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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

Behind the scenes of BMW's 'Driftmob' [w/videos]

Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:58:00 EST



All this, for one minute and 47 seconds of action-packed footage with no official plot.
We arrive in Cape Town, South Africa, on the third and final practice day for the drivers of a BMWStories internet video called The Epic Driftmob feat. BMW M235i. We are immediately whisked to a large, empty parking lot on the outskirts of Cape Town, where tires are squealing and chunks of rubber are flying as five red BMW M235i coupes churn up more smoke than a California wildfire. And the smell - it smells like heated metal, the kind of thing rev limiters are made for. Times five.

2014 BMW R NineT

Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:57:00 EST

BMW is taking a page from the Harley-Davidson playbook with its groundbreaking R NineT. A retro cafe racer with an urban hooligan twist, the bike is fully customizable from fork to exhaust. Of course, any motorcycle can be customized, but the fact that BMW has built its newest bike to encourage modification using parts that can be swapped with simple tools is a radical move for a motorcycle maker best known for its plug-and-play touring bikes.
To underscore exactly how radical, BMW has even partnered with custom heavy-hitter Roland Sands Design, which developed the initial concept for the bike and is now manufacturing a full line of parts and accessories for the R NineT, including radial valve covers ($950), retro racing saddles ($400-$420), radial gauge housing ($400) and a radial headlight bezel ($250), among other things, all of which can be swapped with a socket wrench or screwdriver instead of a hacksaw, wire cutters and TIG welder.
Alas, the bike I tested for two weeks was stock, so consider it a blank canvas.

Formula E gets wireless-charging BMW i8 safety car [w/video]

Tue, 26 Aug 2014 09:16:00 EST

Racing series typically select a safety car appropriate to the kinds of racecars for which they'll be setting the pace. So you might find a Mercedes SLS pacing a Formula One grand prix, for example, and you're more likely to find a BMW M4 on duty at a DTM race and a Chevy Camaro or SS on an oval speedway for a NASCAR or Indy race. It would only stand to reason, then, that the FIA Formula E Championship kicking off next month in Beijing would press a plug-in into service as its safety car. But the organizers didn't go for your run-of-the-mill Nissan Leaf or Toyota Prius.
No, the safety car for Formula E will be a BMW i8 specially modified for the occasion. As you can see from the video below, the hybrid sports car packs a full roll cage, racing buckets with harnesses, special communications systems and on-board fire extinguishers. But that's not all.
In partnership with technological partner Qualcomm, the Formula E support fleet - including two examples each of the i8 and i3 - will feature inductive charging. So while one is out on the track, or at least sitting at the end of the pit lane waiting to be deployed - the other will be charging wirelessly. The vehicles are still pending FIA approval, and only one has been outfitted with the Qualcomm Halo wireless charging system (with the others to be retrofitted later), but they were all on hand for the recent practice race at Donnington Park.

Evo pits BMW M3 against Porsche Macan in drag battle

Sun, 24 Aug 2014 19:29:00 EST

If you want to move five passengers in very rapid fashion and you've got a $75,000 budget, two newly introduced four-door models immediately come to mind - both are the highest performing vehicles in their respective segments. But which is faster off the line, to the 60-mile-per-hour benchmark or flat-out over an even longer run? Evo took both to paved aircraft runway to find out.
In lane one we've got the all-new Porsche Macan Turbo, which boasts a twin-turbocharged, 3.6-liter V6 rated at 400 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The Porsche is fitted with a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, and the 4,244-pound crossover has the traction advantage of standard all-wheel drive. In lane two is the all-new BMW M3, powered by a twin-turbo 3.0-liter inline-six rated at 425 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. It is also equipped with a seven-speed, dual-clutch gearbox, but only the rear wheels of the 3,595-pound sedan are driven. Both the BMW and Porsche arrive with launch control, which helps to remove driver error off the line.
Which automaker's launch control system is better off the line? Does all-wheel-drive grip give the crossover the advantage it needs to overcome its adversary's power-to-weight advantage? Will aerodynamics factor into the results? Which would you put in your garage, and why? The video may surprise you.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer getting third row

Sat, 23 Aug 2014 19:12:00 EST

In what enthusiasts will likely see as a continued attempt to dilute the BMW brand, the German manufacturer is testing a three-row variant of its already controversial 2 Series Active Tourer. Our trusty spy photographers captured images of the new, front-drive MPV testing on the roads of Europe.
The easiest way to ID this more passenger friendly 2er is its slightly longer length, which will allow it to accommodate seven people in total. As our spies point out, this should make the 2AT an attractive proposition for European taxi companies. Yep, BMW built a car that will be praised by taxi drivers. On top of the extra seats, the rear overhang appears larger as well, which should mean extra cargo space.
This, of course, is not the first time we've captured images of a new 2AT variant undergoing testing. Back in May, we spotted a hybrid-powered variant out for a drive.

Europe's BMW 1 Series hatch caught looking fresh faced

Sat, 23 Aug 2014 11:01:00 EST

Hey, remember the BMW 1 Series? Yes, German brand's successors to the US-market coupe and convertible have one-upped the old car to wear the 2 Series designation now, but in other markets, our No. 1 crush still lives on, and as evidenced in these spy shots, the entry-level hatch appears to be undergoing a modest facelift.
We've spotted prototypes of the refreshed 1 Series before, with the majority of the car's changes focused around the front fascia. This time around, we're seeing the three-door variant, with wheels seemingly fitting of a Sport or even M Sport trim.
Of course, this One's not for US, as the small BMW isn't slated to come to our market anytime soon. Click through the gallery above to see what we're missing.

2015 BMW M4 gets initiated into the club

Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:44:00 EST

It's easy for enthusiasts and traditionalists to give BMW a hard time these days, what with its plans to add more front-wheel drive models and seeming move away from more emotionally connected cars. However, the push for perfection that underscored its old Ultimate Driving Machine motto is still in there, especially in its M models. In fact, the first M4 recently made it to US shores, and the company thought the only appropriate way to celebrate was to introduce its new coupe to some of its high-performance forefathers.
The M4's initiation into the M car brotherhood involved bringing together no fewer than 52 classic and newer models - including four racecars and many privately owned vehicles - to an empty parking lot and letting the coupe drift and slalom around them to say hello. According to BMW, there was a combined 11,566 horsepower on hand. It takes a pretty trusting owner to stand back and watch as a brand-new vehicle slides its tail out with the rear wheels smoking within feet of their pride and joy. Stay tuned until the end where the owners and their cars get a shout out in the credits. Scroll down to read BMW's press release about it.

BMW reveals new X5 Security Plus in Moscow

Thu, 21 Aug 2014 09:31:00 EST

A major player in the Russian market, BMW is heading to the Moscow Motor Show this month with a slew of local debuts... most of which we've already seen. But among all the new models making the trek from Bavaria to Moscow will be the new X5 Security Plus.
In a new-model launch that will surprise exactly no one, BMW's latest armored vehicle upgrades the X5 with enhanced protection for oligarchs against Chechen rebels, AK47-touting gangsters and missiles randomly falling on Crimean highways. Now meeting the VR6 standard of ballistic protection, the new X5 Security Plus incorporates reinforced bodywork, seats and joints, along with bulletproof glass.
Of course all that reinforcement (not to mention the jars of beluga caviar and bottles of Stoli in the glovebox) will come with a weight penalty, but the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 ought to do the trick, driving 450 horsepower through BMW's xDrive all-wheel-drive system to get the vehicle's occupants out of a war zone in a hurry.

VW Golf R pitted against BMW M235i in enthusiast's choice battle

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 20:00:00 EST

Most people don't have two, open spots in their garage to fit a practical daily driver and a fire-breathing performance car for the weekends. That's what makes vehicles like the latest Volkswagen Golf R and BMW M235i just about perfect for the average person. Both of these Germans can lope around as a commuter 90 percent of the time and be perfectly comfortable. However, when you want to walk in the door with a big smile on your face, you can take the back roads home and get a real thrill from them.
In his latest short video, Chris Harris from Drive tests these surprisingly comparable German performance cars. Both of them offer buyers in the neighborhood of 300 horsepower, with the BMW winning out with 320 hp. However, the Golf R gets standard all-wheel drive, which is now an option on the M235i. Harris has quite positive things to say about these Europeans, but you're going to have to watch the video to hear just what he thinks.

BMW M5 arrives in Monterey packing 600 hp and matte paint

Fri, 15 Aug 2014 19:01:00 EST

What's a sure-fire way to make a vehicle better? Well, you can add power or make it more exclusive. BMW has done both, just in time to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the legendary M5 sedan.
Only 300 examples of the car you see above, the M5 30th Anniversary Edition, will be sold to the public, and those lucky owners will enjoy the most exclusive, most powerful M5 ever made. Power continues to flow from the standard M5's twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V8, which has had its wick turned up to 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. The sprint to 60 now happens in just 3.7 seconds, which is still a scarcely fathomable speed among sports cars, let alone comfortable, finely upholstered sedans.
Speaking of that upholstery, Alcantara and leather seats and an Alcantara steering wheel identify the exclusive M5, while special sill plates further call out the car's unique spec. Outside, the standard Competition Package adds 20-inch wheels and black chrome badges, while 30th Anniversary Editions wear BMW's Frozen Dark Silver matte paint.