BMW M5 Competition Test Drive Review
We do a detailed road test review of the BMW M5 Competition.
Car Tested: BMW M5 Competition; Road Test No. 1259; Test Location: Mumbai
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 1,82,83,069/-
If the regular M5 wasn’t sporty enough for you, the M5 Competition’s absurd acceleration is nothing shy of a javelin throw
The BMW M5 is a car that is a perfect mix of daily usability and hardcore performance. However, this being an ‘M’ car always means that there is always more performance to be found. So, the BMW M5 competition tips the balance more in the direction of performance. So, what have they exactly done with the Competition version, of an already pretty competitive package?
Exteriors – The exterior of this car is sleek, really sleek. While the body lines and creases are mostly inherited from the 5-Series, the M5 competition trades the bling for black and sits aggressively. The 5 series has a very professional look to it in general, and that understated elegance can be seen ever so slightly, especially with the headlights.
BMW has made perfect use of black elements to give the M5 Competition a sporty, mean and aggressive look
Along the side, save for the blacked-out bits and the flared fenders, the outline really has stayed the same, naturally. However, the blacked-out wheels we have here make the car look menacing. Through these wheels you can see the beefy brakes, this car gets.
The rear is where you really get the M treatment. The diffuser area has completely been blacked out and the shaping itself gives it a very aggressive look. The diffuser is also flanked by the quad exhaust pipes, through which the V8 engine exhales. The sound made by the exhausts is a sheer treat, and the sports exhaust comes as standard with the Competition package.
The Competition package may not be super loud in appearance but it is just the perfect amount of stealth for the M5
So all in all, the design of the BMW M5 very well ties in with what the M series’ design is all about- a passive-aggressive look. For some, this may be a tad too civilised, but what BMW has done here is make the car more amicable with use case scenarios other than the race track. That is something that would certainly benefit the ownership experience.
Interiors – The interior of the BMW M5 is what you would expect from BMW. Save for the red start-stop button and the red “M” buttons, and the “M” branded gear knob, the rest of the visible equipment is pretty much from the 5-series. All the changes made to the interior, apart from the more aggressive seats, are quite subtle.
The Competition package adds even more sportier seats along with “M” branded gear knob and buttons
Now things have not changed, because they work really well. There’s not a single complaint one can have about the interior layout and materials. The quality of materials and fit and finish is also supreme, even considering the price point.
The steering feels nice to hold, all the actuations and motion inside the interior are damped just right, and everything, in general, falls into place just the way you want it to. The ambient lighting with its extensive customisation uplifts the theme of the interior, as has been the trend with all recent BMWs.
BMW’s iDrive infotainment still feels best-in-class and comes loaded with all the features and equipment
Another trend with recent BMWs is tech. This car, like almost every other BMW, is kitted to the brim with technology. All the BMW bells and whistles like the cool 360-degree camera tech all make an appearance here. The iDrive infotainment is very smooth to use and comes with Apple CarPlay, with Android Auto coming soon.
All the elements of the interior are precisely put together, and you have a place where you can clock the long miles if you need to, very comfortably and moreover it does not sacrifice the necessary interior upgrades such as performance seats to match up with the rest of the upgrades this car gets. This car gets all the equipment one would expect given its position and claims, but it’s subtly woven into what BMW already has.
Performance – The BMW M5 Competition is powered by the same 4.4-litre V8 bi-turbo engine that does duty on the regular M5, making an identical 750 Nm of torque between 1800-5860 RPM which is a very wide peak torque band. However, BMW has upped the power by 25 HP and the Competition makes 625 HP, making it 0.1 second faster than both the regular M5 as well as the Mercedes-AMG E63s. Performance is insane, to say the least, there is a good amount of punch throughout the rev range with turbo lag being well contained. The mid-range is stupendous while the car absolutely screams in the redline which is a shade above 7000 RPM, getting there quite swiftly too!
The Competition packages adds an extra 25 HP making it 0.1 second faster than the regular M5 and Mercedes AMG-E63s
The motor is very refined but gets vocal in the mid-range and the M5 Competition does some serious speeds. Here are some numbers to give you a rough idea of its capability – 0-100 km/hr in 3.3 seconds (with Launch Control which just doesn’t work somehow), 0-200 km/hr in 10.8 seconds (0.3 seconds quicker than the regular M5) while the top speed is 250 km/hr or 305 km/hr (with the M Driver’s package). The engine (Efficient, Sport, Sport Plus), gearbox (slow, medium, fast), steering (Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus), dampers (Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus) and exhaust (regular, loud) can be configured (you can pre-set the steering mounted M1 and M2 buttons too).
This makes the BMW M5 feel very different depending on the mode. The gearbox is an 8-speed torque converter unit while the fifth generation F10M used a 7-speed DCT. Thus the transmission is fast but not lightning quick although it’s smooth and lets you take manual control of the cogs using either the steering mounted paddles or the gear lever. ARAI rated mileage is 9.8 km/l but in the real world, expect somewhere between 5-8 km/l. The M5 isn’t very vocal on the move as it’s insulated quite well but there are fake sounds which play through the speakers. At idle though, it sounds great (with the exhaust valve open) as it pops and cracks aggressively when you rev it hard.
Driving Dynamics – BMW has made several changes to the Competition version of the M5, it’s lower by 7 mm (the GC now stands at 128 mm), there is a new anti-roll bar at the front, the dampers have been re-tuned and the springs are now 10% stiffer too for an even firmer ride. The regular M5 has a very stiff ride and the Competition is borderline unbearable, at least on our roads which are far far far from perfect. You can feel the stiffness almost all the time but that does lend it great handling with body roll being extremely well contained.
The M5 Competition’s stiff suspension setup leads to an extremely harsh ride quality but great ride and handling balance
The steering is a very quick unit, it’s light at low speeds and weighs up at high speeds but doesn’t feel too heavy, it doesn’t have the best feel though and doesn’t transmit much feedback. The car does belie it’s weight to a great extent but push it hard and you know there is 1850 kgs of mass to lug, slightly lighter than the regular M5 thanks to the carbon fibre roof. The M5 uses BMW’s xDrive 4WD system and power is more rear-biased with the system activating the front axle only when it detects the need.
One can also go to 4WD Sport for even more rear-biased power delivery or complete 2WD mode which is nothing but drift mode (DSC needs to be turned off for this). There is also a DSC Sport mode for less traction control intrusion. The Active M Differential is able to split torque between the rear wheels for even better traction while the wide tyres offer plenty of grip. Braking performance is stellar too with ample stopping power but the discs tend to squeak a bit.
Verdict – Until the recent launch of the M8. If you wanted the best performance from the M division, the M5 was the one to get. Even today, the BMW M5 is the most practical M car you can get that doesn’t sacrifice performance.
The M5’s design and interior is quite understated and professional, almost masking the potency of the power of this car. In the right settings, you could almost forget how much power there is waiting to be used under your command. This car really is like Usain Bolt with a suit on. Immense power in a professional-looking form.
The theme of M cars has always been just that. Delivering a package that not just puts a smile on your face when you hit the accelerator, or go around a bendy bit of a road, but also make it practically usable everywhere else.
The Competition package with its extra power and cosmetic changes is swaying the scale more in the direction of performance, than daily usability. So, for the hardcore buyers, who don’t have the idea to use it for mundane tasks, the Competition package is the one to go for.
What’s Not So Cool
Alternatives – Mercedes-Benz AMG E63s, Audi RS7
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