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2013 BMW M5

Posted Feb 13th 2013 12:05PM

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The Sport Sedan Benchmark is More of Everything



The BMW M5 continues to become more of everything year-over-year. BMW has taken their already solid performing outgoing model (the E60), and supplanted it with a car that does everything just better. The laundry list of improvements also includes, the aesthetics because there were many enthusiasts polarized by the exterior of the last M5. It wasn't aggressive enough they moaned, they pleaded it was too much of a departure from the BMW heritage. Well, the 2013 BMW M5 has delivered on those fronts and although, the heritage of naturally aspirated power is now in the rearview, what can be said of the new direction for the M5?

We've tested the highly-anticipated F10 M5 in both North American-spec and Euro-spec cars, including the elusive 6MT model! That's right: six speeds commanding the twin turbo V8 through your right hand and left foot. We've flogged it on tracks, hooned it on skidpads and spent a lot of seat time on the daily grind to and from the Autoblog Canada office in downtown Toronto. We've become very familiar with the F10 M5 as if it were a long-term tester of sorts and now that it has been returned to the press fleet, we can really provide a solid cross-section of what buyers can expect out of this multi-purpose sport sedan.




Lurking underneath is a massive set of rear tires and enormous brakes...

The purity of the M5 is the stuff legends are made from. Traditionally these sedans were uncorked versions of the 5-series, hand-built in limited numbers to the open ares of collectors. As the plan began to deviate slightly, these sedans increased in numbers and were built by machines - but their legacy remained. Of course, the purists took issue with the fact that the M5 would not be propelled by a snappy, high-revving V10 but rather a twin turbo eight. For those on the inside, it was deja vu since the same crew also complained about the switch from individual throttle body-equipped inline-6 to V8 as well. But the V10 is gone, forever, and this is the new reality because BMW has bet the farm on turbocharged motors.

When pictures and video of the new M5 began to surface, we immediately warmed up to the design. Back was BMW's upright and aggressive fascia with large flared nostril grilles and a headlight design that rejected the wind-swept beams of the past. The aluminum hood is sculpted to perfection and functional creases also reappeared in the body along the sides of the sedan. The rear of the vehicle is trademark M5, super wide with quad exhausts poking out on either side of the diffuser. Lurking underneath is a massive set of rear tires and enormous brakes situated behind a classic split spoke wheel. Our tester, finished in Space Grey Metallic would seem like a logical choice for an M5 since it blends in well with the masses but is clearly trumps everything around it upon second glance. An additional glance prompted onlookers to ask if it's a real M5, we dig the fact it isn't totally obvious to most out there.

Dimensionally, this is a fairly large automobile creating confusion with the public compared to the current 7-series. The F10 chassis is wider and has a 76mm longer wheelbase than the outgoing E60 (and appeared to dwarf the E38 7-series sedan we parked next to it). Naturally, the M5 is wider and 18mm lower than its 5-Series stablemates to accommodate the beefy rubber and to keep it grounded. BMW has deleted the fold down rear seat option to retain rigidity in the chassis but still offers a wealth of trunk space totaling 521-litres (18.4 cubic feet).



Traditionally these sedans were uncorked versions of the 5-series, hand-built in limited numbers...

The M5 most certainly doesn't leave any confusion when it comes to the performance of the vehicle. With a 4.4L V8 under hood cranking out 560 hp from 5,750 to 7,000 rpm and a delicious 500 lb-ft between 1,500 and 5,750 rpm – the available power is intoxicating. On some surfaces and in the wet, this car will spark up the traction control light when you stomp on it doing triple digits! The motor seems to have available torque all over the place and will climb to redline so fast you better have your trigger finger on the paddle shifter. Mated to the 7-speed dual clutch (M-DCT) with DriveLogic, this transmission shifts remarkably fast.

For a large sedan, it most certainly can perform the impossible by hurling itself from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in only 4.4 seconds. There are claims our there of even less using the innovative launch control feature, something we weren't able to replicate since the conditions were less than ideal and required a formal drag strip. Around the circuit, the 7-speed in auto mode is spectacular, clicking off laser sharp shifts with precision, blipping on downshift and adding some crackling backfire. Manual mode was our weapon of choice and the amount of control afforded by us being able to keep hands on the wheel and braced in the car leads to quicker lap times without question. Sorry manual fans but the dual clutch technology has arrived to embarrass even the best of shifters out there – yours truly included.

Around town, it's obvious that the motor and driveline is more content howling at wide-open throttle. The 1st gear is a tad jerky and we found ourselves leaving it in 2nd in traffic to improve smoothness and reduce noise. The exhaust note seems to have this dual personality with a kind of boxer-esque put-put noise being piped into the cabin. It certainly isn't the noise we expected coming out of the hyped-up V8 but climb above 5,000 rpm and it's a very different tune, one that leaves us salivating for more. The majority of our time in the M5 was set up with M Drive and M Driving Dynamics Control controls to their Sport+ mode cinching up the suspension and ramping up the responsiveness. At some rpm the engine noise sounds a bit synthetic – and that's because it is: the M5 augments the soundtrack by playing engine noises through the stereo system.




...the available power is intoxicating.

The suspension has most certainly been slaved over by BMW engineers because this is a 1975 kg (4,345-pound) sedan that appears to do the impossible. The suspension is complimented well by the running gear consisting of 19-inch lightweight alloys wearing Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires measuring 265/40R19 with healthy 295/35R19 rears. On any big sweeper, the M5 will afford loads of grip and stability at extremely high speeds, it's on the tighter corners and under braking that the vehicle starts to reveal its true weight. However, we found that to get it to pivot around certain corners, the throttle brought it home real quick by powering-over on demand. The weigh transition is smooth and predictable and even in MDM mode allows just a minimal amount of slip rather than taking away all the fun. Turn off MDM and well, you really are acknowledging you have the skills to pull it off; the M5 can be a real handful and unforgiving at times.

The braking performance is phenomenal bringing this flying super sedan to reasonable speeds or to a complete stop in seconds. These M brakes are monumental in stature as well with blazing blue powder-coating covering the six-piston fronts and single floating rear clampers biting down on cross-drilled 400 mm and 396 mm respectively. We really put the brakes through the paces in searing temperatures and were thrilled to see these binders were not backing down from a challenge and any noticeable fade was only encountered by a slightly soft pedal feel after hard use. It's no wonder that the 7:55 lap times the F10 M5 has churned on the Nürburgring are in sports car territory and 20-seconds faster than the outgoing M5. An improvement indeed but if you really need the outrageous carbon ceramic brake package to be a track hero, that will set you back $6,750.




Inside the cabin we are treated to a sport-infused version of the 5-series interior. From materials to buttons, to shifter, there is plenty to differentiate the M5 from the standard version and truth be told, the seats themselves probably deserve an entire paragraph. The first thing one will notice about these seats is the M logo embossed into the headrest, a headrest that is adjustable much like what might be seen on airplane seats. The headrest has adjustable flaps that will allow driver and passenger to have bolsters for their heads while being whipped around turns. The side bolsters are more than adequate and there is the trademark thigh supports found on all BMW sport seats. When fully set up to your preference, it's tough to top these 18-way adjustable and active seats which are also ventilated as part of the $9,500 executive package (front and rear heated seats are standard). Finished in full Marino leather ($4,500), the look and feel in the cabin was definitely on-point.

Surrounded by Alcantara at every turn, the interior remains luxurious and virtually silent. A micro-weave aluminum trim was a welcome addition away from pretentious carbon fibre or played out wood inserts. The leather-wrapped M-wheel is compact and easy to manipulate although it could be a bit less thick to wrap the average digits around. The M Shifter has been the subject of debate since there is no "P" for parking. Yes, we've gotten familiar with the up-is-downshift and vice versa thing, but that lack of a parking button was confusing, it seemed unnatural to have to crack open a manual just to place a car in park.

Up front and centre is the iDrive system that has evolved well. When the iDrive stormed onto the scene back in 2002 it was bizarre and clunky, however the latest iteration with ConnectedDrive and improved navi is one of the leaders out there. And based on our peek at the next gen product, this tech will only improve. The iDrive in M cars allows users to set up two distinct M Drive modes to suit conditions and then select them fast on the steering wheel when the demand arises. Should you want to quickly customize any of the settings, there are some quick buttons surrounding the shifter. M-buttons aside, one button you'll want to toggle regularly is the parking assist button, which seems to chime away even when the car is placed back in drive after reverse or in neutral with the e-brake on while idling.



The impressive cluster is easy to read and very concise. The analogue dials are a welcome simplicity, they are surrounded by engine lights that may pop up and of course customized warming lights for everything from seatbelts, to engine oil levels to our personal favourite - the checkered flag of the launch control. While the cluster is a work of minimalist art, the heads up display is great visual technology for those in the zone, you can have a number of items customized on the inner windshield such as: speed, rpm, limit, navigation and warnings. Also adding to the sense of heads up driving is the BMW night vision that uses and infrared eye hidden in the grille to see all of the obstacles hiding in the dark. For added safety, our Executive Package tester also included high beam assistance, active blindspot detection, lane departure warning and surround view cameras. Owners will also appreciate the rear sunshades, soft close doors and auto trunk close button. Suffice it to say, it's quite the space ship.

With a base price of $101,500 and an as tested price of $115,500, the M5 is likely not for everyone. With the svelt M6 Gran Coupé on the horizon, we wonder if the sleeker car might make the M5 appear a bit stodgy and dated – but the market will decide that. Fuel economy is certainly decent for a hulking 560 horsepower sedan. The M5 achieves 13.2 L/100km in the city and a respectable 8.6 L/100km in the highway with a combined measure of 11.1 L/100 km. It is interesting to note that the fuel economy of the slightly lighter manual car is worse, oh how times have changed and BMW has embraced that change.



With a base price of $101,500 and an as tested price of $115,500, the M5 is likely not for everyone.

While the jury may be out on whether the M6 Gran Coupe might be a better four door than the M5 - the legendary M5 certainly has plenty going for it. Not only does it have more interior room, a fifth seat, and a more cavernous trunk, it's an M5. And that badge branding alone offers the driver all kinds of credibility at the country club. With a wealth of 4-door supercars out there, the M5 is most certainly holding its ground as the most composed, yet most nasty track car at the flick of a switch.

Autoblog Short Cuts: 2012 BMW M5

Image Credit: Copyright 2013 Dave Pankew / AOL

Category: BMW, Sedan, Performance

Tags: 2013 bmw m5, 5 series, bmw, featured, m5, m5 6mt, m5 manual

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