It was Friday when I finally got the keys. A hot and steamy Friday, too, which seemed fitting, for in my hand was a fob to a car as hot as any I’ve driven in quite a while: the BMW M6.  With its SMG manual transmission, 5.0-liter V-10 engine and smoky, venomous styling, it’s the kind of car you spend a long time with, learning about and driving, and driving, and driving, until you’ve got that certain kind of smile on your face that can only come from a superb vehicle. Sure, there are flaws. The transmission takes some getting used to, and if left alone it’s barely satisfying, rough in lower gears and not at all fun. When manipulated, however, it brings out a nice stream of BMW power, especially with the adjustable shift points: this made the M6 more pleasant to drive depending on how I wanted to drive it, which is exactly what a car like this should do, price and brand considered: drive as I wish it, from smooth and stable to hard-edged and aggressive.

That goes with the power, too. It’s nice to have 500 ponies available when you need it, and if that – along with 383 lb.-ft. of torque – isn’t enough for you, well, go to a shrink, please. Or maybe a plastic surgeon? Inside, the M6 is relatively tight-fitting, but comfortable, and pretty easy to see out of. The head’s up display works nicely, presenting critical driving information without being too intrusive about it. It’s more luxury than sport inside, which is probably as it should be.  Overall, the M6 is a slender rocket ship with a propeller on its snout, one better suited to a track but quite happy, nonetheless, when you can open it up and stretch its legs. It felt too big and powerful on tight roads with sharp corners; I had the most fun on less dramatic corners and wide-open spaces, road that required both power and precision and offered room to accelerate. This is the kind of car that eats road in big gulps, yet you will scarcely notice its appetite…until you get to the gas pump. But then again, who cares about gasoline when you’ve got an M6, an open road and an afternoon to burn?

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