New BMW M5 turns the volume up
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There’s a good reason the BMW M5 has been awarded the 2018 World Performance Car award at the World Car Awards ceremony.
For a start, the sixth-generation BMW M5 is the fastest M car built, and that’s saying something.
The four-door performance sedan has a more powerful engine than the outgoing M5’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8. Now the power is 441kW, compared with 423kW, while the torque is a whopping 750Nm, an addition of 50Nm. It also gets the ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.
But the most noteworthy aspect is that the rear-wheel-drive M5 is now an AWD (or x-Drive as BMW calls it). Calm down M5 fan, it doesn’t mean the fun has gone. Instead, the fun has only just begun.
The advancements in the AWD system means the sedan can handle more challenging road conditions and drive situations without fear of the big BMW sliding.
The engine goes 0-100km/h in 3.4 sec (one second faster than the previous M5); and 0-200km/h in 11.1 sec with a top speed of 250km/h.
For Kiwi fans, the M5 starts at $199,000 with our model specced up to $206,150. Performance-wise it sits alongside the Mercedes-AMG E63 while Audi’s RS5 is also a challenger.
The first thing you need to do, when you sit in the M5, is turn the sports exhaust system on, giving you a more defining noise and a sound track for the vehicle.
The M sports exhaust system proves a dynamic sound that is modified via an integrated value mechanism. There is also sport and sport+ mode to provide more aggressive driving dynamics plus it ups the ante on the sports exhaust noise.
People can literally hear you coming.
But if you don’t want to alarm neighbours or fellow drivers, sit in comfort mode and turn off the sports exhaust system. But what would be the fun in that?
So it was off for a country ride taking in the motorway, where I sat in comfort mode, before turning on sport for the challenging winding hill climb. Having the assurance of AWD meant I could easily handle the damp bends and have a more assertive ride.
To add to the experience, I toggled through the gears via the via the steering wheel-mounted paddle-shifters, which makes for a more engaged drive than letting the vehicle do all the work through the automatic transmission.
The BMW 5 Series was Driven’s Car of the Year 2017, and the M5 gets much of the technology from that sedan, including the more refined cabin layout and more user-friendly infotainment systems.
Sure, the M5 has that 5 Series understated look at first glance, but it belies the sports performance abilities it has. If you are after a knock-out ride without drawing too much attention, this is the vehicle for you.
Price: from $199,000
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 (441kW/750Nm)
Pros: Performance plus