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You can play on the porch with the puppies, or you can run in the yard with the dogs.

I’ve wheeled out this analogy in a variety of heated debates. Moped v motorbike. Beatles v Rolling Stones. Now I am using it to illustrate the division in modern menfolk. In the pink corner we have the metrosexuals, and in the blue corner we have the men. Just not very many of them.

Even Superman has gone sensitive. In fact, I realised just how weary I was when the only male characters in the movies who tickled my fancy were in Brokeback Mountain.

Yes, that’s right, I got turned on by two gay cowboys. But what is the world coming to when two huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ and kissin’ cowboys are more butch than a superhero?

The chances are, if you are reading this road test, then you have petrol pumping through your veins already, which immediately puts you in the man camp, miles away from those deeply unsexy metrosexuals. Or you’re a lady petrolhead like me, which means you like proper men not sissy boys.

But the good news is that apparently we are on the verge of a ‘menaissance’. It’s all terribly exciting and the word on the street is we’re looking at a return to raw, old-fashioned manliness.

Professor Harvey C Mansfield has published a book called Manliness, which is an intellectual call to arms for men to reassert their power and identity, encouraging them to recapture the old manly values we used to love such as decisiveness and assertiveness.

Then there is the abundance of ‘fratire’: I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell by Tucker Max, Real Men Don’t Apologize by Jim Belushi, and The Alphabet of Manliness by George Ouzounian.

I am thinking of penning my own tome, called ‘Why Metrosexuals Ming’ and I would include a whole chapter on ‘why men look gay in convertibles.’ Unless, that is, they are driving the BMW M6 Convertible. Because the M6 Convertible is without doubt the manliest cabriolet in the world.

Actually, it’s the only truly manly cabrio on the market today - you wouldn’t get any Eurotrashy peter Stringfellow-style poseurs in this bad boy, because they just wouldn’t get it. It is too understated, and it’s masculine in a confident, louche kind of way and it doesn’t scream, ‘look at me, I have a tiny willy!’

Imagine the BMW 650i got arrested, did some bird and then came back a lean, mean fighting machine. But without the dodgy tear tats.

Or if you’re being unimaginative think M6 Coupe with the roof chopped off, because from the door handles down, the styling on the M6 Convertible is identical. It’s also got the same multi-layer roof as the regular 6-Series Convertible, with the retractable glass rear window, that works at speeds of up to 20mph.

But the M-styling does the business. Unapologetic, assertive and decisive. In Alpine white as on our launch car it looks a little bit wide boy, but in a sexy, Ray Winstone way rather than in a chavvy way.

The white also really emphasises the flared side-sills, bulging wheelarches, and makes the typical M-division quad exhaust pipes (with the diffuser and flaps on either side to improve aerodynamics) stand out. My favourite design feature on M cars is always the wheels, and these 19-inch, light-alloy, M doublespoke options are wheel nirvana. 

And because the M-division know that their customers - who are largely British by the way - will drive those glorious wheels right off the M6 Convertible, there are all the usual reinforcements to compensate for the lack of roof, plus additional stiffening on the underfloor, and important stuff like the suspension and bulkhead have also been strengthened.

They’ve even reinforced the engine supports to cradle the jewel in BMW’s crown and surely one of the best engines available today, the F1-inspired, naturally aspirated, five-litre V10.

This high-revving, award-winning hunk of heaven is lifted straight out of the M5 saloon and M6 coupe and produces 500 gee-gees and 383lb ft of torque at over 6,000rpm.

But the M5 and M6 have got metal lids on them. Can you imagine what this engine sounds like at full chat, especially when you are sitting in the driver’s seat of the M6 Convertible with the roof down?

Holy shit, man. It’s off the hook how genius it sounds. It’s Chitty Chitty Gang Bang, Forest Hump and When Harry Ate Sally - pornography for the eardrums. The sound could start its own menaissance.

Send a boy through a long tunnel behind the wheel of an M6 Cabrio, tell him to drop it to second and then boot it, and his testicles would drop in a nanosecond.

You would also have a teenage joyrider on your hands because he would have pressed that M button with unconstrained glee, raised the power from 395bhp to full beans 500bhp mode, and be making like Schuey and working his way up and down the SMG seven-speed transmission with its 11 different shift patterns.

Impressively, although it weighs over two tonnes and is a whopping 220kg more than the coupe, this car still goes like the clappers. In fact, with a 0-62mph time of just 4.8 seconds, it is only 0.4 seconds slower than the standard M6.

And you know what? It feels even more mental to be going so fast alfresco. People just don’t expect to be overtaken by a convertible - they look at you as though they have just been burnt up by a tractor. I never thought I would ever say this about a convertible, but the M6 truly is a car for people who love driving. I had an absolute riot - it is so much fun to drive.

The steering feels nigh on perfect, and the amount of grip and stability at high speed is simply staggering. But it would take bigger balls than I have [technically none then - Ed] to deactivate the DSC and hammer it.

That said, the M6 Convertible definitely brought out my inner man. I blame the primal sound of the engine. And that’s why I found myself smoking cigars and talking exhaust notes with the M-division’s Dr Ulrich Brunke late into the night while all the other motoring writers had scurried off to bed.

Like I said, you can play on the porch with the puppies or you can run in the yard with the dogs. The M6 Convertible? Woof woof.

Emma Parker Bowles

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