BMW’s newest M5 couples 600 horsepower with all-wheel drive to deliver a true Ultimate Driving Machine experience, blogs Road Test Editor Howard Walker
I’m channeling my inner Tom Cruise. No, not the TC in tighty-whities and cotton socks, bopping to Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock n Roll in Risky Business. This is action-man Cruise in full Ethan Hunt mode, at the helm of a 600-horsepower ‘18 BMW M5, slippin’, slidin’ and char-grilling rubber on the streets of Paris in the latest Mission Impossible romp, Fallout.
The amazing thing here; any heart-pounding adrenaline rush you might experience watching Cruise hurl the Beemer through turn after Parisian turn, out-running the bad guys, can be easily replicated. Simply charge $104,595 to your Amex Centurion, press the ‘start’ button, and floor it!
The way this new M5 lunges off the line, dispatching the benchmark 0-to-60 mph dash in a neck-distorting 2.8 seconds – pretty much the same time as a McLaren 720S supercar; the way it punches a hole in the atmosphere all the way up to its 163 mph V-max. Just breathtaking. Literally. It’s what happens when you shoe-horn a testosterone-fueled twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 – did I mention it packs a 600-horsepower punch? – under the hood, and hook it up to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic that shifts gears faster than you can flick on a light bulb.
Yes, M5s have always been crazy-fast. The 2005 iteration with that screamin’ 500-horse V10 verged on insanity. But where this latest version really breaks the mold is that it’s the first to come with all-wheel drive. As standard. And the beauty of this is that those white-coated BMW engineers have calibrated the system so that for most of the time, pretty much all of that power gets channeled to the rear wheels. As any enthusiast will tell you, 600 horsepower and rear-wheel drive equals Big Fun.
The difference here is that when things get a little out of hand, or a little squirrelly at the back, chunks of the V8’s muscley 553 poundfeet of torque get channeled to the front wheels, and order is restored. If you have a degree in computer sciences, you can even program-in one of five settings in the M5’s iDrive system to vary the degree of torque split. But I never studied computer science at MIT, so it baffled me. I left the car to its own devices. And, it never disappointed.
In reality you really need a racetrack to stretch the envelope of the M5’s true handling capabilities. On a regular fast, twisty back road, the BMW obediently goes where it’s pointed, attacking corners with laser-like precision and changing direction like a spooked gecko. Talk of understeer or oversteer is meaningless! The sheer brilliance of the car’s suspension tuning, the precision and feel of its steering, the awesome stopping power of the car’s cross-drilled ceramic brakes, for me, makes this new M5 worthy of the description ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’. It’s the best, most usable M5 ever.
See it in the metal and the car certainly doesn’t shout about its sporting pedigree. At a quick glance, it looks like pretty much like any other 5-Series with big rims. That said, the Marina Bay Blue Metallic paint of our test car would spin heads like Clooney at a Costco!
Me, I love its stealthy subtlety and the way small details speak of the car’s latent muscularity. The huge air-ingesting intakes beneath those chrome-edged kidney grilles. The discreet M5 badging behind the front wheels and on the trunk lid. The quartet of big-bore tailpipes sprouting from the rear bumper. But trust me; anyone who knows cars, is not mistaking this projectile for anything other than a BMW M5.
Inside, the cabin is a masterpiece of quality, top-notch materials and best-of-the-best fit and finish. Sitting in the multi-adjustable front sports seats is like being held in a John Cena body lock. And still no one else produces instruments and dials with the clarity and size of BMW.
Of course, you’ll need to go through the formality of checking-out the opposition; the $88,500 Cadillac CTS-V with its tire-melting 630 pound-feet of torque. The $105,400 AWD Mercedes-AMG E63 S with its mythical 603-horsepower twin-turbo AMG V8. Maybe even the $123,000 Tesla Model S P100D with its Ludicrous performance.
But the M5 offers true all-round, everyday brilliance, exhilaration and excitement. It’s nothing less than a true Cruise Missile. For more BMW M5 Cruise Missile info and other weaponry in its arsenal, please visit https://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/m-models/m5.html