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Car reviews - BMW - 5 Series - M5 sedan

Launch Story

BMW logo23 Jun 2005

By MARTON PETTENDY

AFTER what seems an eternity since it appeared in concept form at last year’s Geneva motor show, BMW’s blistering new V10-powered M5 has finally reached Australian shores.

Launched this week at Victoria’s Sandown raceway, the redesigned E60 5-Series-based super-sedan costs $226,000 and packs a benchmark-setting 373kW (no less than 507 horsepower in the old money) and 520Nm of torque from a 5.0-litre F1-inspired V10 that revs to an astonishing 8250rpm.

It replaces the E39 M5, which produced 294kW and 500Nm from its 4.9-litre V8 and was last sold in October 2003, priced at $195,800.

Combining a new realm of high-revving V10 performance with the practicality of a large four-door sedan, the fourth-generation follows in a hallowed line of M5s dating back two decades to the 210kW E28 M5 of 1985.

With 79kW and 20Nm more performance than its forebear, the E60 also claims a substantial acceleration increase, now sprinting to 100km/h in a claimed 4.7 seconds.

Producing a specific power output well in excess of the hi-po yardstick of 100hp per litre and with a power-to-weight ratio of just 3.5kg per horsepower, BMW’s new V10 also pushes the 1755kg M5 to a governed 250km/h top speed – although its 330km/h speedo hints at its real potential if unleashed.

Weighing 240kg – just 1kg more than the V8 it replaces – the 90-degree alloy V10 picked up four gongs at the Engine of the Year awards, and also powers the forthcoming M6 coupe.

The revolutionary new powerplant combines with a new-generation seven-speed SMG transmission with 11 gearshift programs (including launch control and an improved auto mode), plus a tweaked E60 chassis comprising electronic damper control, two-stage electronic damper control, the M Differential Lock and mechanical variable steering.

M5 is discreetly differentiated from lesser 5 Series variants by an F1-inspired bodykit, 19-inch radial-spoke M wheels and four exhaust outlets.

Meantime, M5’s interior boasts red speedo and tacho needles, a Head-Up Display with gearshift light, an M steering wheel with shift paddles and MDrive button, an illuminated SMG shifter and a Power button, which switches between 400hp Comfort and 507hp Sport engine control maps.

As befits a car costing a quarter of a million dollars, M5 is equipped with every technical feature from adaptive Xenon headlights to a communications system comprising sat-nav, TV and Logic7 13-speaker Hi-Fi audio.

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