Over Memorial Day weekend, I was lucky enough to secure an invite to spend a few days in the Hamptons.
I was even luckier to have a 2012 BMW M6 convertible to get me and three friends there.
This $127,000 BMW is packed with luxury and power. But it is not a simple or intuitive machine.
Opening the trunk is confusing. The navigation screen is dizzying. Putting it in park felt like I was solving a “Myst” puzzle, not driving an automatic car.
After a few hours of trial and error (in the rain and the dark), I got it all figured out. Then the sun made an appearance, and everything clicked.
And I learned why this gorgeous convertible is the perfect ride for a summer getaway.
We picked up the M6 in Manhattan in the rain, so it didn't look nearly as good as this. The model we drove cost $127,095.
Just opening the trunk was a challenge. The lid is really heavy and difficult to lift, so I thought it was locked. At least it had enough room for all our bags.
Then we had to fit everyone in the car. It has four seats, but it's really made for two people. Here's where I like the front seat to be, which didn't work for the person behind me. So I drove for several hours in an awkward position.
Eventually, I figured out what to do: Put the car in neutral, then put on the parking brake and turn off the engine. This error message comes up.
But the Head-Up display projects directions onto the windshield, so that wasn't an issue. This is one of my favourite all-time car features, mostly because it just makes so much sense to put important information in the driver's peripheral vision.
So we arrived at our destination Friday night, exhausted from traffic and learning to understand the BMW.
Later in the weekend, the sun came out. So we dropped the top and took the M6 for a ride, and then it all clicked.
Under the hood is a 4.4-liter V8 engine that provides a huge 560 horsepower, enough to send the very heavy car from 0 to 60 mph in just four seconds.
Despite its power and weight, the M6 has solid fuel economy numbers. It gets 14 mpg in the city, 20 on the highway. The big fuel tank lets you go over 400 miles without stopping to fill up.
The Merino leather seats are very comfortable, especially when you can slide them back without crushing someone behind you.
You can even take it to the mountains — a bag folds out from the trunk so you can put your skis in the car without getting anything dirty.
But the M6 is really a summer car. Once you're cruising on a sunny day with the top down, it's just about perfect.
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