almost uncomfortable amount of staring, double and triple-looks, thumbs ups, and compliments lobbed in my direction. It broke my heart to tell them it was not mine.

At the end of my time with the F12 M6, I still understood that it was big, heavy, and showy, but I also learned that like the X5M/X6M, M engineers have managed to bend and work with physics in a way which provides for a proper M driving experience, while BMW designers were able to create a beautifully styled car for showing off in… should an owner actually be able to drive the M6 slow enough for it to be admired. – Credit to our friends at www.6post.com