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BMW M5 Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2019
      Body type
      Performance
      Fuel type
      Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Civilised, iconic, BMW super saloon ”

Best bits

  • A hugely competent all-round performance car with space for four in real comfort  
  • Relatively discreet styling doesn’t give the big performance game away, too much…
  • Four-wheel drive gives the M5 proper all-weather capability

Not so great

  • The steering is well weighted, but it’s also a bit numb in relation to feel
  • For all the engine’s mighty performance, it’s a bit short on aural theatrics 
  • Not quite as bonkers as its AMG E63 rival, and only available as a saloon 

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BMW M5 Front

Overall verdict

BMW M5 Interior

On the inside

BMW M5 Driving Front

Driving

BMW M5 Driving Back

How much does it cost to run

BMW M5 Front

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"BMW sorted out what few criticisms there were of the M5 with the Competition model, and, sensibly in the UK it’s the only offering. It’s a shame it’s only a saloon, rivals offering estate versions, but if you need, and want, a saloon that really can do everything then the M5 is a compelling solution. The BMW M5 is about as sensible as spending £100,000 on a performance car can be."

BMW M5 Front

The BMW M5, or correctly, since 2019, BMW M5 Competition, heads the BMW 5 Series range. It’s different enough to warrant its very own report, as while a 520d buyer might bask in the glory of the mighty M5 being spun off the same 5 Series model as their four-cylinder diesel, an M5 owner doesn’t necessarily want reminding of their M5’s parsimonious fleet special relation.


The standard BMW M5 arrived in the UK in 2018, it being the sixth generation of BMW’s performance flagship. Powered by a 600PS 4.4-litre twin turbocharged V8 the M5 uses four-wheel drive to put all that power onto the road (or track), all that performance potential wrapped up in the relatively sober-suited BMW 5 Series body, obviously, with a few visual identifiers highlighting that it’s not a 520d. 


The M5’s not insignificant power output, as well as the extensive chassis revisions, and styling changes have long meant that BMW M5s have always been something of an iconic car among enthusiastic drivers. The M5, of any generation, really is able to park alongside supercars and hold its head high, it being the thinking, or family persons’ driver’s car, and hugely respected for it. There really is the possibility to carry five in comfort, at speeds you’d more usually need a super or sports car for. 


BMW pulled a bit of a dummy with the launch of the M5 in 2018, as within a few short months of its 600PS model arriving in the UK it announced the M5 Competition, an M5 that dropped 7mm in ride height, added 25PS to that power output, nibbled 0.1 seconds off the 0-62mph time (achieving 3.3 seconds).


It also gained a few Competition styling tweaks – black grille, standard 20-inch alloy wheels and more - to signal you’ve spent a little bit more on your M5. That must have riled a good few M5 customers who had gotten their orders in early for their standard M5s, as the cars being delivered to them were already bettered by a new one offered on BMW’s configurator. 


That sting was redoubled when BMW quietly dropped the standard M5, instead only offering its Competition variant from mid-2019, so the only new M5 you can buy today is that M5 Competition, unless, of course, BMW decides to add a special above it. 


Unlike some of its rivals BMW is firmly wedded to the idea of the M5 being a family saloon, so if you’re after an estate car version then forget it, you’ll have to leave the pooch at home, or borrow your mate’s AMG E63 S estate when you’ve a Chesterfield to shift between your various homes.


A performance car that really can be everything to everyone, unless, perhaps you’re an antique dealer and really want an estate, the BMW M5 Competition is rightfully considered one of the best cars of its type, as has pretty much always been the case.  


Is the BMW M5 right for you?

If you need a car that’s capable of doing the school run, strain against its 155mph electronic speed limiter (paying more allows a 190mph limit) on business trips to Germany, a few, brisk laps around the Nurburgring while you’re there, all while having the ability to turn off the four-wheel drive and turn your rear tyres into smoking doughnuts, then step right up. 


Seriously, though, the M5 really is a car of incredible breadth of ability, it as useful at the mundane as its lesser BMW 5 Series relations, yet having the performance to seriously compete with some highly regarded sports and supercars. 


That does mean it’ll appeal to a certain type of buyer, it highly improbable that it’ll be an owner’s only car. Indeed, the BMW M5, and its supersaloon rivals, are more often than not, picked as daily drivers for people who have numerous exotic cars in their garages, and are used to the sort of performance that these bring. For them, and possibly you, that makes the M5 the perfect all-rounder, for when your family can’t squeeze into the Ferrari.      


What’s the best BMW M5 model/engine to choose?

There’s only one, now, much to the chagrin of those early buyers, the M5 Competition therefore being the best one to pick. There are some choice options though, which we’d suggest on ordering, the Comfort Package a worthwhile addition, and if you want that 190mph top speed potential you’ll need to specify the M Driver’s Package.


If you’re planning on using it on a track then you might want M Carbon ceramic brakes, but we’d suggest saving the near £8,000 they cost, as you’ll have other cars that are better suited for lapping circuits, however fast and capable the M5 might be.


What other cars are similar to the BMW M5?

The BMW M5 used to have the performance saloon marketplace pretty much to itself so impervious was its performance and handling, but the competition has caught up in the last decade or so. Mercedes-AMG offers a similarly weaponised E-Class in the guise of the E63 S, while Porsche will happily sell you a Panamera Turbo, too. 


If you want your M5 alternative really similar then look up Alpina, which makes a BMW 5 Series performance saloon (and estate) of its own, the B5 Bi-Turbo. That Alpina is a niche within an already small niche and is certain to reduce well-informed car enthusiasts into a state of frenzy when spotted, while not even registering on anyone else’s consciousness. A bit like the M5 used to be, before the internet, that is.      


Learn more

BMW M5 Interior

On the inside

BMW M5 Driving Front

Driving

BMW M5 Driving Back

How much does it cost to run

BMW M5 Front

Prices, versions and specification