The heart of any BMW M car is its engine, and never more so than with the new M5. For the first time an M5 features a turbocharged power unit; a high-revving 4.4-litre (4395 cc) V8, here making its world premiere. Developing 560 hp from 5750-7000 rpm, it is the most potent series-production engine ever to emerge from BMW's high-performance M division. Incorporating the company's M TwinPower Turbo technology, twin-scroll turbochargers, high-precision direct fuel injection, Valvetronic variable valve control and a cross-bank exhaust manifold, it guarantees the legendary BMW M-car thrust with seamless lag-free delivery from little more than tickover speed thanks to 680Nm of torque from only 1500 rpm.
Compared with the previous V10-engined M5, maximum power is up by around 10 per cent and peak torque by more than 30 per cent. As a result, the latest M5 can accelerate from 0-62 mph in 4.4 seconds, and 0-124 mph in 13 seconds. The voluntarily limited top speed is 155 mph.
With BMW's seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission Drivelogic and Efficient Dynamics technology, including engine Auto Start-Stop and Brake Energy Regeneration, the M5's fuel consumption has been reduced by more than 30 per cent to 28.5 mpg, while CO2 emissions tumble to 232g/km.
The transmission offers manual (S) and fully automated (D) shift options, with three programmes in each, allowing the driver to select the most sporty, relaxed or efficient driving style at will via a rocker switch. There is also a low speed assistance function to keep the car moving smoothly through heavy traffic with only a light touch on the accelerator. At the same time the engine characteristics can be switched from Efficient to Sport or Sport Plus through another button in the centre console.
The driving dynamics of the new M5 Saloon are grouped under an umbrella which BMW calls Hallmark M. They include a further advancement of the specially developed differential that allows M drivers to enjoy the benefits of high-powered rear-wheel-drive cars with maximum safety. Called Active M, it is an electronically controlled multi-plate limited slip diff that intervenes rapidly and precisely at an early stage to control wheelspin and keep the car stable. Its control unit is connected via FlexRay high-speed data transfer to the Dynamic Stability (DSC) control system to calculate the locking force needed - anywhere between 0% and 100%. It also takes into account the position of the accelerator, the rotational speed of the wheels and the car's yaw rate.
The DSC system is linked to the anti-lock brakes (ABS), Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Brake Control (DBC), Brake Assistant, brake fade compensation, Brake Drying function and Start-off Assistant. By pressing the DSC button the driver can override the basic settings and select M Dynamic Mode (MDM), which raises the intervention thresholds or turns them off completely.
The M5 Saloon has bespoke M-specific suspension with specially developed axle kinematics honed not only on the race track but also through extensive testing at the Nurburgring. As a result, the chassis components are both light and strong. The new M5 comes as standard with electronically controlled dampers that allow drivers to select from three settings - Comfort for normal road use, Sport when a more dynamic driving style is preferred and Sport Plus for the most extreme driving, such as on a race track.
The new M5 has six-piston caliper brakes featuring a further development of BMW's remarkable compound construction so that they resist fade even under repeated heavy loads and deliver an exceptional degree of feel. They are mounted within 19-inch M light alloy wheels with 265/40 R19 tyres at the front and 295/35 R19 tyres at the rear. Forged 20-inch alloys can be specified as an option.
The dynamic appearance and authoritative stance of the regular 5 Series saloon have been lifted by M-specific design features at the front, rear and sides. The wide-spread M black slats in the grille and the three air intakes in the low front apron are there to satisfy the cooling requirements of the twin-turbo V8 engine, for example, while the air channelling flaps at the lower edge of the front end were developed on the race track and are designed to optimise the aerodynamics of the car.
The contours of the bonnet converge into a V shape to meet the customary BMW double-kidney grille, which sits above a forward projecting central aperture between two curving side intakes which collectively emphasise the width of the new M5 Saloon. Standard bi-xenon front light clusters contain visually unique LED light rings and indicator lights which consist of 10 LED units. LED accent lights cut across the top of the familiar BMW twin round headlamps.
The front side sections have a fresh interpretation of the hallmark M gills within a chrome frame adorned with the BMW M logo, while the mirror casings - in body colour with high-gloss black lower edges and bases - are aerodynamically shaped, emphasised by their horizontal crease line. The side skirts feature a powerful bulge and a rising crease which draws attention to the driven wheels and re-emphasises that this is the performance flagship of the 5 Series range.
At the rear, horizontal lines give the M5 a wide, sporty stance, and a diffuser is incorporated in the lower edge of the apron to allow sufficient airflow through the underfloor section. A signature feature of the new M5 is the twin-tailpipe exhaust system, positioned wide on either side of the diffuser.
A subtle Gurney flap on the rear edge of the boot lid provides additional downforce at high speed. L-shaped rear light units contain LED strips, indicators and brake lamps and are clearly identifiable at night as belonging to a BMW.
Standard equipment in the UK includes Head-up Display, DAB digital radio, front and rear Park Distance Control, four-zone air-conditioning, Xenon headlights, Adaptive Headlights and front seat heating. With Professional Multimedia Navigation system and BMW Assist, a new real-time traffic information service provides accurate traffic bulletins and diversion suggestions. Furthermore, with Bluetooth and USB audio interface as standard, the integration of Smartphones and music players keep occupants entertained and informed.
Optional equipment including a rear-view camera, High-Beam Assistant, Speed Limit information, Lane Change and Lane Departure warnings, Surround View and BMW Night Vision ensure the driver is aware of anything and everything happening within the vicinity of the car. A Mobile Application preparation allows iPhone owners to receive web radio stations and display Facebook and Twitter posts on the Control Display.