2019 BMW M5 Competition First Drive: A Little More Of Everything

What is it?

A stronger, faster, even more extreme version of the BMW M5. More power, that's exactly what this car has always needed, right? Let's recap: the "normal" M5 sends 600 horsepower to a smart all-wheel-drive system (which you can disable if you want to drift smoky circles around your fellow hedge fund managers) and can get to 60 in 3.4 seconds.

In our last test of it, we complained about the almost restrained, supercooled character of the car. Or to put it in a nutshell: while the power was there, the sound and steering didn’t make the hairs on the back of our neck stand up. The new M5 Competition starts here, but gets a little more uncompromising along the way. But are these improvements enough to elevate the BMW over its arch-rival, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S?

What's new?

Well, the most striking innovation is certainly the performance increase for the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of having their guts rearranged by this monster will wonder what need there is for extra power.

Thanks to software tweaks, the eight-cylinder now makes 617 hp. The maximum torque remains the same at 553 pound-feet, but it’s available across a slightly broader range of engine speeds (1,800 to 5,800 rpm instead of 5,600). The M5 Competition hits 62 in 3.3 seconds (a tenth faster than the standard car), and 124 mph is...