This new F90-generation BMW M5 is probably the best since the E39-generation, from what we’ve heard. Some might appreciate the charms of the E60-gen’s screaming V10 a bit more but one thing is certain — It’s a massive upgrade from the car it replaces. However, there are still a lot of fans that seem to hate on the new M5 for going all-wheel drive and more complex. Though, those people haven’t driven it. So here’s five things that you’ll learn only after driving it (which can be seen here, at Road & Track).
All Wheel Drive Doesn’t Ruin The Fun
Most BMW fans were quite angry with the M5’s switch from pure rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive. Pitchforks were sharpened, torches were lit and mobs were ready to riot when the new M5 lost its bite. However, they can pack those things up and go home, as it turns out the new M-specific xDrive all-wheel drive system absolutely does not ruin the fun. If anything, it increases the fun because it can help you go a lot faster and kick its tail out while keeping you safe.
This new xDrive system is completely rear-driven almost all of the time, until it detects enough slippage and will only then send power to the front wheels. With certain traction settings, or in ‘4WD Sport’ mode, it will even let you slide it around a bit before it uses the front tires to real you back in. So you can be a hooligan without killing yourself, which is a welcome safety net in a 600 hp sedan. Plus, you can deactivate the front wheels to make it full-time rear-wheel drive, if you want to do as many skids as you possibly can.
The New BMW M5 Fulfills The Promise Of The Old M5
When the F10-generation M5 debuted, it packed a new twin-turbocharged V8 that made more power than any other M5 in history, more than even the beloved V10-powered E60-generation M5. It also made gobs and gobs of torque, all of which were sent to just the rear wheels. So it was thought that it would be an outright hooligan and live to turn its rear tires to mulch. It was also thought that the F10 M5 would be a proper weapon, thanks to its rear-drive nature and brutish V8. However, it turned out it was just sloppy and difficult to drive quickly.
This new M5, though, is far more of a precision machine. It’s tactile, accurate and, more importantly, adjustable. Want to be nice and tidy and tackle race tracks? Sure, it absolutely can. Want to be a psycho and do big, smoky skids? Yup, it loves it. It’s a proper driver’s car and it is so with a similar engine to its predecessor.
It’s The Fifth Best BMW M5 In History
According to Road & Track, the new F90-gen BMW M5 is the fifth best M5 ever. That’s fifth out of six M5s, if you were wondering. So it’s second to last, ahead of only the F10-generation it replaces. That’s not exactly great praise but it’s hard to put it ahead of most of its predecessors, as they were all so brilliant. The original, the E28-generation M5, is still considered the matriarch of the super sedan segment, so it has to be considered better. The E34-generation that succeeded the E28 was also quite good, even though there are a lot of enthusiasts that aren’t fans of it (Ahem, me).
Then, there was the incredibly brilliant E39-generation M5 that is largely considered to be the best M5 of all time, possibly the best super sedan of all time. So the new M5 won’t be better than that. What followed the E39 was the E60-generation M5, which sported a howling, naturally-aspirated V10 that was so good it overshadowed a lot of the E60’s complexity issues. All of those M5s R&T feels are better than the new F90, despite this new car being quite good.
It Can Still Drift
While it isn’t so childishly called “Drift Mode”, like some of its competitors like to call it, the new BMW M5 can be completely rear-wheel drive. There’s a “2WD” mode for its xDrive system and, when engaged, keeps the car rear-driven without ever engaging the front wheels. That allows it to slide around with ease. And thanks to sharp, albeit slightly numb, steering and a capable chassis, you can hold slides really quite well. So don’t think that all-wheel drive has crippled the M5’s ability to be a hoon.
BMW’s M Division Will Never Be The Same
Don’t expect the famous BMW M Division to ever go back to just being simple, rear-wheel drive sports cars. The addition of all-wheel drive is just the beginning of the changes that are coming. BMW M has already flirted with the idea of adding electrification and hybrid power. While that could be a long way off, BMW M knows that new technologies must be utilized. BMW M doesn’t see it as heretical, though, more like imaginative. “Some people might have imagination borders, some don’t. Let’s see.” said Carsten Wolf, Powertrain Chief for the BMW M5. Just like the M5’s xDrive system, though, BMW M will only use new technology to enhance its core principles. “As long as we stick to our principles… these things are always possible.”[Source: Road & Track]