It has been 20 years since the launch of the first BMW M5. After three generations, more the 35,000 sales and countless attempts by competitors to emulate its performance and success, the BMW M5 still makes its position as the benchmark. Each successive generation has extended the bounds of both performance and luxury. The last generation M5, the most successful ever, significantly pushed the performance envelope with the first V8 from BMW M, mated to a six-speed transmission.
The all-new fourth generation M5 pushes that envelope even further with the first V10 engine to power a production sedan. The new V10 produces 507 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque by European measure. This new engine is mated to a seven-speed SMG transmission. With this new powertrain the M5 offers the best power-to-weight ratio in its class. In the tradition of BMW M, the chassis has been engineered to keep up with the power while the exterior treatment is subtle, yet distinctive.
First high-revving engine to be featured in a production sedan
This is the first application of a V10 engine in a regular production sedan, if it’s possible to call any product from BMW M “regular.” It once again sets the benchmark in its class. This engine was engineered to rev, with a redline of 8,250. With 25 percent more power than the previous M5’s V8, this new engine offers 100 horsepower per liter of displacement, pure race car territory. The 90o V10 is designed for maximum stiffness and minimum vibration.
The new V10 features double-VANOS variable valve timing. Each cylinder has its own electronically controlled throttle butterfly. The new MS S65 engine management system uses the most powerful processors currently approved for use in automobiles. It has been designed specifically to deal with the V10’s high output and high revs as well as the comprehensive controls that are required.
Seven-speed SMG gearbox features Drivelogic
The driver of the new M5 is able to maximize the potential of the new V10 engine with a seven-speed SMG gearbox. Like other BMW SMG gearboxes shifts can be made from either the lever on the center console or the paddles on the steering wheel. Compared to the previous SMG, gear changes happen 20 percent faster with this latest generation SMG, making for smooth, crisp shifts.
With Drivelogic, at the driver’s disposal are eleven program options. This enables the SMG’s shift characteristics to be tailored to suit the driving situation and the mood. Six of these programs can be selected in the sequential manual gearbox mode (S mode). These programs adjust shifting speed and style because, in the S mode, the driver does all the shifting. In the Drive (D mode) the transmission shifts automatically, depending on which of the five programs is selected, the driving situation, the road speed and the position of the accelerator pedal.
Taken together the drivetrain of the new M5 provides truly awe inspiring performance. From rest 60 miles per hour will be reached in well under five seconds. The rush of acceleration never lets up until the electronically limited top speed of 155 miles per hour. The top speed may be limited but with the speedometer reaching all the way to 205 mph, the mind conjures intriguing possibilities.
The perfect blend of ride comfort and agility
The M5 has long been known for handling that matches its performance, carefully blended with impressive ride comfort. More than just a “tuned” 5 Series suspension, the aluminum suspension on the M5 has been engineered to match its performance. The suspension is mated to 19-inch wheels with performance tires. Keeping power on the road is critical, so the M5 features the Variable M differential lock. By constantly monitoring and comparing the speed of the rear wheels, the Variable M differential lock can ensure that power gets to the drive wheel with the most traction even in extreme driving situations. Its benefits are particularly apparent when accelerating out of a corner.
The Dynamic Stability Control system in the M5 has been designed to suit its performance. Of course, the DSC can be deactivated at the push of a button. The M5’s DSC also offers the choice of two driving dynamics programs. One allows DSC to function the way it always has. At the touch of a button, the M Dynamic Mode is engaged which lets DSC facilitate more spirited driving.
To ensure that this level of handling does not compromise ride quality, the new M5 features Electronic Damping Control, with three program modes (comfort, normal, sport). EDC constantly adjusts the suspension to suit the driving conditions.
To complement its performance potential, the M5 is equipped with generously sized high performance brakes with perforated compound brake discs. The aluminum twin-piston brake calipers have been designed for minimum unsprung weight and maximum stiffness. They will haul the new M5 to a stop from 62 mph (100 km/h) in under 120 feet and from 124 mph (200 km/h) in just under 460 feet.
Styling is subtle but purposeful
In the tradition of BMW M, the exterior styling of the new M5 follows the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” philosophy. The casual observer may not, at first glance, recognize the M5’s performance potential. The less casual observer instantly will. The modified front spoiler and rear apron are instant giveaways. So too are the modified side sills. The wheel arches are more prominent in order to house the generous wheel and tire package. Following BMW M’s recent traditions, the new M5 has more aerodynamic exterior mirrors, four tailpipes and exclusive wheels. Similar to the latest M3, the M5 features exclusive gills incorporated into the front fenders.
The exclusive leather interior features sports seats. Other styling touches, from the instrument cluster to the center console and the steering wheel are all unique to the M5. Even the optional head-up display is M-specific.