First off: No, I have not driven the new M5, but I would gladly pay a king’s ransom to get behind the wheel of one. If BMW is reading this, I’ll gladly wash every car in the press fleet by hand for a weekend in an F10 M5, and I promise to bring it back in one piece. “Oh, sorry, weren’t those rear tires like that when I received it??” – practicing my apology. Without sounding like a BMW fanboy, allow me to give you a quick review of the 2012 BMW M5, outlining some of the pros and cons.
I have driven enough X5M and X6M models to know that the S63 engine is a beast. Developing 552 bhp from 5,750-7,000rpm, the TwinPower V8 unit is one of the most potent production engine ever to emerge from BMW’s high-performance M division. It has all the thrust of a locomotive and enough horsepower to scare even the bravest track junkies, and when the aftermarket tuning wizards get a hold of one, it will be a matter of time before we see 700+ horsepower figures. Furthermore, with fuel consumption rated lower than the outgoing E60 equipped S85, the F10 M5 promises to be a car one can live with day-in and day-out.
No complaints so far. The F10 M5 will come equipped with the M-DCT and a manual transmission for US customers and enthusiasts. Having spent lots of time behind the wheel of E92 M3 models, both on and off track, I can tell you that this transmission is near perfection and faultless. Without having much of a business case to support it, the manual box will be offered for US customers that continue to scream “Save the manuals.” I say to them, go for it, but in the end, I may be the one with a big grin on my face as I lap around the track.
The S63 power is so brutal and the torque so sobering that a manual transmission will have a hard time doing justice to that chassis. This is one of those cases where BMW should have just said ” No” to a manual option and move on. Ferrari did exactly the same and it’s been working out for them ever since.
Here’s where I’m going to get flamed in the comment section. I love the look of the new F10 M5! This latest M5 gets me riled up in much the same way the E39 M5 did when I first saw it at the New York Auto Show in 2000. I love the aggressive front end, the 20 inch wheels, the gauge cluster and color schemes. I’m not crazy about the rear bumper and the areas surrounding the mufflers, but I can live with it. What I absolutely adore are the new 6-piston color-coded brakes. Finally BMW puts proper brakes on an M car.
The interior is a step up from previous generation and more luxurious, yet sporty than ever. The M Sport comfort seats have always been supportive and comfortable, and with a touch of a button you can adjust them to a level of desired comfort only found in a 7 Series.
That new gauge cluster is a beauty with a color scheme pleasing to the eyes. The tachometer and speedometer are easy to read with polarized sunglasses and once the LCD cluster is deployed, I can see a whole new arena in data metrics. Wouldn’t it be cool if once you press the “M” mode button, all the gauges would fad to a smaller ancillary positions while a large tachometer with color coded rev matched graphics appeared so when you’re on track, only the tach and other important data was at hand? Hint, Hint BMW!
Now, let’s have a look at some cons and things to look forward in the future. There are rumors of Carbon Ceramic brakes being deployed into production. I personally don’t believe these will make it to the US since we rarely drive at speeds that are able to sustain the heat necessary to keep ceramic brakes operating at peak performance.
If some of the rumors come true, then the next generation 2012 BMW M6 will get more horsepower than the M5. On the same note, I would like to see an optional “tuning” program available through BMW’s center network to upgrade those customers to the higher horsepower figures.
While we’re on this subject, here is to hope that BMW will offer a true competition package for the M5 much like the Nurburgring package once available on the E34 M5: stiffer springs, retuned shock calibrations in the EDC settings, and thicker sway bars for those of us that think tracking a two ton sedan is fun.
In conclusion, the pros seem to offset the cons, and I feel comfortable saying that this new M5 will set a new benchmark for BMW, and why not, for the super sporty sedan segment.