A super saloon

K Shivraj
Saturday, 7 April 2018

Practical, strong and luxurious, the latest BMW M5 is a bit bulky, but athletic

BMW has launched the 2018 M5 in India at a price of Rs 1.43 crore ex-showroom. It is the sixth-generation model and traces its roots to the first M-badged 5-Series super saloon that was launched 30 years ago. The new car looks more athletic but is a bit bulky. 

The snout is made of two ‘kidney’ grilles that seem to look bigger than those of the earlier model. The completely redesigned bumper with its enlarged air openings has the task of addressing the needs of systems and brakes even when racing on the track. 

Flaunting a wider track than the car it replaces, the new M5 has front wings made of aluminium to save weight; they carry characteristic M-sport cooling gills. The long bulging bonnet is also made of aluminium. 

The sides convey an impression of a muscular form with well-defined portions and a taut skin interjected by sharp lines. The coupe-like pillar leads to a nicely flowing roof that is made of light and stable carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). 

While the 20-inch dia wheels fill up the wheel arches, the new car adorns dynamics designed M-specific exterior mirrors.

Sporting a redesigned rear diffuser, the M-specific rear apron and M rear spoiler couple to form purposeful sill panels. They enhance the sporty and powerful appearance of the super saloon. 

Luxurious interior
The new M5 has an interior that entirely focuses on the driver. Offering space for up to four passengers, a large boot and high levels of comfort akin to those of the 5-Series saloon, the new M5 packs loads of kit to make it ideal for everyday use as well as for blazing on the track. The 600hp, 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine produces such amount of torque that the car comes with a torque convertor laced eight-speed auto transmission. The four-wheel drive system has a distinct rear bias, and transfers power to the front only when it detects a slip. To increase the rear bias, one could choose the 4WD Sport mode. A rear-wheel drive mode cuts off the front and could be used to slide around corners on the track. Providing the function to adjust the speed of gearshifts, the weight of the steering, the stiffness of the dampers and the throttle response, the new M5 comes with two ‘M’ buttons that allow quick access programming. A central intelligence unit integrates various systems of the car concerning its dynamic ability. Riding on 275/35 and 285/35 tyres at the front and rear, respectively, the super saloon has been fitted with carbon ceramic discs and various other bits that contribute to its enviable stature.    

0 to 100kmph in 3.5 sec
The steering is quick, and feels lighter than that of the earlier M5, and helps the car display an impressive agility to squeeze past in traffic. Lighter than the previous model by 15kg, the new super saloon accelerates fast — 0 to 100kmph in 3.5 seconds. As the tyres bite into the tarmac, and the car catapults, the snarl of the eight-cylinder engine is music to the ears. It provides mighty encouragement, and the transmission acts swiftly and with conviction to keep the engine turning in the sweet spot. If the four-wheel drive system provides a bit of extra security in tricky conditions without taking away the driving experience of a rear wheel drive saloon, the car provides explosive performance in no uncertain terms. 

Six modes
The chassis is superb, however, the steering could do with more weight and feedback. It does not, however, rob the car from displaying impressive agility. The feeling of the front waking up with a mild shudder when entering to a sweeping bend, the choice of right mode intensely helps. One could choose between 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD.  The last mode is best used on the track. The six different gearbox modes achieved by using a switch on the shifter. Of the six, three are for auto mode, and the rest are for sequential manual shifts. 

Verdict
There’s a stiff edge to the ride at low speeds, and may have to do with the massive 20-inch dia wheels the car rides on. It improves with speed. The high level of insulation has the occupants ensconced in a cabin that is luxuriously appointed. 
A true driver’s car that tends to shrink around him, the new M5 combines the best of both worlds — a high-performance sports car and a business vehicle. 

Pros: Performance, dynamics, kit, comfort, agile
Cons: Expensive
 

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