ON THE ROAD: 2018 BMW M5

How quick is the new M5?

Exceptionally nimble. It basically has more than a second on the previous model (F10) when it comes to take-off. As you can see, our 0 – 100km/h sprint test figures match those claimed by BMW, which is a rare occurrence. And these were achieved in Johannesburg where the air is thin because of the high altitude, which affects pretty much every car’s performance. The new M5 goes about as quick as a Porsche 911 GTS and will show the previous-generation Ferrari 430 dust on a straight line.

That’s very quick. What is the secret?

We believe it is several things, but mainly a combination of three factors stands out. Firstly, BMW has upped the power from the old car’s 412kW to 441kW. It may not look significant, but every kiloWatt counts. Torque is significantly up though – from 680Nm to 750Nm – which makes a hell of a difference. Secondly, the car is a bit lighter, by some 15kg. Last but certainly not least is the inclusion of M xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD), which gives it excellent grip upon take-off. Previous M5s have been somewhat hampered when it came to that, despite enhancements like limited slip differentials and so on.

Did the xDrive affect its fun factor?

Not at all. The system can be adjusted to only use the standard 20-inch rear wheels – by pushing a red button written M2 in our test unit. So that does give it the old fear factor. But even in full AWD mode the M5 exhibits incredible grip from those Michelin Pilot Sport4 S 285/ 35 ZR 20 rear and 275/ 35 ZR 20 front tyres, combined with enough slide leeway not to put you in danger. The DSC does not intervene too early. In addition, steering feel is highly accurate. Most impressive of all is how easy the new M5 is to drive daily.

Explain

Generally BMW M cars are set up more on the harsher side in terms of their suspension systems. Obviously this is because they are performance-focused. The M5 features an electronically-adjustable suspension that gives it unprecedented levels of comfort. There are three modes; Efficient, Sport, and Sport Plus. Even in Sport Plus you don’t feel bumps and uneven roads excessively. Steering is also quite noticeably supple. While some may dislike the fat steering wheel, it didn’t bother me. I do however, wish BMW would consider more sticky leather, or even some Alcantara for cover.

Your favourite features?

Because there are so many, I’ll highlight only a handful. That steering wheel is lovely, with the two red M buttons that make it look like a racing car’s. The updated iDrive infotainment system attached to the optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system with a 26cm touch screen and a new menu layout is even easier to use that it was before. Our car came with Gesture Control, which allows driver to adjust things like sound volume simply by drawing small invisible circles in the air near the touch screen in either direction. ConnectedDrive is always a hoot, especially the Live Traffic updates and Concierge service. I’m not a big fan of the new gear lever though; it does not feel as sweet to the left hand as its predecessor. We also had rear seat entertainment consisting of two 25.9cm colour screens and a remote control unit, which the kids would absolutely love.

The king is back?

With a bang! In a world where practicality has become just as important as performance, the brand new BMW M5 has suddenly become the epitome of what the iconic BMW M brand stands for. It runs with super cars, while carrying five occupants and their luggage in supreme comfort. Simultaneously the price is quite fair for everything you receive in return. What’s not to worship?

QUICK STATS

 

BMW M5

ENGINE: 4.4-litre, V8 twin turbo petrol

POWER: 441kW / 600PS between 5 600rpm and 6 700rpm; 750Nm between 1 800rpm and 5 600rpm

0 – 100KM/H: 3.3 seconds

GEARBOX: 8-speed automatic

DRIVE: All-wheel-drive (xDrive)

TOP SPEED: 250km/h

FUEL AVERAGE:  15.3 l/100km

CO2 e: 241 g/km

 

PRICE STANDARD: R1 747 500

NATURAL RIVALS: Audi RS 7 Sportback, Mercedes-Benz E 63 (not sold in Mzansi), Porsche Panamera Turbo

*PRICE RIVALS: Maserati Ghibli, Porsche 911 Carrera 4S

BABE-MAGNETIC FACTOR: Very High

 

*A price rival falls within R30 000 or so of the subject’s price on either side of its price spectrum for cars over R350 000, R20 000 for cars of between R250 000 and R350 000 and R10 000 for cars below R250 000.

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