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Car reviews - BMW - 5 Series - M5 sedan

Launch Story

23 Jun 2005

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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