Hello fellow drivers, I usually post about the M5 E39 but this time I will let it slide and post about the M6 G-Power.
On late Thursday evening I was biking past a good friend’s apartment building in Riga, Latvia, when I unexpectedly see him outside, unpacking stuff from his M6 into an Opel. He immediately tells me he’s packing for TransAlp mountain bike race and that he is heading to the Alps in the morning. He asks me to come along. I ask him about the transportation– It would be the Opel and I’d be riding bitch (the rear middle seat) all ~30 hours to Austria. I tell him “Hell NO, but I tell you what– I’ll go if I take your M6.”…. He asks “Why not your M5?” … I reply “Because I’ve already gone 300km/h with the M5, and now I wanna go 350km/h”. With M6 keys in my hand I start making next day preparations.
I called Elina at midnight and convinced her to drop work for a week in the last minute, and come with me in the morning on the spontaneous road trip.
The route to Italy through Autobahn and Alps.
Next morning, I take the car to the tire shop for inspection because when on the Autobahn, for extended periods of time we’ll be holding speeds greater than airplanes take off from. I had them replace the rims/tire setup– install back the G-Power rims and 300km/h+ rated tires. The existing “winter” tire setup was W-rated, only allowing 270km/h, plus it’s summer.
I was a little anxious there might be some issues with the M6 found during inspection that prevents me from the last minute road trip, but better to be safe than sorry. Everything checked out nicely.
While passing trucks on the Polish highways the machine went into fail-safe mode with reduced power. Initially worried, to check in on the situation, I pulled off the polish highway and let the car sit for a bit while I Google’d the Forums of vast BMW M6 knowledge. With no clear explanation in sight, and appearing that it’s idling and driving quite fine with the reduced power due to Engine Fault Mode, I made the decision NOT to turn around, and keep driving towards the Autobahn. It later turned out the G-Power air filters were fairly clogged and were causing the errors, but I only got that settled once I got back home many thousands of km later.
Fueling up in Warsaw, Poland. Just got to the Polish ‘bahn and now getting ready for some nice cruising to Berlin. The stretch from Riga to Warsaw is a slow one going through many Polish towns and construction sites– the highway is coming soon, they are building it now, but from Warsaw to Berlin it’s good cruising.
We crashed at a friend’s place in Berlin and next morning we were on the Autobahn heading towards Munich.
I was told the M6 eats oil and although I topped it off in Latvia, I got the Low Oil indicator on the Autobahn and was forced to pull off in search of fuel and oil.
Quite mediocre picture and speed. Moving about half speed, half rpm, half temp, only halfway there.
Munich 332KM with the “speed limit cancelled” signs coming up. These white signs with 3 lines across means that the speed limit is lifted (or dropped?) and you can floor the pedal to the metal, legally. It’s a very liberating feeling to be “released” into the open.
Drove all evening on the Autobahn to Munich. The Autobahn is much more of a dream than a reality. For most, who have never been, it’s a place in a fairy tale land where one can drive all day as fast as one wishes, but that’s quite different from the truth.
Truth is that the Autobahn is full of traffic because Germany is very densely populated. The usual situation is that traffic slows you down by getting in the left lane in order to pass other slower drivers, but passing so at 200km/h or even as low as 150km/h, while one is coming up on them (in the left lane) at 280km/h+ while slamming the brakes.
Weather kills the joy, too. During rain (logically so) the speed limit is raised on most unlimited stretches, forcing you back to reality.
Construction is another thing no one imagines when thinking of the Autobahn. Large sections are always under construction, causing heavy traffic and long waits, while slowing everyone down to 50km/h vmax.
It’s quite impossible to enjoy the scenery and drive at 300km/h. At 300km/h the eyes have laser focus on the road, and everything around seems like a blur while one keeps searching the horizon for cars that might get in the way. After hours at 250km/h (150mph) one welcomes a construction zone, because finally one is forced to go 50km/h and can finally relax, take the hands of the wheel and move around, read up on any instrument panel Christmas tree stories, etc. It’s welcomed after a good sprint. The problem is that construction zones are too frequent.
Passed through Munich, filled up the tank, got lost for 30 minutes (with navigation) in the confusing tunnels downtown, where the roads run above and below ground in parallel. Took to the Autobahn 95 out of Munich towards the Alps, specifically Nauders, Austria. The A95 is quite twisty and there’s no street lights, yet numerous cars are driving at 250km/h into the darkness. The light high beams don’t reach far enough at 250km/h. It’s quite dangerous, and it baffles my mind that Germany lets people move at these speeds at nights. A lot of responsibility is required by the people to allow such speeds.
Nauders really impressed me, it is beautiful, rural and yet civilized. Hens and chickens run around historic apartment buildings on the Alpine hillside, while farmers drive their tractors and mow all the grass on all the surrounding slopes. Here people don’t waste a single square meter, everything is cultivated. The tractors can’t turn around on the slopes or they’d tip over so they are driven up and backed down in same tracks.
Nauders is one of those tranquil places that left a good impression.
===== The Stelvio Pass =====
Yes, yes, yes. I woke up in Livigno and realized “Waaaiiiit?… I must be close to Stelvio Pass!”. Checked the maps and there it was, little over one hour away, so we started moving towards Stelvio. It’s a fantastic place, terrific people, I wish I had some property there, so fantastic they should build a wall to keep people out… jokes aside, it’s another one of those life’s to-do list check boxes one needs to check off.
Each road has the right mode of transportation and for Stelvio it is the bicycle in my opinion.
I drove up 3 bicycles to the top of Stelvio, then gave the keys to the ladies (they protested driving down such narrow roads with Manual transmission but they didn’t have a choice), while the other three of us jumped on the bikes and rolled down all the way. It’s about 22 km pure downhill all the way to Bormio, Italy from Stelvio Pass’ top. No need to pedaling for ~30 minutes. Stelvio is too narrow and too curvy for cars to get up to any enjoyable speed and way too much traffic. Being one of the greatest driving roads is greatest on a bicycle.
Speeds of 70km/h on a mountain bike were reached, while being careful and those with road bicycles went even faster. Biking down Stelvio was the most amazing thing I’ve done on a bicycle, period.
That’s us, after biking down Stelvio. The smile on my face lasted all evening. Unfortunately no Go-Pro’s were mounted on the bicycles to show the joy, but there’s plenty of videos of bicycles down Stelvio on YouTube.
Next day it was time to conquer Stelvio Pass with our own strengths, to bike up to the top and then roll down. We had never done such long continuous up-hill on a bicycle. We pedaled up for about two hours in the lower gear and reached the top of Stelvio.
On the way down we “raced” two black 911’s with bicycles into the sunset. They were not going much faster due to the narrow road and curves, and probably at some points just slowing down for us because we got in front of them.
Next day it was time to move on from Bormio, Italy, back to Austria and towards the Autobahn. The chosen path ( of course ) was across Stelvio Pass into Austria.
Enjoying some coffee at the top of Stelvio Pass, while getting quick work done on the laptop. Never thought I’d be chasing down programmers over phone and email at Stelvio Pass, while that’s cool, it’s much cooler to unplug and suck in the experience.
Coming down the north side of Stelvio Pass, it’s even longer than the south-side towards Bormio. There’s so many hairpin turns that one gets quite tired of them, seems like endless dizziness on the way down.
As we entered Germany, something funny happened– even though it’s Schengen Zone, there’s a police car on the Austria to Germany border. As we pass the polizei wagen, I look in the mirror and see him pull out from the side of the road and speed up. Next, he’s behind me in the left lane, there’s only two options now- I’m in his way or I’m guilty. There’s really not enough space for me in the right lane, but I squeeze in anyway. The polizei squeezes in right behind me and so I start looking for a place to pull over because I’m apparently guilty of something– I know Germany has banned Gumball Rally, and it has not been back since mass arrest of all Gumball cars in 2007. The M6 has GUMBALL license plates. Then I see in the rear view mirror that the cop is doing something with his hands, which gets me confused. The polizei pulls up to the left of me, mirror by mirror, and that’s when I realize they are taking pictures of the car and he’s holding his phone. Both smile and proceed to give thumbs up. That means they know of Gumball Rally, they know G-Power, and they know what I will do on their Autobahn. The seal of approval was very nice. Many thumbs up received that day actually, the Germans know their cars. While in traffic around sunset time, a dad in his 60s with his Benz fully loaded with wife, kids and house trailer in tow, rolled all his windows down on the Benz to hear the M6’s exhaust. I revved it for him. There was a sight of satisfaction in his face. Came also across couple M’s, but there was little space at those times to play.
We happened to be driving through Munich right as the terror attacks happened in July, we didn’t hear the bullets or find out until on the Autobahn, leaving Munich. There were dozens and dozens of police cars flying toward Munich with sirens on. 3 dozen police cars later I opened ZeroHedge to check the news and there it was. I did not count, but we saw well over 100 police cars on the A9 toward Munich.
The traffic was heavy on the A9 and I thought I was done exercising the Unlimited Speed privilege. The BMW navigation was reporting 2 hour 30 min delay in traffic, or an alternative route of additional 220km through the A73. I figured- I just want to keep moving, so I take the 200+km detour. Turns out while the A9 is jam packed, the A73 from Nuremberg to A4 is near completely empty on a Friday night, and A73 is of the unlimited kind. The A9 and other main route Autobahns are congested, but here on the roads less traveled it is clear.
While I was driving on the quite empty and curvy A73 Autobahn doing 270-280km/h, a traffic polizei who was chilling on the side of the road, decided to pull out on Autobahn, right in front of me. I got worried because there’s no one around, so it must be me he’s pulling out for… and this is the traffic police… I decided to slow down to only 200km/h while passing them, because it feels so wrong to blow by traffic police at 200km/h (that just pulled out from side of the road).
The vast majority of people on earth without the privilege of living next to the on-ramp of Autobahn type Unlimited, have their whole driving lives been programmed that the cost of the privilege of passing a Police car at 200+km/h means definite visit to Police station and couple thousand $$$$ paid for exercising such right. Aware of such consequences, I get an adrenaline rush.
The Traffic Polizei 2016 Benz E-class Touring gets behind me, follows me at minimum safe distance, as I’m driving at 200km/h. I start looking around, thinking “maybe I missed some sign”… One just does not have time to read all the signs at 280km/h. This section of the Autobahn is also quite curvy, really pulling into the turns at 200km/h+. The Polizei is definitely pushing the Benz as well.
Faced with dilemma now- Keep slowing down below 200km/h on an unlimited section makes me look guilty, so I start climbing back up to 250km/h going into some pretty strong turns. At 250km/h I look into rear view mirror and see the Polizei is still minimum safe distance from the the M6. I think about the situation for a second, clear the turn, downshift into 6th gear, spool up the superchargers to ~7000rpm, keep it there for a while to make sure pressure is there and then punch it. The machine puts you back in the seat at 250km/h, I feel the pull. I see the Polizei becoming smaller and smaller in the mirror quite fast, and shortly even on the straightaway the Polizei and I have both disappeared entirely from each others views.
Driving at 300km/h+
The M6’s fuel tank is relatively small. Fuel stops happen all too often on the Autobahn due to fuel consumption at high speeds. I filled up 4 times full tank between Salzburg and Berlin, even though I drove mostly moderate due to heavy traffic. At 300km/h the fuel consumption is above 30liters/100km and you’re doing 300km/h, meaning the fuel tank is empty in ~45 minutes at 300km/h.
Berlin was interesting. Woke up in the morning and there’s a LGBT parade on the street we are staying on, guys with their schlongs out jumping around between passing women that are wearing burkas. I won’t post the photos here in order to keep it PG.
Autobahn der Freiheit.
These are posted on the Autobahn when approaching a national border. This is the sign leaving Germany. It’s a sad sign because Autobahn is ending in couple km. Entering Germany the same sign feels like a very warm welcome.
Every so many KM on the Polish Bahn there are these rather large rest stops. It appears as if someone used CTRL+C and CTRL+V all the way from the German border to Warsaw. This is one such stop. We ate bunch of things McDonalds sells and although I’d like to say “It was just like America”, it wasn’t.. This was actually better. They are also getting rid of all the employees and replacing them with touch-screen ordering machines and I used the machines, because the machines speak English to me, the employees do not…
The rotors ended up warping on the trip and the brake shimmer became significant by the time we got home. Check engine light went on & etc gremlins popped out. M6 ended with whole bunch of stuff getting fixed after Autobahn. Shiny new rotors and 2-3 days of other labor tasks.
The service center Mriepas.lv did the work. After picking up the car, later they called and asked if there are any “but this isn’t right”, there were none. Rarely there is a job done at a service center where everything is 100% fine when leaving.