BMW F10 M5 vs F12 M6: Performance & Handling

The BMW M5 and M6 aren't your traditional BMW performance cars. They are big, heavy, luxurious BMW's. Don't let their size fool you, though. The BMW M division doesn't mess around when it comes to performance, and the M5 & M6 are no exception. These cars both offer a great balance of size, performance, and handling. How do the BMW M5 vs M6 stack up against against each other?

BMW F10 M5

BMW F10 M5Pin

The F10 M5 doesn't quite get the same recognition as the M2, M3, or M4. A lot likely has to do with the sheer size of the M5. Nonetheless, it packs a punch with its 4.4L twin turbo V8. It's also the first turbocharged M5 released. By the F10 M5's release in 2012 BMW already had 5 years of experience with mass production turbo, direct injected engines. They knew what they were doing, and that shows in the M5's 560 horsepower S63tu engine. It also makes 502 torque with minimal turbo lag.

However, the s63tu engine in the F10 M5 is severely underrated from the factory. Aftermarket testing shows about 530whp and 520wtq. Yes - those are numbers to the wheels. Factor in 12% drivetrain losses and the M5 is closer to 600 horsepower. A 4,300 pound car or not that's a lot of power.

BMW F12 (& F06, F13) M6

BMW F12 M6Pin

BMW's M6 has a bit of a unique history as it's come and gone through the years. After a nearly 20 years hiatus the M6 was born again in the 2005 E63 M6. It took a couple years off again until the release of the F12 M6 in 2012. We'll mainly refer to the M6 as the F12 in this post. However, it has a few different body styles and chassis codes:

  • F06: 4 door sedan
  • F12: 2 door convertible
  • F13: 2 door coupe

All models use the same s63tu twin turbo V8 engine as found in the F10 M5. Power is also the same at 560 horsepower and 502 torque. The F13 M6 coupe comes in with the lowest weight - just under 4,200 lbs. On the other hand, the F12 convertible comes it at a whopping 4,500 pounds. Surprisingly, the F06 sedan fits in the middle at about 4,400 lbs.

BMW M5 vs BMW M6: Specs

As evidenced above, the M6 has slightly different specs based on the specific body style in question. The M5 vs M6 sedan are very close, so we'll use the M6 coupe to show the differences.

 M5M6 Coupe
Power560hp560hp
Torque502tq502tq
Weight4,300 lbs4,170 lbs
Wheelbase116.7"112.2"
Height57.1"53.9"
0-603.7s3.7s
1/4 Mile11.9 @ 120mph11.9 @ 120mph

Results for the M5 and M6 are similar. It makes sense as they're close in weight and use the same exact 560 horsepower twin turbo V8. The 0-60 and 1/4 mile times are from Car & Driver tests. However, the tests were independent from each other. On the same day and in the same conditions the M6 coupe likely has the edge. The lower, sleeker body and lower weight should favor the M6 coupe vs the M5 sedan.

For a more realistic comparison the below video from Car & Driver paints a good picture. When tested on the same day the M6 turned in a 4.1 second 0-60 time compared to 4.5 seconds for the M5. To note - the conditions were poor so both cars were a bit slower than their "norm".

Competition Models

One thing we've yet to bring up are the F10 M5 and F12 M6 competition models. In 2014, both models had the competition model as an option. The competition models include several "upgrades" over the base models. A sportier exhaust and more aggressive suspension & steering were among a few upgrades. Power also sees a small bump to 567 horsepower.

In 2015, the competition models saw a further increase in power - up to 591 horsepower and 516 torque. We'll leave it at that for discussion of the M5 vs M6 competition models. Like the standard models they offer very similar specs and performance.

BMW M5 vs M6: Performance

Well, we kind of gave it away in the previous section. Both the M5 and M6 offer very similar performance from the factory. They both use the same 4.4L TT V8. Both the M5 and M6 also use the same 7-speed dual clutch transmission (DCT). 6-speed manuals were an option, but they're tough to find. The DCT is a great option anyways. It's a very stout transmission capable of handling upwards of 650-700 wheel torque.

That leads us to our next point about performance. The S63tu engine in the M5 and M6 leaves a lot of power on the table from the factory. BMW's M5 and M6 are already quick from the factory. However, some enthusiasts always want more. If that's you - you're in luck.

M5 & M6 Mods

How does 700-800 horsepower sound to you? It might sound like too much to some. However, there is nothing wrong with that. When is the last time you turned down a raise or a job offer because it was too much money? Exactly. Anyways, the F10 M5 and F12 M6 have no issues reaching 700+ horsepower with a few bolt-ons.

S63tu FBO DynoPin

BMW M5 vs M6: Handling

Alright, maybe we gave this away indirectly, too. The M5 vs M6 are close enough in handling that it likely comes down to a drivers race. However, same day, conditions, and driver the M6 should hold a small advantage. BMW's M6 coupe carries a bit less weight overall, and that weight is also closer to the ground. In the M5 vs M6 video above, the M6 took the win by nearly 1.4 seconds. Lap times were 1:18.58 and 1:17.22 for the M5 and M6, respectively.

Keep in mind - those results are for the lightest M6 in its coupe form. The M5 may put up a closer race against the heavier F12 convertible and F06 sedan. Either way, all of these cars are very close in performance and handling. In the real world it likely comes down to a drivers race.

The M5 vs M6 are close enough in handling it's not worth arguing too much. Both perform and handle well given their large size and weight. They can keep up with many smaller, lighter cars around a track. However, a lot of that is likely due to the power. Don't expect the M5 or M6 to be complete track stars.

BMW M5 vs M6: Price

We'll keep this pretty short. What's interesting is that the M6 was nearly $20,000 more than the M5 when brand new. The price gap is pretty large for two cars that are so similar. M5 vs M6 engines, transmissions, technology, and standard equipment were all identical or nearly identical. However, the used market seems to have picked up on that.

When looking at M5's and M6's with similar years, maintenance history, and mileage they're almost the same in price. Earlier F06, F12, and F13 models with less than 50,000 miles come in around $35,000-45,000. Similar M5's are in that exact same ballpark.

Summary: Which is Better?

When brand new you could make the argument the M5 was better than the M6. While the M6 offers ever so slightly better performance the M5 is nearly identical for about 80% of the price. However, that gap has closed in the used market with both cars costing roughly the same. As such, it's really a toss up.

The M6 coupe may be best for those looking for performance. However, if you're set on 4-doors then the M6 performance benefits begin the fade away. The heavier F06 M6 likely doesn't have much of an edge over the F10 M5. Point is - each BMW has something slightly different to offer, but the M5 and M6 are too close to say one is better than the other. At least in our opinion.

That said, pick an M5 vs M6 on your personal preferences. It may simply come down to which one looks better or which one is easier to purchase in your local market. The M5 and M6 are both excellent cars that offer impressive power, handling, and driving experiences.

What's your experience with the M5 or M6? Are you considering one?

Drop a comment and let us know!

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