Come April 2014, the Audi RS7 will have competition in the form of the brooding BMW M6 Gran Coupe (in India). Like the RS7, the M6 Gran Coupé is a four-door, four-seat, boot sedan with the roofline of a coupé and like the RS7, the M6 Gran Coupé packs a kick in the gonads under the hood – in this case, a stonking 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 with 567bhp and 69.3kgm of torque. Unlike the RS7 though, the Gran Coupé is purely rear-wheel drive.
Based on the BMW M5, the Gran Coupé comes with a standard carbonfibre roof and a roofline that's 2.5-inches closer to the deck than its full-size super sedan sister. It is also wider and longer and five kilos heavier than the M5's 1,945kg and that brings us to the end of the specification lecture.
You literally need to mind your head when you get into the Gran Coupé. With such a low roofline, you could knock your head on the way into the low seats (in this case, you'd be hitting an alcantara lined ceiling). From the low front seats, the car feels broad and more than a bit intimidating. The steeply raked windscreen doesn't help and neither does the poor rearward view through the letter box-like rear windscreen and then you have to contend with the fact that you've got more power than a Ferrari 458 under your right foot.
Nonetheless, like the M5, this engine is perfectly happy at low revs and because peak torque is available from 1500rpm, you don't need to wring it out for it to feel exciting. However, if you do find a dry, straight, smooth road and give it some right foot, you should hang on. Like in the M5, the engine is rev happy, the shove builds rapidly and over the last 2000-or-so revs, it feels like a couple of afterburners have kicked in. It feels even more maniacal than the M5 and BMW's claim of a 4.1sec 0-100kph time for the Gran Coupé is entirely believable. What's really breathtaking though is the way it gets to silly speeds in a trice. You could be pottering around in a high gear but hold the throttle down for a few seconds and you'll be looking at, at least in Europe, jail time.
Like the M5 we drove the day before, our test car was limited by its winter tyres to 240kph, but on normal tyres, you get an electronically limited 250kph top speed and an optional 305kph if you pay a fee.
Again, the spoil sport is the sheer weight of the car. You need to really lean on the suspension to get the best out of the car and there's the problem. Because the seating position is lower than in the M5, the Gran Coupé feels even broader and that makes you think twice about chucking it around on narrow roads. To really enjoy it then, you need autobahn-like playgrounds.
The active M Differential also struggles to put power down cleanly and using more than half throttle out of corners results in the traction control system going into a frenzy. Of course, the traction control can be disabled to let the rear loose, but given the roads we were driving on, we simply weren’t brave enough.
Still, there's plenty of grip, the steering is direct and depending on what revs you're at, you've got that basso-rumble-to-high-pitched-shriek exhaust note accompanying you.
There are other good things to the Gran Coupé – we like the driver-centric dash and the standalone iDrive screen, the build quality is fantastic as usual and the interiors feel as inviting and expensive as you would expect from a super-niche car like this.
You should know that, thanks to the swoopy roofline, tall people will have headroom issues at the rear, and thanks to the console between the front seats, the rear is a place for two people only.
The other big problem is that the M6 Gran Coupé won't be cheap. When it comes to India, it will be a whole lot more expensive than the M5. As is, it looks a whole lot better than the M5 and that very fact brings with it a certain kind of exclusivity. If that's what you want, the M6 Gran Coupé could be for you.