The 2018 BMW M5 finally arrived, and it was worth the wait. The latest generation of BMW’s venerable performance sedan packs a more powerful engine and a new way of delivering the output to the road. To put the super saloon’s advancements into perspective, let’s compare it with the previous generation, which dates back to an original debut in 2012.
Under the Hood
The M5 has a reputation as a sedan that can eat up miles at high speed while keeping occupants in comfort. The latest iteration (left) of the performance-oriented four-door continues to pack a biturbo 4.4-liter V8, but power grows to 591 horsepower (441 kilowatts) versus 552 hp (412 kW) previously. To boost the output, BMW’s engineers install new turbochargers and add indirect cooling for the charge air. Higher fuel injection pressure also helps. A variable oil pump makes sure that there’s adequate engine lubrication even when driving hard. An eight-speed automatic gearbox also replaces the previous seven-ratio unit.
The extra grunt and additional gear help shave significant time off the run to 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour). The sedan now requires just 3.4 seconds to reach that speed, rather than 4.2 seconds previously.
The quicker acceleration also comes from the M5 abandoning its venerable rear-drive layout in favor of all-wheel drive with an active rear differential. Five, driver-selectable configurations tweak the stability control and alter between standard, sport, and full two-wheel-drive settings. The quickest lap times would likely come from a combination of M Dynamic mode and 4WD Sport, but drivers might get the most laughs from the pure, rear-drive configuration.
BMW's designers need to maintain a tough balancing act with the M5 because the model's looks must communicate its performance but aiming at wealthy executives and other businesspeople means that the additional styling elements can't be too cartoonish. For the new sedan (left), the company replaces the standard 5 Series' front bumper with larger intakes for directing air to the cooling system and brakes. The firm took a similar approach for the previous-generation model (pictured right in 30 Jahre edition guise).
As with the last M5, the new model's hood is aluminum. The roof now uses carbon fiber-reinforced plastic to save weight.
From the side, the new 5 Series' design showcases its long hood and steeper raked hood. The new M5 comes standard with 275/40 tires in front and 285/40 rubber in the back. The latest specs are slightly wider than the previous gen's 265/35 front tires but somewhat narrower than the earlier sedan's 295/30 rear units.
As before, the new M5 features a quartet of exhaust pipes sticking out of either side of a rear diffuser. The latest model also has a tiny, practically invisible, lip spoiler on the trunk lid.
Inside, the M5 benefits greatly from BMW's design upgrades for the latest 5 Series. For example, the hexagonal layout for the center stack looks far more visually interesting than the previous-generation model. Merino leather continues to be a standard feature and a head-up display is still available. According to BMW, the new ones feature improved lateral support over the older model's seats.
The 2018 M5 debuts at the Frankfurt Motor Show in a few weeks, but deliveries don't begin until spring 2018. Prices in the United States also aren't yet available. In Europe, prices start at 117,900 euros ($139,212 at current exchange rates). In the meantime, check out Motor1's mega gallery below that showcases the M5's full history in over 300 images.