TEST DRIVE: BMW M5 – OMG!

I test drove an BMW M5 a long while back (I have a backlog of overdue updates for this blog…).

It started in a very dramatic way. Before handing over the wheel to me, the salesman did a loooong drift on the off-ramp of the motorway. He kept the car sideways for the entire 270 degree turn with the rear tires totally lit up… After these heroics, it was my turn to drive the car.

Engine

There is no other way to start this review, but to comment on the engine. With 560hp it is the most powerful car I have driven. The acceleration is brutal on the motorway and overtaking, on secondary roads, is a breeze. If you are really looking for it, you can feel a little turbo lag at low revs, but it is barely noticeable.

The sound of the engine is fabulous. It has a system that enhances the sound (Active Sound Design, ASD) which is rather controversial among car enthusiasts. But, to my ears, it sounds lovely and much better than the Bentley Continental GT V8 (see my review here, in Swedish).

How is it on the twisty stuff?

The weight, 1945 kg, is rather high, but some of the competing cars weigh more: 1995 kg for the outgoing Panamera GTS, or 2070 kg for the new Panamera Turbo. The Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG also weights more. The car masks it weight very well though, and it turns in sharply, which is a trait I have come to like a lot.

Interior

I really like the possibility to customise the different settings for the drivetrain, dampers, etc, separately, something I miss in my Macan. You can save two different sets of settings, which can be selected directly with their respective buttons (M1 and M2) on the steering wheel. It is very convenient to be able to change the character of the car with the press of a button on the steering wheel, instead of down on the centre console. Ferrari does this with the Manettino on the steering wheel; Aston Martin has buttons on the steering wheel as well. This is something I missed in the Porsches, which have not received a similar system until the recently released 991 mk2 (read my review here).

The head-up display is also very useful. In M-mode it shows speed, gear and a graphical representation of the rev counter and a shift light indicator.

Final words

As an everyday car the M5 is an enticing proposition. You could drive it daily as you would drive a 520d, the only drawback being tyre noise (you can read my review of the 520d here, in Swedish).

Would I like to own one? Yes for sure, but I am not sure it is an entirely practical proposition as a family car for us. We need to take the car to the mountains to go skiing, and a massively powerful, turbocharged, rear wheel drive car, might not be the best option. The next M5, which will be based on the new 5-series (that was introduced a couple of weeks ago) will have the option of 4WD, which adds a lot of practicality.

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