BMW's M range is one of the most iconic brands in automotive history. Since its inception, people have never questioned the authenticity that the M badge brings.
There are few cars in the world that can match the M5's extraordinary level of performance, refinement, and pure power.
For the past 25 years, the BMW M5 has been making news and winning awards.
The hallmark of the M5 has always been understated elegance mixed with amazing performance. It's a true sports car that doesn't feel the need to shout about it.
On paper, the new M5 looks tamer than the previous generation.
For starters, the magnificent V10 has been replaced by a more fuel efficient V8. To hear "the right sound," BMW has created a system which pipes the exhaust note through the stereo, which feels like they're trying to compensate for something.
And thanks to additions like the seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, this new M5 weighs 200 lbs more than the old version.
At first glance then, it seems the M5's rock-and-roll days are over - but that isn't the case at all.
With two fewer cylinders, you would expect the new M5 to be slower than the old one. But it's not. The new V8 has two tur-bos and cranks out 560-hp. That's 60 more than the V10. And it has more torque as well - 119 ft-lbs more to be exact.
More firepower in the engine bay is just the first piece of good news. In the old M5, you got a techno overload of 11 gear shift settings. In the new one, it's a more sensible si three for full-auto and three for manual. The new model also looks fantastic too. The head lamps and their smoother shape feature the simplified elegance design philosophy seen across the entire BMW range.
But there are still cues that amazing power is concealed underneath the body, like flared front vents and the gills on the fenders; the new M5 appears ready to make history again.
Unlike a few manufacturers who have opted to switch to electric steering units, BMW instead stuck with their trusted hydraulic version.
This car continues to give a lot of feedback and gives drivers a high level of confidence.
It's also more economical too. It has a bigger fuel tank so it can go longer in a single tank, and under controlled driving it will return 11.1L/100km combined. And then there's the ride, which is compliant, but controlled and consistent.
The interior is first-class as you would expect from a BMW and the cabin is not flashy but it is incredibly well made.
The sporty front seats provide sufficient lateral support but are supremely comfortable thanks in no small part to their well designed shape and contour that "wrap" your body.
Being a range topping model, every option in the 5-Series catalogue is available to M5 owners. For example, the Executive package includes features such as soft-close automatic doors, a power trunk and a power rear sunshade.
That brings us to the biggest downfall of this new M5, and it's through no fault of its own. In the past, the M5 was worth it because it was so much better than a regular 5-Series.
But today, the normal 5-Series (especially the most expensive version) is so good, it might be difficult to justify spending the extra for the M5.
The M5 has a starting price of $101,500 and offers the amount of standard equipment that BMW customers have come to expect.
Standard equipment includes: automatic four-zone climate control, navigation, keyless entry, voice recognition, Bluetooth, rear-view camera, start/stop functionality, and a kinetic energy regeneration system.
Additional features available as options include: active blind spot recognition, heads-up display, and lane departure warning.
Also, North American customers are the only ones in the world who have the option of a six-speed manual transmission.
Models equipped with the seven-speed automatic could experience fuel efficiency numbers of 13.2L/100km in the city, 8.6L/100km on the highway for 11.1L/100km combined. Manual models could see 14.4L/100km in the city, 9.2L/100km on the highway for 12.1L/100km.
The new M5 is more powerful, quicker and has more grip than the out-going model. It's also perfectly comfortable and subtle for everyday use. The more refined M5 will appeal to more people if they can afford it.
Change is hard for some people and there are those who will mourn the loss of the naturally aspirated V10. Others will claim that this civilized M5 has lost some of its character.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The new M5 is not only better than the old one - as an all-ound performance car, it's one of the best in the world.