The new M5 uses the same turbo-charged V8 motor as the old car albeit, making more power and torque. Displacing 4395cc and shod with two turbo chargers, this engine produces a healthy 591bhp and 750Nm of torque. This engine features Valvetronic and direct injection which allows the motor to make huge amounts of torque at low engine speeds, and there’s 750Nm of twist from just 1800rpm. The two twin scroll turbo-chargers are also placed in the V-shaped space between the cylinder banks. These arrangements help in keeping the engine compact and reduce pipe length and help lessen pressure losses on the exhaust side of the engine.
You might want to sit down for this bit. The standing start acceleration numbers of the new BMW M5 recorded are genuinely staggering. This is a luxury car – five metres in length and weighs almost two tonnes – that outsprinted the mighty Audi R8 V10+ we tested two years back. Figures of 3.29 seconds to 100kmph, 6.36 seconds to 150kmph and 10.88 seconds to 200kmph are just staggering. These mind numbing figures are also achieved thanks to the AWD traction and the aggressive launch control system. One should also note, we do our Vbox testing with two people onboard.
The AWD system also makes this ludicrous performance accessible as the M5 has loads of grip and traction even in slippery condition. Bottom-end responses are strong and the engine truly comes into its own past 3500rpm, where you have to hold on to the steering for dear life as you speed towards the horizon. Funny thing is, that same engine is subtle at lighter loads. The accelerator pedal is calibrated with skilled judgement. The first inch of travel is gentle enough to allow smooth progress at low speeds, and the urgency from the engine builds as you dig deeper. Only when you get into the last inch of the travel, the M5 really comes alive.
The intimacy of its engine is well complemented by its dynamic abilities. Everything the M5 does – from the way it feels hunkered down while turning into a corner, to the way the powerful brakes work, and even the way it somehow finds the grip to cleanly accelerate out of a bend truly baffles you. You always know where you are with this car. And considering just how insanely fast it is, that is arguably its greatest achievement. Setting up the M5’s handling to your liking is a lengthy and tedious process. Along with three settings for the dampers, steering, gearbox and engine, it also has three different settings for the AWD drivetrain (4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD). After fiddling with different drive modes, my preferred setting was Comfort for steering and dampers, Sport + for gearbox and engine and 4WD sport for the drivetrain. With this setting I found the M5 was able to handle our less-than-perfect roads really well without getting unsettled. When you select 4WD Sport, the ESP partially deactivates and the amount of fun you can have in this big luxury sedan is unparalleled. Only once was I able to summon the courage to select 2WD, for in this mode you have to be really careful as 591 horses going only through the rear wheels with TCS off is a recipe for disaster and is best used on a racetrack.
I wasn’t expecting the M5 to have a comfortable ride but I was pleasantly surprised. The M5’s suspension is surprisingly pliant for a sports sedan. Where it is less than impeccable is when there are quick, sharp hits taken at speed, such as big potholes or drain covers, and even then, only vibrations and a thud intrudes the cabin. All in all, the ride is surprisingly good which makes it well suited to our driving environment.