A masterclass in performance

BMW M5
BMW M5

THE BMW M5 might be the yardstick against which all serious performance saloons are judged, but that doesn’t mean it can rest on its laurels.

The latest car gets a 4.4-litre turbo engine, 552bhp and a fiendishly clever differential. It’s more efficient, quicker and better looking than its predecessor. What’s not to like?

Performance. I suggest we can tick that box. With 552bhp on tap, this F10 generation M5 is around 10 per cent more powerful than its E60 predecessor.

Get used to that nomenclature because you’ll need to know the details and this car is all about the details.

The engine is no lazy lugger though, generating peak power at between 5,750 and 7,000rpm. Use the throttle like you mean it and you’ll smash to 60mph in just 4.1 seconds.

Top speed is electronically limited to 155mph in standard guise although should you opt for the M Driver pack, the limiter is lifted and you’ll see 189mph where conditions allow.

The Active M Differential is an electronically controlled multi-plate limited slip diff that communicates with the DSC stability control for optimum traction advantage.

Power is deployed via a seven-speed M Double Clutch Transmission although rumours persist of a manual gearbox being spied in testing.

Other highlights? There are electronically controlled dampers that allow drivers to select from three settings – Comfort for normal road use, Sport for more fun roads and Sport Plus which is best left for the circuit.

There are also three settings for the Servotronic power assisted steering.

BMW has at last appeared to have responded to owner feedback about wilting brakes (especially when the car is subjected to track use) and has fitted beefier calipers.

Compared to its predecessor, this F10 generation car appears to have cut out the take-aways and hit the gym a bit harder. Being longer, wider yet lower will do that for you.

Couple that with some more overt M styling touches and you’re left with a more confident statement.

The broad black grille slats and the trio of air intakes combine with the LED light rings to afford some serious rear view mirror presence.

The one statistic that sums up the new BMW M5 is that with the engine ticking over at 1,000rpm, it’s making more torque than its predecessor did at max chat.

The turbocharged V8 in this latest car is big on muscle, offering a handy horsepower increase on the outgoing V10, yet manages superior fuel economy and emissions.

Purists may tut at the fact that an M car is fitted with a turbocharged engine but something the die-hards may well forget is that throughout its history, BMW has refused to be shackled by dogma.

The M5 is, in many respects, flying the flag for a genre of car that many deem irresponsible and outdated.

By subtly and intelligently changing the way the game is played, BMW has breathed new life into the sports saloon.