2018 BMW M5 Preview
When it comes to luxury sedans massaged to provide unrelenting performance, a jumble of letters come to mind—AMG, F, RS, V, etc. Among the most venerable of these are the delectable products that emerge from the skunkworks known as BMW’s M division.
Now these mechanical magicians have introduced the sixth-generation 2018 BMW M5, and it is the quickest of any M-massaged vehicle to ever lay stripes on asphalt. Guaranteed to provide driving thrills on any road or track, the new BMW M5 maximizes velocity while retaining all of the civilities of a 4-door midsize luxury sedan.
While they may share the same lineage, you should never mistake the M5 for a mere BMW 5 Series. That would be like bringing Serena Williams along for a few matches with the gals at the tennis club.
As such, along with the telltale badging that is liberally sprinkled all over the vehicle, you will note the M5’s angrier looking front fascia that includes bigger air intakes, the lightweight carbon-fiber roof, and side skirts. Around back there are quad exhaust outlets, an M-specific rear apron, and a special spoiler.
A cool 50 M5 First Editions will make their way into the hands of eager speed demons in the U.S. market. They’ll include Frozen Dark Red Metallic matte-finish paint, along with gloss black kidney grilles, exhaust tips, 20-in. wheels, and trim around the windows.
Inside, you’ll find performance-bolstered M Multi-function front seats trimmed with Merino leather and an integrated and illuminated M5 logo. An extended leather treatment is standard, adding cowhide to the dashboard, door panels, and other parts of the cabin.
You’ll note that the M5 has a unique head-up display, along with additional aluminum and carbon-structure trim compared to a regular 5 Series. Press the special red Start button to hear the M5 roar to life; you won’t be able to miss the two red buttons on the steering wheel, either, which personalize the driving modes you wish to use.
The M5 First Edition versions further include Piano Finish black interior trim, along with a plaque that denotes the serial number. Smoke White leather upholstery is accented with red contrast stitching.
Standard stoppage is provided via compound performance brakes, but you can opt for carbon ceramic brakes, which should shave another 50 lbs. off the M5’s unsprung weight. The upgrade braking system’s calipers also boast a golden hue, in addition to the enhanced fade and heat resistance.
Install the extra-cost M Driver’s package and you’ll be able to get the M5 to a claimed top speed of 189 mph. Otherwise, you’re limited to 155 mph. Bummer.
Under the Hood
Moving this tour de force sports sedan, a twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8 engine produces 600 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque. Peak power or torque is available from 1,800 rpm to 6,600 rpm, giving drivers a meaty rev range that produces a facelift effect when you smash your right foot onto the accelerator pedal. Acceleration to 60 mph takes just 3.2 seconds, according to BMW, and after 11 seconds the car is accelerating through 120 mph.
Purists who hold the manual transmission dear to their hearts might be bummed, but the new M5 will come only with an 8-speed automatic transmission with a torque converter that locks upon launch to provide instantaneous thrust. You can also use the manual shift function through the transmission’s stubby gear selector, or the shift paddles located on the steering wheel.
Another potential bummer is that all-wheel drive (AWD) is standard. For drivers with advanced skills, no doubt warming the hearts of traditionalists, you can switch to a rear-wheel-drive mode that keeps the power flowing to the “proper” wheels. This mode also shuts off the traction and stability control systems to facilitate grin-inducing, tail-out drifting capability.
As with every M model, the M5 was developed and tested on Germany’s fabled Nurburgring Nordschleife, with M-specific suspension and steering components to deliver more precise handling than a stock 5 Series. Chassis modifications further improve the M5’s ability to straighten a curvy road or round a racetrack at maximum speed.
The new 2018 BMW M5 comes standard with 19-in. wheels, with staggered-width tires that are wider at the rear for greater agility.
Drivers will reference digital instrumentation with graphics that are unique to the M5, and that provides information on the driving dynamic mode as well as all of the settings you might have customized for the AWD and Drivelogic systems. The display also gives you suggestions as to the ideal time to shift, if you’re driving in manual mode.
No specific details were given for the iDrive infotainment system, so the one in the M5 should mirror the rest of the 5 Series lineup. That means it features a touch-screen display in addition to center console controls, as well as Gesture Control technology that allows you to rotate, push, and swipe commands in the air in front of the screen to control things like stereo volume or accepting phone calls.
Or, you know, you could use the stereo knob or steering wheel acceptance button.