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Published on October 8th, 2011 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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2012 BMW New M5 Is The Best….or not…….we test drive it.

 

Can this new BMW M5 move the competition to revise their cars quickly enough? We test drive it In Spain.

For many affluent drivers, speed has become an important factor and the desire to drive as fast as humanly possible is becoming a priority. However no longer is the speed demon a driver in a turbocharged sub-compact ripping around the countryside, instead it is more likely to be a driver in a sleek sports performance built car or in a super tuned sports sedan. Today’s speed demon seeks to drive at insane speeds in absolute comfort seeking the best in cabin comfort together with the highest safety standards possible in a machine. We test drive the very latest from BMW the V8 twin turbo M5 which we had the pleasure of seeing the first time at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show and just a month later we are offered a drive by BMW Malaysia in Seville Spain on the open roads and also on the Ascari race circuit.

The suit
The all new BMW M5 greeted us at the car park with its stunning coachwork. The newly added aerodynamic ‘M’ kit ‘slims’ the overall car down a notch. From the flanged nose right up to the sexy rear rump it was filled with styling cues that only BMW can conjure up.  One might even say that it is a bold design that wants attention from all ages. There are distinctive signs of the 7 Series and the Z4 as we walk around taking our time to run our fingers lightly across this well detailed coach. A quick walk around the car and you are greeted by a look that is fierce with a stance that is aggressive riding on large busy looking 19inch alloys which have been carefully gift wrapped with Michelin sticky rubbers.

The overall effect is engaging. Extensive use of aluminum on the doors and fenders have assisted to keep weight down.

The environment
We sigh at the though of never being able to afford this beast and grab the chunky door handles and the door swings open to a rather inviting interior that can be best described as heavenly. The waft of the finest leather fills our nostrils and we slide into a leather wrapped ‘M’ designed armchair that softly extends to accept our frame. There is a mix of the finest leather, plastic and brushed alumnium in front and around us and it imparts a sense of occasion as we gently run our fingers against the dashboard appreciating the hours taken by specialized artisans to put this interior together. From my first professional meeting with the brand some 10 years ago at a motorcar show and later at various test drives, BMW’s have managed to reward its owners with a product that is well composed like a symphony.

The heart
The M5 is now equipped with 4.4-liter twin scroll twin turbocharged V8 engine that produces some 560 horsepower and 680Nm of torque. This race breed engine is mounted to a 7-speed ‘M’ double clutch gearbox that has a mode for more fun with the use of well endowed ‘UP’ and ‘DOWN’ shifters at the back of the steering wheel.

The drive
Ignite the engine and the hair on your arms will rise with the engine revolution. It is not as intoxicating but not enough for our hair to stand on ends. After all this is a luxury sports sedan and how would enjoy the comfort and elegance of the interior with a F1 induced engine rumble impending the serenity of the cabin. Behind the three spoke steering wheel there are gearbox paddle shifters that look more serious that the ones found on other cars. These shifters look and feel like what they are supposed to do. To shift gears fast and with ultimate fluidity. Unlike other paddle shifters that other manufacturers seem to try and ‘hide’ on the steering wheels, this immediately informs the driver that he needs to have ‘hair’ on his chest once the engine gets to ‘party’ temperature. Grab the solid feeling gearshifter on your right and you just need to ‘tap’ it into drive. We take to the road with some restricted excitement allowing ourselves to be acquainted while learning its possibilities. You sit rather high and a commanding view is available in front and the sides.

We hit the highway soon enough and it is time to take leave of the gearshifter and plant both our hands on the steering wheel and negotiate the paddle shifters. We leave the moving traffic and push the engine across the revolution range. The note is subdued before 2500 engine revolutions. Fly past 3500 revs and the note changes to an intoxicating scream as it rushes even faster to max out and force us to move a gear up. 225km/h is reached in a short breath and we restrain ourselves to avoid parking on the road shoulder and conversing with the local Spanish law enforcement. It is fast. Not only fast but surefooted and planted as we continue our run. You can feel the chassis working with you to keep on your desired trajectory and with ‘Sport’ M1 mode activated (a simple button on the steering wheel) the car reacts with even more excitement stiffening the ride and increasing the engine speed.

On the quick and twisty village back roads this M5’s ride was a little unsettling as it is tuned more now for comfort but on the long windy and straight it was pure fun as we slipped in and out of traffic on the highway. This M5 has a pretty neutral handling balance. In medium-speed turns, you can feel the rear tires bite in a most reassuring way. This balance, together with the flat cornering encourages tossing the car into corners. The M5 driver has to respond to what the chassis is doing, but ensures that the driver is more involved. M2 mode leaves the traction control off, but ready to react. It is not advisable on village roads as the power that this M5 puts down on the gravel is immense and might take away your breath on full throttle.

Still we tried it for a short 5 kilometer burst and the traction did keep coming back to keep us on our pace safely.

The conclusion
Whichever way you look at its ownership possibilities, it must be noted that only a Mercedes or Bentley owner will consider this M5 as a possible alternative. It may be a tad slower than the Benz E63 AMG or the Panamera 4S Turbo, but when you consider the lineage and all round appeal, this new 5th generation M5 could see good sales when and where it is sold.

BMW M5 Specifications 

Type:

V8, 4395cc

Power bhp at RPM:

560 / 6000-7000

Torque Nm at RPM:

680 / 1500-5750

Tires F-R:

245/30 ZR19 – 285/40 ZR19

Gearbox:

7-speed Dual Clutch

Acceleration 0-62 mph s:

4.4

Top Speed mph:

155 (190 with M Drivers Package)


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