When you’re comparing two cars that are almost identical in looks and specs, both have 600hp and cost over $100,000, you really have to get nit-picky when choosing a winner. But then again when it comes to cars on this level, is there really a loser? We sure didn’t think so when we saw this shootout between the beloved BMW M6 Gran Coupe and the Alpina B6. I mean talk about a win-win type situation. It’s basically the same car with just a few variations. How big and important are those variations? In our opinion, it would all depend on what you’re looking for.
The BMW M6 Gran Coupe is one of our favorite M cars currently in production because of its sinister good looks and amazing specs. It features the 4.4L twin turbo V8 that’s good for 600hp and 516lb-ft of torque all sent to the rear wheels only. That equates to roughly 4.0 second 0-60 times depending on how good of a start you get.
The Alpina B6 also has the same 4.4L twin turbo V8 that’s good for 600hp, only the torque has been upped to 590lb-ft of torque which is a significant increase over the M6. One of the major differences between the two cars is that the B6 comes with an all-wheel drive system. There are rumors that the new M5/M6’s will come with an AWD option if not coming standard with it. Depending who in the office you ask, some of us think this isn’t a bad thing at all. While the purists here can’t imagine an M-car being anything but rear wheel drive. You can see a prime example as to why many of us like AWD when you see the two cars line up for a quarter mile drag race. Because of that additional traction, the B6 destroys the M6 over and over with 0-60 times right around 3.3 seconds and continues that dominance through the quarter mile.
However let’s be honest, 0-60 times aren’t even close to what these cars specialize in and if that’s your main criteria when buying a car, neither of these would be your first choice when it comes to picking a car for a drag race. What they’re built for is autobahn type high-speed cruising, so to better suit the cars the guys at Motor Trend decided to run them in another drag race. Only this one would be a rolling start from 50-150mph. This is when the M6 showed its true colors and absolutely walked away from the B6. Maybe even more so than when the B6 walked away during the race from a standstill.
This actually caught us by surprise because the B6 has both more torque and more traction. So why did it happen? Well, it seems to be a few different things. First, the B6 is a good 350lbs heavier than the M6. It could also come down to the transmission difference between the two cars. The M6 comes with a twin clutch 7-speed auto that provides lightning quick shifts and the B6 comes with a regular old automatic with 8 speeds which are designed more for comfort than track style shifting.
Another thing that seems to have made a major difference is the turbo set up on each car. Apparently, the B6 uses a single scroll turbo which takes much longer to spool up than the M6 and this results in some drastic turbo lag. They give you an example in the video and it’s actually quite surprising to see how long it took for the B6 to get up and go. Once it does finally spool up that extra torque and traction come into play and you take off with a quickness not seen in the M6. But still, it was no match for the M6 when it came to putting the power down at higher speeds.
From what we gathered on the two cars is it really would depend on what kind of driver you are, and what kind of driving you want to do, to determine which of these magnificent cars is better suited for you. The M6 is much more raw and sport tuned, or better yet race tuned as far as the suspension, throttle response, ride quality, and connectivity to the road. Where the B6 is significantly more comfortable in every aspect of the car. If you were looking for a car to take a road trip in, the B6 is exactly what you’re looking for. However, if you want to hit a back canyon road that could involve some power sliding around the corners the M6 is most definitely going to be the car for you.
Randy Probst took both cars around the track for a hot lap like he usually does in these comparisons, although in this one the two hosts Jonny Lieberman and Jason Cammisa went along for the ride strapped into the backseat. With the B6, you can’t tell Probst is pushing the car to it’s limits. It was so quite and the guys in the back barely even moved even though the car was being thrashed around. When it came time to go in the M6, it was immediately different. Not only were they being thrown around all over the place, but it was much louder and more importantly they had big old smiles on their faces. In the end, the M6 finished just over 2 seconds quicker than its Alpina cousin.
That reminds me, I hate to talk ill of any M car, especially the M6 Gran Coupe, but we have to say something about this asinine fake engine noise being pumped through the speakers nonsense that BMW first came on the seen with many years ago. Why in the world would you do that in any circumstance, let alone a high-performance car that happens to have a different type of manifold that makes it sound like a flat plank V8? I mean if you’re going to make the terrible decision to use fake engine noise, at least amplify the sound the engine currently makes. In the video, they say it sounds like a V10 when inside the car and that just seems obnoxious.
So overall you really can’t go wrong with either one of these cars. Cost wise they are fairly similar, you can get into the M6 GC for around $120K-$155K depending on what option boxes you tick. The B6 ranges anywhere from $123K-$135K. It really will come down to what you want to do and how you want to do it. The Alpina will be made in limited numbers with only 500 examples made, so if you’re looking for the rarity that would be the one for you. If you’re looking for a road trip car that’s super comfortable, but also stupidly fast and luxurious, the Alpina is for you. However, if you’re wanting to have a raw, pure, exhilarating driving experience with ferocious acceleration at highway speeds, the M6 is gonna be the right choice. Randy Probst even when on to say that M6 would make a great drift car, which isn’t something you would normally hear to describe a full size four door sedan. So which one would you be taking home if you were handed the keys to both?