Review: Performance and Luxury of the BMW M5

The BMW M5, now in its sixth generation, continues to evolve with the introduction of the high-performance M5 Competition and the even more driver-focused M5 CS. Initially launched in 2018 with a 591bhp twin-turbo V8 engine, the M5 quickly saw the addition of the 616bhp Competition model for enhanced track performance. The latest CS version features carbon fiber components, lighter weight, and revised suspension for improved handling. Both models offer formidable acceleration and driving precision but differ in comfort and practicality. While expensive to own and maintain, the M5 remains a technologically advanced and thrilling luxury sedan.


What Car? says…

The best defense is a good offense. This mantra isn’t just for sports or military strategy; it perfectly applies to our subject: the BMW M5.

This sixth-generation M5 launched under five years ago, and yet, BMW keeps pushing the envelope. They continually release versions with more power and capability aimed at overtaking its extreme super-sedan competitors.

When it debuted in 2018, the BMW M5 had a heavily tuned 591bhp version of its predecessor’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine. For many, this would seem sufficient, but BMW thought otherwise. Barely a year later, they introduced the M5 Competition. With 616bhp and a blistering 0-62mph time of just 3.3 seconds, it rivaled aircraft for speed across Europe.

The M5 Competition soon overshadowed the standard M5, leading to the latter’s discontinuation following a mid-life facelift. However, BMW wasn’t done yet. In less than a year, they introduced the even more driver-focused M5 CS.

Performance and Drive

What it’s like to drive and how quiet it is

BMW has made the M5‘s mid-life facelift more user-friendly. Gone are the separate buttons for steering, engine, and suspension calibration. Instead, there’s a ‘Setup’ button and an ‘M-Mode’ button next to the gear lever.

You can use the car’s central touchscreen display to configure these settings all at once. This is definitely easier than the old system. In its softest setting, the adaptive suspension makes the M5 bubble around in a more relaxed fashion compared to its rivals, like the increasingly aggressive Mercedes-AMG E63.

The turbocharged V8 remains quiet and smooth, and the eight-speed automatic gearbox shifts seamlessly. The Competition might not be the most relaxed car of its type, but it’s still less firm than the Audi RS6 or Porsche Panamera.

However, the M5 CS takes it a step further. Despite its lower ride height thanks to revised springs and tweaked anti-roll bars, the CS retains a supple feel. The improved control and responsiveness make it exceedingly fun to drive.


The interior arrangement, fit and finish

When you step inside the M5, the differences between the Competition and a standard 5 Series are subtle but meaningful. You get heavily bolstered, supportive sports seats, seat belts in M Division colors, and a bright red start button. The CS features an even sportier interior, including an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, carbon fiber bucket seats, and more.

All models come with BMW’s Professional Multimedia System, featuring a 12.3-inch widescreen, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, sat-nav, online services, and DAB radio. This system is top-notch, with intuitive menus and responsive software, superior to the sometimes clunky system in the Mercedes-AMG E63.

Passenger and Boot Space

How it deals with people and disorder

Despite its performance capabilities, the M5 doesn’t compromise on practicality. The only real difference from a standard 5 Series is the wider front sport seats, providing more lateral support and ample head and legroom.

The CS is more specialized, featuring more aggressive M carbon buckets borrowed from the BMW M4 CS. This makes entering and exiting the car a bit more challenging, especially in tight car parks. Interestingly, BMW has sealed off the central storage area, supposedly to save weight.

Regarding the boot, both the Competition and CS offer sufficient space for a couple of large suitcases and smaller bags. However, the contoured cargo area can be restrictive when loading bulky items. For ultimate practicality, the Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate is a better choice.

Buying and Owning

Daily costs and how reliable and safe it is

Investing in a high-performance saloon like the BMW M5 might not make logical sense for everyone. Priced similarly to its competitors like the Audi RS6 and Mercedes-AMG E63, the M5 offers a lot for its cost. However, paying a premium for the CS over the Competition is another matter entirely.

Running costs are high due to the powerful engine and premium components. BMW’s weight-saving measures do little to improve fuel economy, which hovers around 25mpg under normal conditions.

That said, the M5 comes loaded with features. From 20-inch alloys and adaptive LED headlights to a limited-slip differential and electronically adjustable heated front seats, the list of standard equipment is impressive.


After delving into the performance, interior, and practicality aspects, it’s clear that the BMW M5 offers a compelling mix of luxury and performance. Whether you opt for the Competition or the even more focused CS, you’re getting a vehicle that excels in engineering and driving pleasure. It stands tall against its rivals, offering a complete package that few can match.

For more details on purchasing an M5 or exploring other models, consider using the free What Car? Buying service, which features appealing deals that could save you money.

5/5 - (244 bình chọn)
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