Car reviews - BMW - 5 Series - M5 Competition
All-paw grip, smooth shifting transmission, ultra-capable engine, rude exhaust noise
Room for improvement
Ratio of increase to price and performance, long and costly list of options
BMW pushes the performance yardstick even further with new M5 Competition
7 Nov 2018
THE BMW M5 super sedan has always had a bit of an identity crisis, blending together the sumptuous German luxury of a premium brand with the brutal performance of a sportscar.
While the Dr Jekyll/Mr Hyde dichotomy of the M5 has served it well – and maybe not so well – in the past, BMW continues to serve up its go-fast large luxury sedan to take on the Mercedes-AMG E63 and Audi RS7.
In its current-generation form, the M5 features all-wheel drive, a twin-turbo V8 engine, plush appointments and enough tech to make the latest iPhone look dated, while the new Competition grade ups performance and pricing.
Has BMW found the perfect mix of performance and poise in the latest sixth-generation M5 Competition?
Full disclosure, we've not sampled the original sixth-generation BMW M5 Launch Edition when it first went on sale only seven months ago in Australia, so we can’t say with any authority how the new Competition variant tacks up.
What we can say with absolute assurance though, is the new BMW M5 Competition is an absolute weapon of a car.
Powering the 1811-kilogram 5 Series flagship is a 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 – the same engine found in the previous-generation M5 – tuned to 460kW of power at 6000rpm and 750Nm of torque available from as low as 1800rpm.
The engine is absolutely sublime, offering thrust virtually anywhere in the rev range and not punishing those who want to shift early.
However, the M5 Competition only gains an extra 19kW over its Launch Edition predecessor, which is no longer available, but costs $29,000 more than before.
For those keeping track at home, that’s an extra $1526 per kilowatt!
In its defence though, the M5 Competition also gains a 16-speaker Bowers and Wilkins Diamond surround sound system, M Carbon engine cover, soft-close doors, electronically controlled rear blind and four-zone climate control to help offset the increased cost.
Mated to smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, the M5 Competition sends drive to a rear-biased xDrive all-wheel-drive system for a zero to 100km/h sprint in just 3.3 seconds.
No, that’s not a typo, you read that right – a 1.8 tonne, large luxury sedan will easily smoke a V12-powered Aston Martin DB11 or Porsche 911 Carrera 4 GTS at the lights, and probably do it comfortably seating an entire family with baggage.
Speaking of, boot space in the M5 Competition is an ample 530 litres, meaning this Bavarian bruiser doesn’t lose any of its practicality compared with its standard 5 Series siblings, but still boasts all the potency of a supercar.
Seats are supple and supportive, as expected in a BMW super sedan, while steering feels well weighted with plenty of feedback.
Keeping all four wheels planted is an Adaptive M suspension system – which can be changed via the drive-mode selector or two red M buttons on the steering wheel – that keeps pitch and bodyroll under control in the corners.
The M5 Competition’s 7mm lowered suspension and more negatively cambered front wheels also add to the super sedan’s nimbleness in the bends, making it feel surprisingly sprite and light on its feet.
The infotainment system is the latest BMW iDrive6 unit with a 10.25-inch touchscreen lifted straight out of the flagship 7 Series, and sports satellite navigation, gesture controls, Bluetooth connectivity and digital radio, but we weren’t given much time to explore its depths.
The rear seats are also more than up to the task of ferrying three adults, with the new appointments in the M5 Competition adding more of a luxurious feel.
Sitting in the back though, there is not much to give away the fact that you are in a super sedan, barring, of course, the noise from the M Sports exhaust.
Our taster of the BMW M5 Competition definitely has us hungry for more, and one big caveat in all this is that we were only given a sample of the super sedan in a closed track environment.
At slow speeds, the BMW M5 Competition is comfortable enough, and is equipped with all the plush goodies you would want in an executive sedan, but we’re eager to see how it all translates on Australia’s unideal road surfaces.
From the little teaser though, we can already tell that the BMW M5 Competition is an automotive force to be reckoned with, easily able to switch between its Hugo Boss business suit into a light and agile Adias tracksuit in the blink of an eye.
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