BMW's new super saloon tested on Irish roads for the first time
Pros: Astonishing performance, tech-filled cabin, easier to tame with all-wheel-drive
Cons: Expensive, steep running costs
The battle for supremacy in the super saloon class rages on, with the Mercedes AMG E 63 S and BMW’s all-new sixth generation M5 going head to head for 2018. The new M5 is one of the most-anticipated cars to go on sale this year, and it’s easy to see why, with power increased to 600 horsepower, sharpened styling and for the first time in the M5's three-decade history, it is now based on an all-wheel-drive platform! So, is the new BMW M5 the ultimate super saloon for Irish roads, and would you have it over class alternatives such as the Mercedes AMG E 63 S or Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio? We spent a week driving it on Irish roads recently to see what it is like to live with.
What is it like?
The new BMW M5 blends executive lines and sporty undertones in fine fashion, yet it is suitably-understated for a car with 600 horsepower at its disposal. The front end has been redesigned with additional air intakes to cool down the engine, brakes and suspension during spirited drives, while BMW’s trademark quad exhaust system looks and sounds fantastic at the rear.
The new M5 is significantly lighter than its predecessor, thanks to features including a new carbon fibre roof which contrasts beautifully against the Marina Bay Blue paint scheme of our test car. This particular M5 is equipped with an enviable list of options including striking M Carbon ceramic brakes, which are a €13,000 option for added stopping power.
The M5’s new 4.4-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine churns out 600bhp and 750Nm of torque; credentials that you wouldn’t normally associate with a two-tonne executive saloon. For over 30 years the M5 has been strictly based on a rear-wheel-drive platform, but the new model breaks tradition with BMW’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The new M5 accelerates ferociously as a result, covering 0-100km/h in just 3.4 seconds, which is a full second faster than its predecessor, and it can reach a limited top speed of 250km/h, or 305km/h in derestricted guise.
The M5’s new eight speed M Sport automatic transmission shifts with pinpoint precision, though the sound from the V8 engine is somewhat subdued, and not as profound as the M5’s of old. Understandably, the M5 is a rather expensive car to run, with annual motor tax in the highest bracket (€2350) and claimed fuel economy of 10.4l/100km.
The M5’s cabin is airy, ambient and it places above the Mercedes AMG C 63 S in terms of luxury. Details such as the sports steering wheel, body-hugging sports seats and M5 emblems throughout the cabin remind you that you are behind the wheel of a behemoth. The dashboard leans towards the driver's seat with BMW's new 10.2-inch touch screen system, which is a joy to use and very intuitive. The driver’s display is also presented in vibrant digital fashion. The M5 remains is very practical with ample room to ferry five adults in comfort and all fo their luggage too, with 530 litres of boot space.
The M5 offers a host of different driving modes and settings for use on road or on the race track. Three different modes can be selected using a switch on the centre console for the steering, engine and suspension, and six different gearbox settings are available through buttons on the steering wheel. The drivetrain can also be adjjusted with a choice of 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD modes, though sending power exclusively to the rear wheels isn’t recommended for the faint hearted!
Out on the road the M5 drives with incredible poise, and the new all-wheel-drive system adds extra reassurance in wet conditions. Although the M5 is a driver’s car through and through, it is equally relaxing and refined at cruising speeds and in comfort mode, so much so that it is difficult to distinguish from a standard 5 series. The suspension setup is cosseting enough for Irish roads too, though the 20-inch alloy wheels are slightly harsh on bumpy roads.
In Ireland, prices for the new BMW M5 start from €166,807, which means it is priced higher than its arch rival, the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S (€143,995). As standard it is equipped with 20-inch double spoke wheels, an electric tailgate, adaptive LED headlights, parking assistant plus, BMW’s Navigation System Professional, enhanced Bluetooth with wireless smartphone charging and the 10.25-inch touchscreen system with BMW Gesture control.
Our test car is equipped with an enviable list of options to the tune of over €32,000! The list includes M Carbon Ceramic Brakes, a carbon fibre engine cover, an upgraded M Sport exhausts system and a Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system, which elevates the asking price to €196,850. Read the full list of options at the end of this review.
Carzone verdict: 5/5
The BMW M5 created the super saloon segment when it was first launched in the mid-1980s, and the new model is undoubthedly the most accomplished and exhilerating M5 built to date. It blends executive comfort, performance and driving dynamics together in blissful fashion; in a way that its rivals simply can’t match. The new four-wheel-drive system doesn’t take away from the M5’s character, and only enhances the driving experience too, while it boasts lots of luxury and tech inside for daily driving too. Hands down, the best super saloon currently on sale.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: BMW M5
Prices from: €166,807
Price as tested: €196,850
Annual Road Tax: €2350
Fuel Economy: 10.4l/100 km
Engine: 4395cc eight-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Power/Torque: 600bhp / 750Nm
Top Speed: 250km/h
0-100km/h: 3.4 seconds
Transmission: Eight speed automatic
Body style: Saloon
Boot Space: 530 litres
20" M Double-spoke style 706M bicolour alloy wheels
Alarm system (Thatcham 1)
Bootlid operation, powered
First Aid Kit & Triangle
M Multi-function seats, front
Air conditioning, automatic with four-zone control