The new M5 has full ‘xDrive’ all-wheel drive and an uprated version of it’s existing 4.4-litre TwinPower turbo V8 producing 600hp. This is a proper BMW M super-saloon. This is a car that I have been looking forward to seeing for a while, it was at the Frankfurt show but have you seen how far you had to walk to the BMW stand. We gave up! I have owned a couple of M5’s in the past and I loved them but when I heard that BMW had gone to X Drive I knew I had to have a look.

The M5’s roof is bare carbonfibre and the aluminium front wings and bonnet have clean lines. The M5 is also lighter than it was before partly due the roof and a lighter exhaust, although there is additional weight for the four-wheel drive system. The end result of 1,855kg is acceptable for an executive saloon.

The 4.4-litre V8 with a pair of turbos is the most familiar thing about the M5. There is 553lb ft available from 1,800rpm all the way to 5,600rpm and 600hp from 5,600rpm. These numbers are close enough to it’s biggest competitors the E63s Merc and the RS6 Audi, though now I feel the RS6 is all but eclipsed by these two heavy weights.

The turbos spool quickly and it all sounds good, a kind of deep base rumble at slower speeds with something akin to a high pitched scream at the higher revs. Luckily there’s a quiet run button for the exhaust for late-night arrivals and early morning starts, and when you’ve been pressing on a bit, it’ll spit and crackle for you, all in all rather good. This power translates into 0-62mph in 3.4secs and a limited 155mph top speed (189 if you pay more for the ‘Driver’s Package’ which raises the limiter).

BMW has gone all-wheel drive for the M5, with the ability to switch the bias between front and back and crucially to turn off the power to the front wheels. The ‘xDrive’ is a rear-biased system, so the M5 seems rear-wheel drive for most of the time. Up the ante and you’ll get some understeer, quickly caught at the front to straighten the car. This can be particularly helpful you are travelling quickly down an unknown road. Traction is quite excellent. This while a transfer case pushes torque to the front and back and between the axles, and the torque is split between the two rear wheels.

The DCT twin clutch system of the previous F10 car has been ditched for a more conventional 8 speed torque converter auto with a sequential paddle shift and though it hasn’t the instantaneous responses to be found on the DCT system, it is v close and in traffic particularly good making it worth the sacrifice—–probably!!

Perhaps overall there are too many modes and settings, meaning that you have work on the best combination for you. However you do get two red ‘M1’ and ‘M2’ buttons on the top of the steering wheel where you can store your preferred settings. Use them and you get your previously stored choice of xDrive, DSC, engine, transmission, damper and steering choices. In short a well polished car that can be the luxury cruiser one minute and the racer the next.

Job done then, well done BMW and I definitely want one!!


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