BMW M5 review
The BMW M5 sticks to a tried-and-tested formula of hi-tech electronics and supercar performance in a saloon package
The BMW M5 is the car that created and defined the sports saloon back in 1985. Now in its fifth generation, it continues to move the goalposts and make supercar performance accessible for the family man. With 552bhp, the twin-turbo V8-powered M5 takes fight to the naturally aspirated Mercedes E63 AMG, but it isn’t only pace that it offers in spades. It is a relaxing cruiser, too, and in Comfort mode it can soak up huge motorway miles with ease.
Our choice: BMW M5
The BMW M5 has subtle styling that's a key part of its appeal. The breathtaking performance of the four-door saloon is hinted at by a discreet bodykit, subtle M badges, 19-inch alloy wheels and huge vented brakes – if it didn't have these, you’d be forgiven for mistaking this for a 535d M Sport, for example. Inside it’s a similar story, with the same spacious cabin from the standard 5 Series. It’s a pleasing place to be, but the classy interior of a Jaguar XFR makes the German feel remarkably uninspiring.
Performance is the M5’s trump card. Acceleration is truly brutal, getting from 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds, and only stopping at 155mph when the electronic limiter cuts in. These figures mean it matches the Mercedes E63 AMG exactly, and accelerates to 62mph more than half a second faster than the Jaguar XFR. What's more, the seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox handles the power superbly, and is a huge improvement over the dated semi-automatic system on the old model. When you want it to, the M5 can deliver a truly immersive driving experience, but flick the switch to Comfort mode and the throttle response is tamed and the suspension softened, making the M5 as capable over long distances as the model it is based on.
The M5 sits bang in between the Jaguar XFR and Mercedes E63 AMG in terms of outright boot space, getting 520 litres behind the rear seats, compared to 500 litres and 540 litres respectively. However, folding seats are optional on the BMW and Merc, where they are standard on the Jag, which seems a bit steep on a car costing upwards of £70,000. Cabin space is generous though, and the car feels much bigger inside than its predecessor. The seats help soak up motorway miles with ease and whether you’re sitting up front or in the back, head and legroom is generous. Given that this car can crack 62mph in a smidge over four seconds, everyday usability is just astonishing.
A supersaloon is never going to offer the same penny pinching motoring as its diesel siblings, but the M5 makes huge improvements over the last model. BMW claims it will manage 28.5mpg. This puts it ahead of the less powerful Jaguar XFR (22.5mpg) and on a par with the Mercedes E63 AMG (28.8mpg). However, it is worth being aware that all 552bhp goes through the rear wheels, meaning that it is well within its capabilities to chew through back tyres at an alarming rate.