There’s a fresh roar sounding from the wilds of Bavaria. It’s the throaty growl of a beautiful, just-born beast created by the engineers who transform world-class luxury sedans into track-ready racers for the high-performance M Division of BMW. The rumble emanating from a twin-pipe exhaust system comes from the latest iteration of the vehicle that founded the super-sedan segment almost 30 years ago— the all-new 2013 BMW M5.
Following an early test drive, the editors at Motor Trend magazine pronounced the all-new M5 “the smoothest, most powerful, most elegant and most refined” M5 model to date. It may seem hard to believe, but such high praise merely touches the surface, as the new M flagship also delivers major enhancements in technology, safety and fuel efficiency over its hyper-potent predecessor. Some features and specifications are still being finalized on this fifth-generation, but the following hard points are sure to get enthusiasts’ hearts racing.
Adopting a strategy of increasing output while dramatically lowering emissions, BMW chose to replace the 5.0-liter V10 in the previous generation M5 with a new turbocharged, 4.4-liter V8 engine that delivers up to 560 hp and 500 lb/ft of torque. The output ratings from the 4.4-liter not only represent increases of 10 and 30 percent respectively over last year’s model, they also make this the most powerful motor ever used in a BMW M.
Thanks to advanced engine technology—such as twin-scroll turbocharging, VALVETRONIC system and Double VANOS technology—acceleration is smooth and instantaneous with maximum torque available at just 1,500 rpm and a 0-60 time just a tick over four seconds.
The all-new M5 uses a more efficient seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission (DCT) with Drivelogic. The new transmission features automatic (D) and manual (S) modes, and wheel-mounted paddle shifts.
While final EPA fuel-economy ratings have not been set, BMW expects this powertrain combination to use about 30 percent less fuel than the outgoing model. Matched with the technology of BMW EfficientDynamics—such as regenerative braking and Auto Start-Stop—and it’s no surprise that the all-new M5 will top its segment in gas mileage.
Power flows to the rear wheels on the M5 where the standard Active M Differential works together with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) to prevent slips by evenly distributing torque from wheel-to-wheel across the axle for optimum traction. DSC offers three settings, including one that switches the system off completely for track day enjoyment.
Honed through countless hours of testing at the acclaimed Nürburgring track in Germany, the M-Specific chassis found on the M5 boasts electronic dampers, variable-ratio Servotronic steering and fade-free ABS brakes with exclusive iron-and-aluminum cross-drilled rotors and six-piston front calipers.
Engineers have also simplified the driving settings of the all-new M5, in comparison to the previous model. The driver can now chooses between three modes—Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus—to adjust the parameters of the car’s steering and suspension. The dual-clutch transmission offers three shifting-performance programs, similar to the drive setting programs, in both automatic and manual modes.
Mounted on the left-hand spoke of the steering wheel, two “M Drive” buttons (M1 and M2) allow access to distinct vehicle set-ups previously configured by the driver—for example, one geared towards comfort and the other for a sportier performance. The M Drive system offers the adjustment of six driving parameters, from engine management to chassis performance and the congifuration of BMW’s Head-Up Display. Switch off the system and it defaults to a setting aimed at fuel economy and a luxurious ride.
Throughout its history, the M5 has never been shy about announcing its presence, even before the engine sparks to life. The hallmark double-kidney grille, aggressively-styled air intakes and Adaptive Xenon headlights with unique LED light rings strike a subtle note of menace, as do the chrome fender gills, flared wheel arches, standard 19-inch M light-alloy wheels (20-inch alloys are available as an option) and tailored rear fascia with an integrated diffuser and quad-outlet exhaust.
Inside, the M5 is a showcase of Merino Leather upholstery, exclusive Aluminum Trace trim, Anthracite roof lining, customized M-exclusive sport seats and cutting-edge infotainment technology such as the latest-generation iDrive control system, complete with a 10.2-inch, full-color display.
Now, experience the most powerful letter in the world—M—at the wheel of BMW’s most intimidating model Schedule a test drive with the all-new 2013 M5 Sedan, set to launch in showrooms this spring.