The BMW M5 still makes its position as the benchmark, even after three generations, more the 35,000 sales and countless attempts by competitors to emulate its performance and success. 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 BMW M5 pushes that envelope even further with the first V10 engine to power a production sedan. The new V10 produces 500 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. 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.
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 rpm. 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.
Power is transmitted through the world’s first production car seven-speed sequential gearbox with Drivelogic, changing gears 20 per cent faster than the previous generation SMG transmission. The gearbox offers eleven different change patterns, six of which allow the drive to vary the speed and response of gear change in the manual selection mode and five in the automatic mode. The sixth pattern in manual is reserved for the Launch Control function, giving the driver the fastest possible acceleration from standstill. The top speed may be limited but with the speedometer reaching all the way to 205 mph, the mind conjures intriguing possibilities.
The new M5 also features a new DSC traction control system specifically developed for the car. Offering three settings, the default mode offers drivers the high levels of performance and stability you would expect of a car wearing the ‘M’ badge. But by pressing the DSC button once the car reverts to M Dynamic Mode to allow an enthusiastic driver the ability to push the M5 to the absolute limits of traction, even permitting some sideslip and countersteering. If the DSC button is pressed again and held down DSC is completely disengaged.
Assisting further with performance the BMW M5 also comes with an MDrive button on the steering wheel, offering a one-touch function that changes the settings on the car to an enhanced sporting character. This set-up is formatted via iDrive with the owner choosing the preferred SMG, Electronic Damper Control and DSC modes and, if specified, the rate of support the Active Seat Control side bolsters offer. Once programmed, the driver just presses the MDrive button on the steering wheel to transform the character of the M5.
The function of the standard fit Head-up Display is also altered when the MDrive button is activated. The default setting sees speed, navigation instructions, check control messages and cruise control settings projected onto the windscreen in the driver’s line of sight. However, if MDrive is activated the display changes to a rev counter including vehicle speed that both flash at the driver when the next gear needs to be selected.
While the chassis, suspension and steering of the M5 are based on the design of the 5 Series, almost all components are new. The M5 also features a variable M differential lock that offers a high level of driving stability and traction, especially when accelerating out of high-speed corners. Stopping power in the M5 is also enhanced courtesy of a high performance braking system with cross-drilled ventilated discs and twin-piston callipers. 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.