The wait is finally over, my fellow BMW enthusiasts. It’s finally here. The F90-generation BMW M5 has officially been released. No more scouring the interwebs for brief, low-resolution images and video clips. You can now see it in all of its glory.
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This generation of M5 will likely go down in history as one of the most controversial, as it’s the first of its kind to ever power all four wheels. In fact, it’s the first non-SUV M car to ever pack all-wheel drive. So, naturally, there are many fans who are skeptical. For ages, BMW M has been rear-wheel drive-only and very proud of that fact. Though, that was bound to end sometime and that time is now.
Power and performance are just getting too big for rear-wheel drive. So BMW’s decision to finally make the switch is a necessary one. However, it’s one that I don’t think many BMW fans will be upset about when they finally see its results. This new all-wheel drive BMW M5 is an absolute monster.
Let’s get to the good stuff right away, as it’s what’ you’ve all been waiting for, for what seems like ages. Under the hood is the newest version of BMW’s 4.4 liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine. Now, it makes 600 hp on the nose and 553 lb-ft of torque. All of that fury is sent through an eight-speed ZF-sourced automatic that’s been specifically tuned for M5 duty.
When powering all four wheels, as it does normally (we’ll get into that in a bit), this new BMW M5 can accelerated from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds. That makes it the fastest accelerating BMW of all time, faster than even the M4 GTS. For a very large sedan with miles of cow hide on the inside, that’s brutally fast.
BMW M5 Marina Bay Blue Metallic
Peak torque comes in at just 1,800 rpm, allow for violent launches. That torque curve remains flat until about 5,700 rpm. So mid-range punch should be absolutely enormous, also. High-speed overtakes should be a breeze in this M5. What’s even better is that at 5,700 rpm, when the torque starts to drop off, peak horsepower kicks in. So just as torque is starting to wane, you get the full 600 hp sledgehammer.
Top speed will be electronically-limited to 155 mph, which is greatly disappointing but we get it. However, with an optional M Driver’s Package, that top speed increases to 189 mph. We’d love to see what the new BMW M5 could do without a limiter. With that much power and torque and all-wheel drive, we could see it threatening the 200 mph mark.
So the benefit of all-wheel drive being added to the M5 is violent, brutal, neck-snapping acceleration. Enthusiasts never doubted that, though. We all knew that the old M5 was limited, in terms of performance, thanks to only spinning its rear wheels. What enthusiasts are really wondering is whether or not the new M5 can handle. Will it be the hooligan that all previous M5s were?
In short, yes. BMW M wouldn’t have made this car if it wasn’t. But now, it’s a hooligan that can has more range and the ability to switch off. “Thanks to M xDrive, the all-new BMW M5 can be piloted with the familiar blend of sportiness and unerring accuracy both on the racetrack and out on the open road, while also delighting drivers with its significantly enhanced directional stability and controllability right up to the limits of performance when driving in adverse conditions such as on wet roads or snow.” said BMW CEO Frank van Meel.
Frank van Meel came from Audi Sport (formerly known as Audi Quattro GmbH), so he knows a thing or two about good all-wheel drive systems. He seems to have perfected the all-wheel drive system with this M5.
When first started, the BMW M5 will be in its normal “4WD” mode with DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) on. From there, the driver can tune the drivetrain to his/her liking. But even in standard 4WD with DSC on, the new M5 will offer a good amount of slip before reeling the car back in. So it’s not as if the standard mode is a boring mode. Though, it can be made more aggressive.
For instance, there will also be a “4WD Sport” mode, which sends more power to the rear wheels all of the time. It also allows for more slip and bigger slip-angles, for both more fun and better track handling. To increase the fun even further, the DSC gets switched to MDM (M Dynamic Mode) when put into 4WD Sport. So it’s even more exciting.
But the full hooligan M5 experience is the “2WD” mode, which disconnects the front axle completely. So it becomes fully rear-wheel drive, as many enthusiasts want. And it isn’t some Drift Mode, like its competitors have, where it’s a gimmicky temporary mode to humor people. It’s the real deal and doesn’t engage the front axle again until it’s told to or the car is restarted.
What’s brilliant of BMW is that the DSC can be turned off completely in all modes. So if you want to do some track driving, you can do so in any kind of weather and have whatever sort of drivetrain setup you want, without having stability control coming down like an anvil on the track. So if the track is wet and you want the full safety net of all-wheel drive, the M5 can be left in full 4WD mode with DSC off. If the track is just damp, you can have 4WD Sport with DSC off. And if the track is dry, or you have an adrenaline addiction, 2WD mode with DSC off can allow for hilarious skids.
“Thanks to M xDrive, the new BMW M5 goes beyond the precise, agile drive that we’ve come to expect – it also serves up a noticeable boost in traction and controllability, both in everyday situations and at the dynamic limit.” said former Formula One driver and BMW works driver, Timo Glock.
As for suspension, steering and handling, the BMW M5 has been given a significant workover by the M Division to make sure that it handles like a proper M car. The familiar double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspensions remain but have been completely redesigned with M-specific kinematics and elastokinematics. It’s also been given stiffer anti-roll bars, new toe-links and firmer rubber mounts, to accommodate the higher driving dynamics and steering precision. The M5 also has bespoke elastomer bearings on the rear axle mounts to rid any delay in chassis forces, sharpening the handling.
It also gets an additional steel X-brace, increasing rear chassis rigidity, helping handling precision. There are also new strut braces under the hood. A strut tower-to-bulkhead brace and strut tower-to-frontend brace increase front end rigidity, making turn-in sharper.
The big sticky tires, 275/40 R 19 at the front and 285/40 R 19 at the rear, don’t hurt, either. The compound is specifically-designed for the new BMW M5, much like the M2 got its own compound from Michelin. The tires will be mounted on Orbit Grey 19″ double-spoke cast light-alloy wheels, as standard. Though, 20″ seven-double-spoke wheels in black or polished black (as seen in these images) will be optional.
As standard, the M5’s wheels will surround M compound brakes, featuring 15.5″ rotors and six-piston calipers up front with 14.9″ rotors and single-piston floating calipers out back. Carbon ceramic brakes are also an option and come with yellow brake calipers which will likely be necessary for any track use on such a big car.
Though, this new M5 won’t be as heavy as it looks. BMW M went through some serious hours making sure it’s as light as it needs to be. A carbon fiber roof, aluminum hood and aluminum front fenders all work to make this M5 lighter than its predecessor.
Tech and Luxury
Despite that, though, this is still a modern BMW M car, so it’s still loaded to the gills with tons of luxury and technology. Just take a look at that cabin. It’s lined with rich, sumptuous leather throughout and features some really great looking stitching and enough seat padding to comfortable sit an elephant. Those thrones look extremely comfortable and supportive. I also love the seat design, as they look special and much different from the standard 5er’s.
I also love have BMW changed the shift-lever design. Rather than the strange-to-hold-and-operate teardrop of all other M cars, the shift-lever now actually looks intuitive. The shift pattern is still odd, so it’s still left for neutral, left and up for reverse and right for Drive/Sport. Though, unlike the previous teardrop lever, there’s actually a park button, which should rid the previous confusion of having to hit the off button twice to park it. The lever also features the shift aggression toggle buttons, removing some of the clutter on the center console.
Next to the shift lever are all of the usual BMW M buttons for configuring the suspension, steering and throttle. Now they’re lined in red, but are essentially the same buttons. Though, there is a newcomer to BMW’s plethora of console buttons — an exhaust button. Thank the car gods, BMW has finally made an independent exhaust button, so you can have the engine in Comfort mode and still have the loud exhaust. If you’re like me and like the longer throttle of Comfort mode but want the loud exhaust with it, which was impossible before this M5, you’re a very happy camper.
There’s also a new change to the steering wheel. While the wheel itself hasn’t really changed, there are two new little buttons on it that are a bit different. Rather than have the configurable M1 and M1 buttons, which activate your customized driving mode presets, on the wheel itself, next to cruise control and volume buttons, BMW moved them up by the paddles. So now, there are big red buttons where your thumbs should be and in front of the paddles, labeled “M1” and “M2” on the left and right, respectively. It’s a small change but a cool looking one. The starter button has also been colored red.
As far as technology goes, the new M5 pretty much has all of the new tech you’d expect from a new BMW. So, the new iDrive system, Gesture Control and Remote Parking functions are all available. The gauge cluster is all digital and gets M5-specific graphics that show which driving, powertrain and Drivelogic modes are engaged. There are also programmable shift lights built into the graphics, showing when to shift based on variable rpm settings. There’s also a new M-specific Head-Up Display which shows all of this information as well.
For the first time ever, the BMW M5 is offered with all of the semi-autonomous driver-aids that the regular 5 Series gets. So it can drive itself a bit on the highway and has active cruise control as well. So it’s still a tech monster.
Of course, there will be some very cool specific colors available for the new BMW M5. Chief of which can be seen here, the Marina Bay Blue Metallic. It’s a stunning blue that suits the new M5 perfectly. It’s the color of choice for us, here.
BMW M5 “First Edition”
At launch, there will be a run of 400 “First Edition” special-edition units sold worldwide, with only 50 making their way to the US. These First Edition models will go on sale next spring, with pricing to be announced closer to launch.
Those who spring for the First Edition models will get some special touches to their M5. Frozen Dark Red Metallic paintwork (as seen in these photos) with Individual high-gloss Shadow-Line trim make it really stand out. Its matte red paint looks really cool, if a bit shouty, and the black accents really make it look aggressive. Everything from the Kidney Grilles and M fender vents to the exhaust pipes will be high-gloss black, which looks really good against the matte red paint.
On the inside, Piano Black finish will adorn the cabin with available Smoke White interior upholstery with contrast red stitching. First Edition models will also get a number plaque, showing off which chassis number it is (for instance: “M5 First Edition 1/400”).
This new BMW M5 could be the very most exciting BMW to debut in a very long time. Yes, it’s all-wheel drive and turbocharged and filled with more tech than the USS Enterprise. However, it seems dead-set on being the fastest, most dynamic M5 yet. Will it handle as well of feel as sharp as we expect an M5 to? We won’t know until we drive it. What we do know is that it looks great, is violently quick and can still do smokey, screaming skids. We can’t wait to drive it.