When I was younger and had nowhere near the money to be even imagining such things, the E60 M5 with its high-revving V-10 was the business. Wrapped in one of the tighter 5-series bodies BMW ever made, it had the right amount of sleeper looks and devilishness beneath the hood.
That’s no surprise. That’s the usually formula for the M5. It was BMW’s somewhat attainable ‘halo car’ — it showed the faithful what the brand was capable of doing.
The F10 M5, the one that followed the E60 and ended production 2017, was unfortunately in many BMW fans’ eyes, kaput. Some thought of it like an oversized sled on wheels. The F10 used the same platform as the 7-Series F01, which in turn was the same platform used for the Rolls Royce Ghost, just to give you an idea of its size. The steering was heavy, the car was heavy, and it had a turbo-charged engine. Blasphemy.
Enter the all-new, 2018 M5. Totally redesigned from the ground up, with a new stomping engine (although still turbocharged), and gasp, all wheel drive. But, these are good things.
All-wheel drive — yes it’s there, but it’s entirely defeatable and great. With it engaged, you’re still more rearward biased, but it’s using all four wheels to launch this Bavarian rocket — hitting 0-60 in a blistering 3.1 seconds, according to BMW. Now for the racers out there you can in the M mode settings put the M5 in total rear-wheel drive mode for your drifting pleasure.
Basically with this all-wheel drive system there are lots of advantages here (including tons of practicality in cold weather regions), with improved performance and only a marginal weight penalty, as far as I can see.
The heart of the M5 is the twin-turbocharged V-8, an evolution of the motor found in the previous generation. Here the 4.4-liter V-8 pumps out a robust 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. The power comes on fast, especially in an aggressive M2 setting, and if you’re not careful and decide to mash the right pedal, the back wheels *will* peel out and your back end will fishtail (as Rick Newman discovered in the video above).
Complaints? People, especially those finicky BMW aficionados, love the fact that the M5 has and should be something of a sleeper car – meaning the general public doesn’t really know the performance the car brings. Well this M5 looks smart, and is handsome, but doesn’t really give you that look that this car has insane performance lurking underneath.
To each his own I suppose, but in this world of badge-envy people paying over $100,000 (price as tested here was $129,795) for a sports sedan do want it to look more dramatic, more special, than your run-of-the-mill 5-series. Thankfully for those inclined, there are any number of aftermarket body kits and tuners that can take your M5 to German touring car spec.
BMW’s M5 is better than ever. Did BMW need to improve its halo car, their Corvette if you will? Well, if you call yourself the Ultimate Driving Machine, you better have a car that lives and breathes that motto.