Recently had the absolute pleasure of driving the BMW M5 around the track at Kyalami. The ever popular M5 can be likened to a very fast moving business suit, according to ‘’ Domagoj Dukec, Vice President of Design BMW i and BMW M, to sum up the brief for the new M5.
Like all the models to come out of BMW M GmbH HQ in Garching, its design is M-specific and driven by function. Case in point is the the newly designed front bumper trim, with its larger air intakes, has the task of keeping the cooling systems and brakes sufficiently supplied with cooling air – even in exacting use on the race track. The car has a wider track than its predecessor, and the front side panels (made from aluminium to save weight) bear the signature M gills.
Also hewn from aluminium is the bonnet, whose precise lines carve an eye-catching sculpture and extend visually into the shaping of the roof. In an M5 first, the roof itself is made from extremely lightweight, high-strength carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP).
The rear diffuser has likewise been redesigned. Together with the side skirts, the M rear apron and M rear spoiler play their part in giving the M5 its powerfully sporting appearance, and the exterior mirrors have a dynamic, M-specific design.
The interior is extremely driver focused , as is most BMW models, but goes to another level with the M5. Control is a feature here, with all driving situations catered for. Seating 4 passengers comfortably with a cavernous boot, it offers excellent ride comfort, even on the open road.
The large digital instrument cluster from the BMW 5 Series has an M-specific design and keeps the driver informed on the driving dynamic mode, M xDrive all-wheel-drive system’s setting and Drivelogic option currently engaged. Key elements here for the sporty driver are the variable rpm pre-warning field and shift lights that show the best time to change gears when in manual shift mode. This data can also be reflected into the M-specific Head-Up Display.
Virtually all of the driving dynamic systems can be configured using the central touch display, buttons on the centre console or M sports steering wheel, and the central information display offers gesture control. The M5’s engine is stirred into life by pressing the red starter button. Among the essential features for drivers with sporting aspirations are the two red-painted M1 and M2 buttons next to the gearshift paddles on the M multifunction steering wheel, which allow drivers to configure two individual set-ups for the M5. These include their choice of M xDrive, DSC, engine, transmission, damper and steering characteristics, as well as the appearance of M view in the Head-Up Display.
The new BMW M5 can be ordered in a variety of exterior colours, some of which are reserved exclusively for the M5. New additions to the spectrum include Marina Bay Blue Metallic, an intense shade of blue.
But largely the make up of the M5 is the engine component, and a mighty engine it is after all. The new BMW M5 (fuel consumption combined: 10.5 l/100 km*; CO2 emissions combined: 241 g/km*) takes driving dynamics into a new dimension. Making its debut in the sixth generation of the high-performance sedan is the new M-specific all-wheel-drive system M xDrive. Not only does this drive system enable the M5 to reach new heights of dynamic performance, it means that it excels in terms of everyday practicality and delivers supreme poise in all driving conditions as well.
The car’s ability to juggle complete suitability for everyday use on the one hand and sheer driving pleasure and superb track performance on the other is down to the M xDrive system’s central intelligent control capability. When the engine is first started, the new BMW M5 will be in all-wheel-drive mode (4WD) with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) switched on. The driver is then able to vary the handling characteristics of the M5 by activating various driving dynamics modes, including a rear-wheel-drive mode with no DSC. In this 2WD mode, the new BMW M5 allows accomplished drivers to enjoy a pure-bred form of driving pleasure.
Hard at work under the bonnet of the new BMW M5 is the latest and most advanced version of the 4.4-litre V8 engine featuring M TwinPower Turbo technology. Output of 441 kW and peak torque of 750 Nm promise supreme propulsive power and formidable performance. The twin-turbo V8 unit propels the new M5 from 0 to 100 km/h in a mere 3.4 seconds, and the drive power falls to the new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, which teams up with the M xDrive system to transfer the high-revving engine’s turbocharged might to the road to optimum effect in all driving conditions.
The upshot of all this is that the new BMW M5 is not just the fastest of all the M5 models built since 1984, but the most nimble too. Switching to the M Dynamic mode (MDM, 4WD Sport) gives a further major boost to the car’s handling agility. Yet more drive torque is now directed to the rear axle, while the amount of permissible rear wheel slip is increased. This lets drivers put the M5 into controlled drifts and enjoy its playful handling. Going around Kyalami, you always felt in control of the M5, and cornering was a breeze.
The tyres used contribute to the handling- The tyres fitted as standard on the BMW M5 (275/40 R 19 at the front and 285/40 R 19 at the rear) have been specially selected. They are mounted on five-double-spoke cast light-alloy wheels in polished Orbit Grey (front: 9.5 J x 19, rear: 10.5 J x 19). 20-inch seven-double-spoke wheels in black or polished black are available as an option (front: 275/35 R 20, at rear: 285/35 R 20). All wheels are ZR speed rated, making them suitable for the top speed of 305 km/h achieved by the new BMW M5 with M Driver’s Package (standard version: 250 km/h).
• The new BMW M5 will go on sale in South Africa from 29 March at a basic price of R1,762,806 (includes 15% VAT and CO2 tax). The exclusively equipped First Edition costs R2,024,006.50 (includes 15% VAT and CO2 tax).
To sum up the BMW M5 is a superb M car, and deserves the title of the fastest around. It is great to drive, nimble and very fast, with superb handling. Whats not to like?