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New BMW M5 breaks cover at Frankfurt – will it recapture supersaloon supremacy?

Adam Towler
13 Sep 2017

BMW’s latest M5 produces 592bhp, directed to all four wheels for the first time in the model's history

The sixth generation BMW M5 lined up at the Frankfurt motor show to make its long-awaited public debut. BMW brought two examples to Frankfurt, one in the new Marina Bay Blue and the other in a limited edition Frozen Dark Red colour. The all-new 592bhp supersaloon, christened the F90, based on the latest G30 generation of the 5 series will go on sale next February priced from £89,640.

For the first time the M5 is four-wheel drive, breaking an M-car tradition – recent SUVs aside – that goes back to the earliest days of BMW’s high performance sub brand. However, as we already know, M xDrive will still offer a rear-wheel drive only mode, albeit with no form of stability or traction control available if ‘2WD’ is selected. In that way it’s similar to its key rival, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, which also offers a fashionable ‘drift’ mode.

> Click here for our preview drive of the new BMW M5

The revised 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 offers 592bhp and 553lb-ft of torque, a significant increase on the outgoing standard car (F10M), if not special editions such as the 30 Jahre. The turbochargers have been revised, along with the lubrication and cooling systems, and fuel injection pressure has been raised to 350 bar. The other major development is the switch to a torque converter automatic gearbox, the previous generation having used the M DCT twin-clutch solution. BMW claims there is no loss of performance with this latest generation of Steptronic ‘box over its twin-clutch alternative, but that everyday refinement is improved.

With the adoption of four-wheel drive and its traction advantage, the new M5 has joined the burgeoning ranks of cars with increasingly bewildering performance stats. 0-62mph is claimed to take just 3.4sec (compared to 4.3sec in the old car), with 0-124mph a scant 11.1sec. Top speed is limited to 155mph. Such figures put it on a par with the more powerful E63 S, which offers 604bhp and 627lb-ft for very slightly less money. However, we expect the M5 to undercut the AMG’s 1,955kg kerbweight by around 100kg, thanks in part to an aluminium bonnet and front wings, plus a CFRP roof. Carbon ceramic brakes are an option, saving a further 23kg.

Naturally, the chassis has been thoroughly upgraded, too, with firmer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. There will be no shortage of setup options and driving modes with the new M5, as might be expected: the Drivelogic control of the gearbox offers three settings, with manual control via the gear selector and steering wheel paddles, plus there are three settings for the engine, steering and chassis in the usual fashion. Preferred setups can be saved under M1 and M2 programmes, accessible via the steering wheel.  

 > Click here for our review of the Mercedes-AMG E63 S

The M5’s body is pumped up in the manner we’ve come to expect of a big M saloon, while wheels are bi-colour cast 20-inch items, shod with a 275/35 tyre on the front axle and a 285/30 on the rear. Black wheels are a cost option. Inside there are new M Multifunctional seats, a red starter button and a head-up display amongst numerous items of standard and optional equipment.

We’ll get a proper go sometime in November, with customers receiving cars early next year, but with the also all-wheel drive Mercedes-AMG E63 S and Porsche Panamera Turbo currently ruling the supersaloon class, the BMW M5 will need to be pretty special to clearly shine through


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