Everything You Need to Know About the 2018 BMW M5
By Zlatan Stankovic on December 11, 2017
As we head into 2018, there are some huge changes occurring around the world. Every day, it seems as though the news contains yet another change whether this is regarding technology, world politics, or even just the weather. However, some things remain the same year after year; this includes the big car manufacturers releasing brand-new models to the market. Sure, they might get a little more advanced every year but it’s something we can rely upon and BMW has delivered!
If you didn't already guess from our introduction (or from the title!), we’re going to be discussing the BMW M5 today and its 2018 release. Over the years, BMW has become synonymous with high-quality and luxurious cars. Therefore, you can probably guess that the M5 fits into the same mold…but there have been some improvements in both design and engineering. Without further ado, let’s take a look!
With the M5, we have an interesting model because it offers an unbelievable V8 engine boasting over 600 horsepower. However, this isn't the feature that has gained the most attention since the M5 also comes with the new xDrive system. Equipped with more features than ever before, it seems as though the driver has more control and the options have more of an impact on the experience. For example, the M Dynamic Mode and its 4WD Sport setting will make the car feel as though it’s a rear-wheel drive. Yet, at the same time, straight line acceleration provides supreme grip.
Around the race track, we’ve seen the M5 in action and we found it impressive for numerous reasons. First and foremost, having also spoken to people who have driven the model, the M5 focuses on precision and this is to be expected. However, it goes one step further because it also manages to concentrate on the experience of the driver at the same time. If ever you find the 4WD drive option a little restrictive, the control panel will allow you to switch it to 2WD. Let’s not forget, this is a very complex car and the options the driver now has opens it up to a new level of experience of which we could have only dreamed a decade ago.
With this addressed, perhaps we should provide some information on the basics, right? Well, those who follow BMW won’t be surprised to hear there’s an impressive powertrain making it all happen. Thanks to a 4.4-liter biturbocharged V8 engine, the M5 will offer 553 lb-ft of torque alongside around 600 horsepower as we saw earlier. With a 0-62mph time of 3.4 seconds, BMW has managed to match McLaren in terms of acceleration. For most, these times are irrelevant because they aren't practical but we think it’s important to note their speed in relation to McLaren who is known for models with quick acceleration. What’s more, this time can be achieved without needing the reaction time of Lewis Hamilton which is always a good thing.
Therefore, it becomes a model you can really feel working away underneath your feet and in front. Once again, we were lucky enough to have conversations with people who drove the M5 around the Sintra region in Portugal and they all seemed to note common themes. For example, the thought that one little step on the throttle will jump the car forward in an instant was common. After feeling shocked at the responsiveness of the model, they said the M Steptronic eight-speed automatic gearbox was almost interactive. When requiring more speed, the gearbox would drop just at the right time to oblige and this happened regardless of the driving mode.
Furthermore, there’s also the manual shift mode where the ratio changes are extremely smooth. Of course, high-tech computers could find a gap between the change and the action but cars aren't driven by high-tech computers (yet!). Instead, we are the drivers and we couldn't possibly press a button or say a single letter out loud when trying to determine the lag after changing.
Although we seem to say this often when it comes to BMW, they really are the masters of ‘the balance’; this being between luxury and performance. With the M5, it uses the F90 5 Series as the base and then just takes it to a new level. When testing new models such as this, there’s always a big emphasis on the speed and the ability of the car on the highways and this often leaves us in the dark about what it’s like driving at normal speeds and turning corners. With the M5, it’s incredibly quiet under low throttle loads. At all times, both the noise from the tire and from the wind are kept to a minimum. Then, when the situation demands, you can punch the throttle down and let the V8 really release its energy to the world.
Next up, what about the ride quality? Everything we’ve discussed so far is great but it doesn’t mean a thing if the car is rattling around on a bumpy road. Although this might not surprise you, the M5 might as well be driving on a newly-laid road even when driving up a mountain. Sure, maybe this is a slight exaggeration but it always feels smooth. Even when pushed into the sport modes on the control panel, it still feels secure without moving stiffly so this is another benefit to add to the growing list.
Under high g-forces, the BMW is stable compared to what we’ve seen in the past from other manufacturers. We mustn't forget this is a model that can throw you around a little when going around fast corners, but this is to be expected considering the horsepower and pound-feet of torque. Despite its bulky and powerful appearance, this BMW is as agile and nimble as you would hope.
Once again, our review and guide to the M5 meets a fork in the road because we know the model can handle sharp braking under pressure. With the six-piston front brakes, the M5 will be a welcome addition to the track. However, we don’t know many buyers that will take it to the track so is this information rendered useless? Well, perhaps it isn't because it’s still good to know you have support in the event of an emergency stop.
If you don’t happen to like aggressive driving or taking your vehicle to the track to race others, there’s one feature you may not love as much as everything else and it comes with the power steering. When trying to remain stable during a quick turn into the corner, the tuning specific to the M models is definitely helpful because it adds weight to the wheel. However, this doesn’t really provide us with anything for real-world speeds. When on the road and navigating the traffic, the tires can sometimes give up grip while feeling a little numb.
Considering all the great features we’ve already discussed, this one flaw should be put into perspective. In every other area, the M5 builds on the 5 Series and this extends to the interior. When talking about the model to the drivers we met, they weren't exactly small people but they said it was a comfortable experience. As well as feeling comfortable, visibility is superb all the way around from front to back. With the selection of cameras and sensors the driver can enjoy, the day of the ‘blind spot’ is over and you should feel comfortable at all times whether it’s parking or just changing lanes on the highway.
With all of this information covered, there’s only really one more area to explore and this is the technology you’ll find within the M5. In truth, we would probably send you off to sleep listing absolutely everything this BMW has to offer because, well, it’s a lot. However, the best features include the iDrive 6 software and this is all controlled using a stunning central touchscreen. Now, we actually got to test the touchscreen and it’s unbelievable. Not only is it responsive, the graphics are simple and effective. During the testing in Portugal, there were problems with the many roundabouts but this shouldn't be an issue when it comes to the US.
After this, the BMW also supports wireless charging and it has been tested extensively with the iPhone X. If required, the remote-control parking system also comes in handy; in truth, you’re likely to try this just to feel like Batman or James Bond…and we don’t really blame you.
To aid the driving experience, there’s a plethora of other technological features but it’s time to move onto the biggest question of all; what’s the price? Well, the model is expected on the market in the Spring and it’s set to be available for $103,595. Compared to the model it’s replacing, the jump isn't game-changing at $8,000 but it does make the leap past the $100,000 mark. If we compare this to what’s available right now, it’s very similar to the Mercedes-AMG E63 S and around $14,000 more expensive than the Cadillac CTS-V. In truth, all three models are quick and could compete for the luxury sedan title. In addition to this, we also have the Porsche Panamera and Audi RS7 who have both decided to go for four-door models within a similar niche.
Summary - Over the past few minutes, we appreciate that a significant amount of information has been sent your way so how can we sum it up appropriately? With the M5, BMW has a clear aim of combining ability and customer experience. In our own opinion, they’ve been able to negotiate this tricky challenge successfully. Unlike models we’ve seen in the past (from all manufacturers), they haven't forgotten the basics while trying to improve which means cornering is strong and it rides nicely in traffic.
Overall, the technology is continuing its journey and the M5 almost stands as a base point for all the technology now available in the industry. As we sit here now and talk about the model, we sit with smiles on our faces because we have a good idea for how the car will be received in the Spring. If BMW continues on this path of growth, there’s no chance whatsoever that they’ll lose their spot as one of the most well-known and popular manufacturers around the globe!