The M5 gets a mild upgrade, not that it needed one to be honest, but nevertheless we jump at the opportunity of experiencing the latest version on the lovely derestricted autobahns of Deutschland
Even amongst all the hallowed vehicles that the M division of BMW produces, the M5 holds a special place, both for the company and enthusiasts alike. The first ‘normal’ product which was fettled by the M division and put into series production, the M5 was the inventor of the sports saloon segment, which to put it in simple words, is fitting the most powerful engine you can find into a regular looking sedan and producing something that can shame the fastest sports cars in the world. And the M5 does very well at that, but I don’t know whether in its current avatar if it looks anything ‘normal’. After all, the pumped up wheel arches, huge wheels and tyres, quad exhaust outlets and those aggressive front and rear air dams do give the game away quite comprehensively.
Even so, when BMW invited us to drive the ‘face lifted’ version of the M5 on German roads, we couldn’t resist accepting the invite with barely contained glee. Now, to be honest, the visual updates to the M5 are blink-and-you-miss-it thin, but declining a chance to pilot this 567bhp missile was too good to pass on. Of course, some of you might notice the raised power output, but that is because the car we were driving was equipped with the ‘Competition Package’, which is an optional extra. Geared towards making the M5 handle better, apart from the raised power output, the package-equipped cars are also fitted with carbon ceramic brakes as well as stiffer damping and spring rates and faster steering as well as stiffer stabiliser bars to improve turn-in. Visually though, there are only two differences, one, the calipers on the ceramic brake fitted cars are painted gold instead of the usual M blue, and the rear tailpipes now sport a black chrome finish.
As one would expect, the ‘standard’ M5 is no slouch on the road, with a 552bhp engine propelling it, when pushed, it literally runs as if its tail is on fire. So, with an additional 15bhp the M5 can only be expected to be faster, and it is, but by a miniscule margin over the standard car. And honestly, given the enormous amount of power already present, it’s hard to feel the presence of those extra 15 horses. However, one can feel some effects of the rest of the changes made to the car, the suspension seems slightly stiffer and the steering is definitely quicker to respond. And while a proper test of how the ceramic brakes deal with all that weight and performance would be on a racetrack, it’s nigh on impossible to really put them under any major stress on the road, where they feel quite responsive and absolutely fade-free.
The performance of the M5, as one would expect, is properly biblical, even on the winter tyres our test cars were shod with, given how the temperature regularly dipped into the low single degrees. Traction though was an issue, with the tyres struggling to find purchase on the cold roads and the traction control light flickering throughout. However, with the twin-turbo’s blowing, the M5 gains speed at a tremendous clip and feels pretty much unstoppable, making cruising at speeds of 250km/h and above a mere flex of the ankle away. Mind you though, we did these speeds only on the unrestricted stretches of the autobahn, so remember folks, please don’t try doing these on our roads. The gearbox too should be commended; the seven-speed dual-clutch box never misses a beat and can deliver some pretty fast and brutal changes when on the full attack setting.
Above all, the revised M5 retains most of the traits of the earlier car – mainly mega performance and effortlessly quick continent cruising ability – while cossetting its occupants in complete comfort. It’s just that driving it out on the road, even if it is the German autobahns, it’s hard to explore the outer limits of performance of such a highly capable machine.
- BMW M5
Engine: 4,395 cc / 8 Cylinders /Twin - Turbocharged / Direct Injection
Transmission: 7-Speed Dual Clutch Automatic / Rear-Wheel Drive
Power: 567 bhp @ 6000 - 7000 rpm
Torque: 680 nm @ 1500 - 6000 rpm
Price: Rs.1.30 Crores