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BMW M5

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About BMW M5

There are sport sedans, and then there's the BMW M5. No other car in recent memory has been able to represent the ideal for this segment as strongly as the Bimmer. For each of its five generations, the M5 has impressively blended sports car performance, sedan utility and luxury ambience.

The M5 is a product of BMW's performance-tuning M Division. It's based on the 5 Series sedan, and historical calling cards include a unique and more powerful engine, a sport-tuned suspension, more powerful brakes, special wheels and tires, and aerodynamics-enhancing bodywork. Though the most recent BMW M5 is the most powerful of the group, any M5 still represents a fantastic choice for a luxury sport sedan. Even M5s from the 1980s and '90s were significant performers for their day, though are much harder to find because of their rarity.

Current BMW M5
The current BMW M5 is all-new for 2012. Like the 5 Series upon which it is based, this M5 is larger than its predecessor, with an improved interior and more traditional BMW styling. Compared to the last M5, however, the current one swapped out the old V10 for a twin-turbo V8, while gaining a more advanced automated manual transmission, a limited-slip rear differential, upgraded brakes and enhanced adjustable drive settings. Unlike the regular 5 Series, the M5 sticks with more responsive and communicative hydraulic power steering rather than electric.

Underneath the hood, the M5 packs a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 good for 560 horsepower and 501 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual are standard, while a six-speed manual is available. Unlike the high-strung engines that came before it, this turbocharged lump enjoys a mountain of low-end torque and doesn't let up as the revs build. This is an astonishingly quick car.

How the M5 drives is largely determined by which of the myriad drive settings you choose. Steering weight, suspension firmness, throttle response, transmission shift programming and stability control can all be altered to your exact desire. This differs from regular BMW models with such adjustable settings that conform to three or four combinations programmed by BMW. The overall result is a car that can be docile for a commute and a vicious, corner-attacking machine on a winding road.

As always, the current BMW M5 manages to be a high-performance machine that can do double duty as an everyday conveyance. There are several other cars that do a similar trick, but the M5 is the car that arguably inspired them all. Its engine may be a departure from past models, and its size may make it seem a bit unwieldy at times, but there's no denying the current M5 maintains its high-speed cred.

Previous BMW M5 Models
The previous, fourth-generation BMW M5 was produced from the 2006-'10 model years. As expected, it was a high-performance luxury sedan designed to offer more performance than the regular 5 Series sedan sold during the same time period. The car's most significant change from its predecessors was under the hood, where BMW shoehorned in a 5.0-liter V10 capable of 500 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.

This normally aspirated and high-revving engine was connected to a seven-speed sequential-shift manual transmission (SMG) that sent power to the rear wheels. Drivers could place the transmission in automatic mode or perform exceptionally quick manual gearshifts without a clutch by using steering-wheel-mounted paddles. The downside was an unrefined, herky-jerky performance during more sedate, around-town driving. M5s produced from 2007 onward were available with a traditional six-speed manual, however.

While BMW chose to incorporate plenty of advanced technology into the M5's drivetrain, the car's suspension was treated to a more back-to-basics approach. Unlike the standard-issue 5 Series of that era, the M5 lacked active steering, active roll bars and run-flat tires. What the car had were an exceptionally well-tuned suspension setup, electronically controlled dampers, lightweight 19-inch wheels, performance tires and massive brakes.

As with previous M5s, the fourth generation didn't sacrifice much comfort to achieve its high-performance abilities. Just about every luxury feature came standard, and whether it's used for daily commuting, impressing clients or blasts on empty canyon roads, a used M5 from this generation will be up to the task. However, while this M5 remains a capable sport sedan, we aren't as fond of this generation and think some competing sport sedans are more desirable.

Besides the addition of the six-speed manual, there were only subtle changes made throughout the fourth-generation M5's life. Prior to 2010, the M5 featured older versions of BMW's iDrive electronics interface. These made even the simplest stereo or climate-control functions complicated to use. The changes for 2010 made it far more user-friendly.

For some BMW enthusiasts, the third-generation M5 is still the best. The 5 Series on which it was based (the fourth-generation 5) was an excellent platform and highly regarded in terms of styling, size, handling and amenities. Offered from 2000-'03, this M5 featured a 4.9-liter V8 good for 394 hp. At the time of the car's debut, the engine's output was considered quite outrageous for a modern midsize sedan. The sole transmission choice was a six-speed manual. Eighteen-inch wheels and the requisite suspension and braking upgrades were part of the package. It will no doubt be a future classic.

Previous to this there were two M5 generations, and both are rare sights on U.S. roads today. The second-generation M5 was available from 1991-'93. It had a straight-6 engine that displaced 3.6 liters and made 310 hp. Even today, that's a figure most automakers would be very proud to boast about. European-spec cars from this period had an even more powerful version good for 340 hp. This M5 was prominently featured in the 1998 Robert De Niro car chase classic Ronin. At the time, the only sedan capable of matching the M5 was the Mercedes-Benz E500, which had a V8 engine.

The original BMW M5 was available for the 1988 model year only and was based on the second-generation 535i. For power, it had a version of the 3.5-liter straight six-cylinder found in the legendary M1 exotic sports car. In the United States, it made 256 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. The sole transmission was a five-speed manual, and the cars were offered with a black paint job only. Highly collectible now, it's said that only 500 were brought to the United States.

Auto blog

BMW celebrates with M4 DTM Champion Edition

Tue, 21 Oct 2014 08:01:00 EST

Go back just a few seasons, and Germany's DTM touring car series was a straight-up competition between Audi and Mercedes-Benz. But BMW rejoined the race in 2012, winning both the drivers' and constructors' titles on its first year back and celebrating with a special matte-black M3 DTM Champion Edition. Last season, it won the constructors' championship but not the drivers', and this year it did the opposite. In short, it's been an impressive comeback for the Bavarian automaker, and to celebrate this year's accomplishments, it's followed up with the new M4 DTM Champion Edition for Europe you see here.
Based on the new M4 coupe - which forms the basis for BMW's DTM challenger as well as its pace car - the Champion Edition is distinguished by its special livery: The orange grille frame, the matte black hood and trunk with multicolored stripes, the black stripes along its shoulder and rocker panel, and the blacked-out 19-inch wheels all to pay homage to champion Marco Wittmann's racecar, as does special lettering on the rear windows.
Other enhancements include black front splitter and skirts, carbon front flaps and mirror caps, rear spoiler and carbon diffuser, while autographed sill plates and carbon interior trim with the car's serial number adorn the cabin. Only 23 examples will be offered, symbolic of the number adorning the winning tin-top racer and the flank of this special edition as well.

Watch this BMW take flight at Viru Rally

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:57:00 EST

An E36 BMW 3 Series might be a good choice for a lot of purposes - a long road trip, a track day, rallycross, impressing your friends... but a full-on rally? It's rear-drive when the best rally machines are front- or all-wheel drive. But that didn't stop Pritt Koik and Alari-Uku Heldna from entering their stripped-out E36 in the Viru Rally in Estonia... or from getting some big air time when they did.
Fortunately the jump was not just caught on video... it was caught on video from three angles: two from the side of the rally stage and one from inside the cockpit. Check out all three below to see how this particular BMW got back into the aircraft business.

NHTSA urges owners of recalled Takata airbag vehicles to take immediate action

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:30:00 EST

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Department of Transportation are taking the unusual step of issuing a followup press release urging owners of certain recalled vehicles "to act immediately" to fix their cars and trucks. The problem in question concerns the repair campaigns for rupturing Takata airbag inflators issued in June and covers a long list of models from Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Mazda, BMW, Nissan, Infiniti, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Oldsmobile and Pontiac.
While NHSTA doesn't specifically say why the recall is vital in the new release, Toyota's own explanation in its newly announced renotification campaign earlier today sheds some new light on the topic. According to the Japanese automaker, in testing, Takata found a possible link between the rupturing airbag inflators and high humidity. NHTSA is advocating that all owners pursue repairs immediately if they haven't already done so already. This is especially crucial for those drivers especially in Florida, Puerto Rico, Guam, Saipan, American Samoa, Virgin Islands and Hawaii because of the humid conditions there.
We don't need to tell you how dangerous an inadvertent airbag deployment could be - even in a stationary vehicle - but adding to the Takata issue is fears that the deployment could lead to shrapnel being sprayed into the cabin.

Corvette gets slidey with Britain's best performance cars

Sat, 18 Oct 2014 19:05:00 EST

Autocar wants to find Britain's best driver's car, and it's challenging a murderers' row of some of the world's best performance vehicles to find out, including the latest Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. All of them were therefore assembled at the Castle Combe Circuit to find a winner.
If it wants to take the crown from this pack of mostly European competitors, the 'Vette has to beat some steep competition. Its challengers include monsters like the Ferrari 458 Speciale, Ariel Atom 3.5R and Jaguar F-Type Coupe. As a further hurdle for the winner to clear, Autocar also has last year's champ among the fighters - the Porsche 911 GT3.
Even if you're not at all interested in the C7, there's still something here for practically any fan of fast cars. The competitors include relative oddities among the pack like the Renault Mégane RS Trophy and Alfa Romeo 4C. Plus, Autocar has some well-positioned microphones that let you hear the Atom wailing like a banshee and the roar of the 458 Speciale. Check out the video to see which one of these all-stars takes home the award this year.

Six luxury-car features I'm ashamed to admit I love

Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:44:00 EST

A hot compress felt wonderful on my sore back. The methodical kneading of my shoulder blades loosened the knots that formed over several hours of driving. The Swedish-style pulses firing into my lumbar region released more tension.
I wasn't getting a much-needed massage following a recent road trip. I was getting it during the road trip.
I grew up riding in the back seat of a 1976 Chevy Nova. But once you use these lux features, it's easy to go soft.

Researchers halfway to cutting carbon fiber costs by 90%

Wed, 15 Oct 2014 18:30:00 EST

Carbon fiber has been utilized for decades to build racecars, as a means to cut weight while maintaining strength. But until recently, the space-age material has been largely absent from the street on anything but supercars because of the expense to use it. Recently, BMW signaled a major shift in that trend when it starting using carbon fiber reinforced plastic panels on the i3 and i8. This relatively small scale start might be just the beginning; the German company believes that a breakthrough to inexpensively manufacture the lightweight stuff is just on the horizon.
MAI Carbon Cluster Management GmbH counts BMW, Audi, Airbus, the German government and many other organizations as supporters, and it's researching how to make carbon fiber cheaper to produce, according to Automotive News Europe. The company thinks it can reduce costs by 90 percent in the near future. "We've certainly reached a halfway point on our cost-cutting target for suitable carbon-fiber parts," said project head Klaus Drechsler to Automotive News Europe.
Unfortunately, it isn't entirely clear just what MAI Carbon is doing to make such a huge leap possible. However, a recent post on the company's website talks about a new form a carbon fiber using a thermoplastic matrix that could be cured in less than three minutes. That's compared to about 90 minutes in the traditional process with an autoclave.

History of BMW touring cars looks splendid in Adrenalin trailer

Wed, 15 Oct 2014 12:46:00 EST

More high-quality documentaries about the history of motorsports are always welcome. When thinking about racing, we generally focus on moving forward to go a little faster or shave a tenth of a second off a lap. There's not much time to look backward. It's too bad, because there are so many fantastic stories from the sport's history. Thankfully, an upcoming doc is taking on the challenge of telling some of these tales, and it looks like a movie not to miss, especially for BMW fans.
Adrenalin - The BMW Touring Car Story mixes high-quality, vintage footage with new interviews from many of the drivers of these machines to craft what looks like a fantastic experience. Covering the period from the '60s to the modern DTM era, just the trailer shows racing from the 2002, 3.0 CSL and of course the E30 chassis M3 of the '80s. You also get to hear from legends behind the wheel like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Johnny Cecotto and Joachim Winkelhock telling their stories.
Adrenalin comes out in November on DVD, Blu-Ray and on-demand. Check out its trailer above for a taste at what it's aiming for. The documentary definitely looks like one to watch.

2015 BMW X6

Mon, 13 Oct 2014 11:57:00 EST

Most everyone would agree that BMW offers a range of very attractive and well-proportioned coupes, sedans, crossovers and wagons. Yet there is one member of its family that has always struck us as a bit odd: the X6.
Proudly coined "The world's first Sports Activity Coupe" by its German maker, the X6 features a wedge-shaped body with a characteristic sloping roofline that appears to squash the heads of its second-row occupants. The crossover rides high off the ground, with a pronounced gap between its chassis and oversized wheel/tire package, capped by short overhangs on both ends. Although curious to the eyes, its overall styling is masculine, and its stance aggressive.
Whether you consider the X6 to be attractive or an eyesore - opinions seem about equally divided - there is nobody at BMW questioning its business model. As of today, the automaker has sold more than 260,000 copies of its five-door crossover, which is why it has flown us to Spartanburg, SC, to sample its second-generation 2015 BMW X6.

BMW looking to fix i3 acceleration problem uncovered by Consumer Reports

Fri, 10 Oct 2014 14:30:00 EST

The BMW i3 has been hailed in some quarters as the future of electric mobility, what with its innovative carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic body and commitment to sustainable materials wherever possible. The modernist little hatch is even available with a 650cc two-cylinder gas engine with 34 horsepower to act as a range-extender for those who want it. However, that optional engine might have a drawback - at least for the moment.
Consumer Reports brought the problem to light when one of its drivers was behind the wheel of an i3 using the range-extender. When the driver attempted to pass another vehicle on a rolling, two-lane road, the BMW suddenly had no power to accelerate - a scary situation. CR started examining the car and found something pretty shocking: After driving at a constant speed for a while without any regenerative braking in range-extended mode, acceleration to 60 miles per hour plummeted from about 9 seconds normally to a staggering 27 to 40 seconds in their testing.
A BMW spokesperson told CR that it knows about the problem and has a fix coming next spring that also works on current models. The upgrade includes a state of charge indicator, a warning about loss of power and uses the car's navigation to boost the battery before driving on rolling terrain. It is not clear if the severe power deficiency will also eventually result in a recall.

This Or That: 1980 Oldsmobile 442 vs. 1989 BMW 635CSi [w/poll]

Thu, 09 Oct 2014 12:45:00 EST

The last time I roped a coworker into an automotive debate, I lost. Resoundingly, I might add. Still, 2,385 voters chose to cast their lots for the Fiat 500 Abarth, as opposed to 5,273 choosing the Ford Fiesta ST, and so I can rest easy in the knowledge that at least 30 percent of you, dear readers, see things my way. I still like to think we have more fun, too.
My loss in the first round of our This or That series, in which two Autoblog editors pick sides on any given topic and then attempt to explain why the other is completely wrong, didn't stop me from picking another good-natured fight, this time with Senior Editor Seyth Miersma. Last time, our chosen sides were eerily similar in design, albeit quite different in actual execution. This time, our vehicular peculiarities couldn't seemingly fall any further from one another: A 1980 Oldsmobile 442 wouldn't seem to match up in comparison to a 1989 BMW 635CSi.
How did we come up with such disparate contenders? Simple, really. Seyth and I mutually agreed to choose a car that's currently for sale online. It had to be built and sold in the 1980s, and it had to be a coupe. The price cap was set at $10,000. The fruits of our searching labors will henceforth be disputed, with Seyth on the side of the Germans, and myself arguing in favor of the Rocket Olds. Am I setting myself up for another lopsided loss?