Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It's quite common for graphic designers to borrow ideas, shapes or lines from nature. It's also common for inventors to do the same thing. It's clear that the shape of the humble wing fitted to every plane ever made, was taken from the wing of every bird ever born. The same goes for the inventor of the articulated or 'bendy' bus. He or she must have seen a snake and, rather than running away in fear, decided to notice that long things that bend in the middle can go round corners a lot more easily than rigid things.

Sadly, time has a habit of ruining trends or fashions. Designers and inventors decided to use science and maths to base their ideas on, rather than nature. But when the designers at BMW decided to revive the 6 series, they looked at nature. Or, to put it more accurately, decided to visit the shark tank at their local aquarium. They saw that the shark had a very hydrodynamic shape, and that this would help their new car go fast. But no matter how shapely or hydrodynamic the car is, it isn't going to go fast without power.

The 630ci and the 645ci, with 3 litre and 4.5 litre engines respectively, are not going to set one's trousers on fire, with extreme speed. It's the M6 that does the trouser burning. The Jaws inspired frontal styling on the less sporty models was toned down for the golf club car park. But the M6 has frontal styling turned up for the racetrack. The huge chin spoiler, the flared wheel arches and the trademark BMW double grilles are all from the meat-eating shark. But no shark has ever come with a 5 litre V10 engine under it's leathery hide. 

Even though the V10 is also used in the M5 sedan, the M6 is faster, simply because there is a lot less weight to pull around. But there are a few areas in which the M6 becomes a land beast, as opposed to a fast, underwater carnivore. The styling at the back is more obese duvet, than sleek sea-creature. There are way too many settings for the interior seats and the iDrive computer. There is an insanely complicated gearbox with 11 settings, and there are three power settings for the engine. Why? Can't it be on permanent 507 maximum horsepower mode? There are also 3 settings for the differential, which will mean many trips to the BMW dealer for costly repairs. But apart from these setbacks, the M6 is a true monster. But only when set up correctly.