The Dark Knight #BMW
E63 M6 / #BMW-E63
Matt Jones enjoys M6 ownership, but 6mpg and a maximum range of 125 miles is the trade off for 560bhp. The E63 M6 isn’t a car we tend to see at Total BMW, but Matt Jones uses his one as a daily driver and a quarter mile tool. In the midst of a recession, how does 6 mpg sound and 125 miles to a tank?
The E63 M6 is a hugely underrated performance car. With 500bhp from a V10 that sounds like very little else on God's good earth, it has performance on the fringes of a Supercar level, to go with a sharp rear-drive chassis and a sometimes brutal semi-auto seven-speeder. Yet it has all the buttons and gadgets one could hope for and, with the M programme left dormant, is happy to mooch the city strassen or cruise the autobahn in refined comfort.
Sure the E60 M5 has all that too. but it’s a confused soul - an out-and-out performance car character at odds with its laid back executive saloon remit. Besides, the M5 looks like any other 5-Series and. while that certainly is not without appeal, sometimes you want to turn heads and induce jealous thoughts.
The M6, however, has the body style and more tightly-defined Sports GT remit to carry off the harsh SMG shifts and top-endy power delivery. It looks low. sleek and purposeful, weighs a good chunk less and has - childish yelp of glee - a carbon-fibre roof. Controversial maybe, but to these eyes the M6 is actually the better resolved package.
Of course that's not to say it can’t be improved upon, as this matte black beasty very ably demonstrates. Owned by 31-year-old Matt Jones, serial modifier and previous owner of a PY E46 M3 Vert that had been given the CSL treatment, this car is a shining example of how to do an M6 right. So we're very lucky that Matt is incapable of resisting his urges...
"Like the M3 I had specced this one exactly how I wanted and hadn't planned to modify it. It was so fast out of the box and had all the toys," he explains. "But literally the day I got it I went round to show my brother and the first thing he said was that it was too quiet! I said it'd be fine - but three weeks later I'd ordered the Eisenmann exhaust!" And that's how it started.
Matt refers to aftermarket parts for the M6 as being subject to an M Tax', so to get round that he does his shopping in the US. "I went on holiday to America and had a load of stuff delivered to where I was staying, so I could then take it back as luggage. I had two suitcases full, one with engine bits and another with the H&R springs. I thought that if I got caught and had to pay the duty I’d still be up. But I got away with it and saved a fortune!"
Clearly Matt wanted to release the M6's performance potential before anything else, and the combination of Evosport headers. Supersprint centre section and Eisenmann back-boxes. the suitcase purchases (RPI pulleys, induction scoops, block plates and oil-cooler, and BMC filters) and an E-maps remap established that potential to be 560bhp.
He regularly enjoys every one of those horses, often going on trips abroad, having done the Cannonball run a few times, and taken it to Santa Pod. “The first time there it won its class, for muscle cars, as it had over eight cylinders." recalls Matt. "It went up against stripped-out, supercharged cars, whose owners were all playing around under the bonnet. I just turned up. turned the stereo off and went for it! ” Matt says it’ll do low-12s all day long. And 206mph. though we didn't dare ask where he confirmed such a number.
This kind of performance does have its downsides, however. "The only thing I don't like is the range. The fuel tank is smaller than a normal 6-Series' because of the quad exhausts, and with fuel consumption of about 6-8mpg on a cruise (we'd hope a fast one, at least) I don’t get any more than 125 miles from a tank! I had 2mpg out of it once at Santa Pod." Ouch.
Only when the performance was well and truly there did Matt turn his attentions to the car’s, then Silverstone Blue II. aesthetics. Carbon or black details gradually made their way onto the car, like the Vorsteiner carbon front spoiler (from America), rear diffuser (made by Matt himself) and those massive 20-inch three-piece splits. You can guess where they came from...
“They’re made by a Florida company who are big on the Corvette scene, called Modular Concept. I had them custom- made and shipped over, and they’re the only ones in the UK”. To confirm their uniqueness, Matt then had them done with Silverstone centres and pin-stripes.
With the theme of Silverstone Blue and either black or carbon, eventually the only chrome left was the tips of the four Eisenmann pipes. A trip to BCP Industrial Coatings had them finished in a heat- resistant matte black, and it was job done. Well, almost. “I drove the car around like that for about a year-and-a-half. It was a similar story to the M3 I got it exactly how I wanted it and then just enjoyed it for a while. However the time came when I started to think about replacements, but I couldn't find anything as quick for the same money." Plan B, then.
"I’d looked at wrapping before, but at the time the cost was really high and the quality not quite there. Then prices came down and quality improved. The wrap was done by Totally Dynamic. The quality is amazing and since then four cars in my family have been wrapped by them!" Obviously the Silverstone Blue on the wheels then looked out of place, so Matt took them apart and sent them off to be gloss blacked.
There was a change of tyre fitment, too. "It used to have stretched tyres but that didn't look right because it wasn't quite low enough to pull the look off, ' says Matt. "I've gone for a squarer setup now to give it a beefier look, and it does drive a lot nicer as a result - although I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I went from Falkens to Continentals.
Saying that. I was rolling on the standard wheels recently and it drove a hundred times better again... it just doesn’t look as good!"
The result of this all-black theme means some very obvious parallels being drawn - by everybody.
“Everyone instantly started calling it the Batmobile when the wrap was done.’’ remembers Matt. "That’s the one comment I get all the time - people come up to me and say "That looks like the Batmobile!". I've had a lot of modded cars, but this is the most attention I’ve ever got from one: it gets a bit ridiculous sometimes!"
One thing that Matt still isn't entirely convinced about is the smoked rear clusters, but it isn’t about their looks per se. "At night they look amazing, with just the four bars shining through, and they do suit the overall look. But it's the whole smoked light image.’’ Matt says they’ll be staying for now, but it sounds like the car won't be hanging around much longer anyway.
"I’m looking at replacements again. I like the new M6. I've been up against a new MS and that walked my car, so the M6 is going to be ridiculous. But they've moved it up a price bracket and £110k for a well specced one is a lot of money for a BMW." Other options? A 911 GT3 is too extreme for the kind of use it'll get. And a 911 is a bit small for Matt's liking anyway, which rules out a Turbo. An Aston DB9 or Vantage is just too slow, as is a V8 R8, and V10 prices are a little steep. The only obvious choice is a Nissan GTR. which is what he's leaning towards - but still not entirely convinced about.
"The thing I love about the M6 is that it's nice and quiet when you're cruising about, but then you press the M button and it’s crazy," is how Man sums it up. And there's the rub: when you have such an excellent car that does so much so well, finding a replacement is very difficult indeed. We don’t envy Matt and his predicament m the slightest, we really don't.
Matt's M6 benefits from Evosport manifolds, and a blend of Supersprint and Eisenmann for the middle and rear sections.
Above right: Modular Concept 5 three-piece wheels are 9j at the front and 11.5j out back-the latter calls for a 325 section tyre.
under-drive pulleys, RPI ram air induction scoops (custom finished in black with logos removed), #BMC
air filters in OEM air boxes (with custom carbon covers), RPI block-off plates, RPI oil- cooler (30% more efficient) finished in black, #E-maps
custom remap with speed limiter removed, #Evosport
centre-section and #Eisenmann
Race back-boxes (powder-coated satin black)
TRANSMISSION Standard seven-speed SMG gearbox, software upgraded to suit engine map
SUSPENSION H&R Race springs. OEM electronic dampening remapped to suit H&R springs, Eibach 12mm spacers all-round
BRAKES Standard with uprated pads
WHEELS & TYRES Custom gloss black Modular Concept 5 three-piece split-rims in 9x20 (3.5-inch lip) front and 11.5x20 (5.5-Inch lip) rear fitment, with 285/35/20 front and 325/30/20 rear Continental Sport Contact 4s
BODY Full matte black wrap including door shuts, treated with Swissvax opaque wax, #Vorsteiner
carbon front splitter with weave to match roof, custom rear carbon diffuser panel, matte black kidney grilles, side grilles wrapped gloss black, gloss black rear M6 badge, matte black Audi R8 V10 badges on side windows, short rear number plate, rear lights tinted with smoked film, headlights tinted with light smoke Laminex film, angle eye upgrade with 6,000k bulbs
INTERIOR Standard Silverstone extended leather. OEM iPod interface with custom ashtray- mounted holder, carbon trim. Logic 7 stereo
THANKS Scott at Totally Dynamic in Enfield for the wrap (0208 2161116), Claude. Ben and the team at Bosch Auto Services in Hitchin (01462 459459). Kevin at BCP Industrial Coatings in Hitchin for the powder-coating (01462 440 804). Andy at Pristine Coachworks for the wheels, and M6board. com and Evotechnik.net
Top right: Smoked lights are an undecided addition - the jury is still out on these.
Above right: Modular Concept 5 three-piece wheels are 9j at the front and 11.5j out back-the latter calls tor a 325 section tyre.
Top far left: Fuel stops are regular, with 125 miles to a lank being commonplace.
Right: BMC air filters live inside the standard air boxes and the V10 has been remapped by E-maps.