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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

These are the top luxury cars bought by people entering the segment for the first time

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:30:00 EST

Let's say you just got a big promotion at work or the kids are moving out of the house, and you finally have some extra money. You decide to blow it all at once and treat yourself by upgrading your ride. Naturally, you look to a luxury automaker. What do you choose?
Models like the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class may be tailor-made to introduce buyers to the premium segment, but a new study finds that they don't garner the highest rates of non-luxury customer conquests. It turns out that a Volvo leads among folks moving up to a premium brand, and it isn't even one that's made anymore, at that.
A recent study by Polk and IHS Automotive looked at what models had the highest rates of buyers upgrading from a non-luxury segment. The information comes from its new vehicle registration data through April 2014. All ten top models boasted conquest rates of over 50 percent, but the Volvo C70 led the field with 68.01 percent of its customers coming from non-premium brands.

BMW begins restoring Elvis Presley's 507 [w/video]

Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:42:00 EST

Imagine the King of Rock n' Roll driving a car and you'll likely picture a pink Cadillac or a yellow De Tomaso shot full of holes. But Elvis also owned a 1957 BMW 507 roadster, and now that roadster is returning home to BMW headquarters.
The 507 was a rare bird, of which only 254 examples were ever made. They were sold mostly to celebrities and royalty, but Elvis Presley was a GI when he bought it while stationed in Germany. The example that he bought had been displayed at the Frankfurt Motor Show, used as a press car and raced by Hans Stuck (which is how Elvis came to see it in the first place), so when he took delivery of it second-hand, the dealership had a new engine installed. It was originally white, but legend has it that Elvis got tired of women writing their phone numbers on the side of it in lipstick that he had it repainted in red.
Stories differ on what exactly happened to it next, with some saying that he returned it once the lease was up and other saying that the army shipped it back to him in the States after his tour was over. But what we do know is that the car sat for many years, neglected but sheltered from the elements. Now it's heading to the the BMW Museum in Munich, where it will be on display until August 10, after which the BMW Group Classic department will undertake a comprehensive restoration of the star-studded roadster that's expected to take two years of work.

BMW predicts 2 Series Active Tourer will have 75% conquest rate

Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:01:00 EST

In the last few years, BMW has definitively proven that it wasn't a slave to its legacy. In the US, the 3 Series was generally associated with smooth, flat-six engines, but the Bavarian brand dropped a four-cylinder turbo into it. The company was also known for its sports sedans, and it went green with the i3 and i8. Now, rear-wheel drive is off the table as defining its vehicles, as well. With the imminent launch of the 2 Series Active Tourer, the Bavarian's models are going front drive and opening up themselves to a whole new group of customers, so the thinking goes.
"We are expecting the Active Tourer will have a conquest rate of around 75 percent," said Frank Niederlaender, a BMW product manger, to Automotive News Europe. If you're not hip to the lingo, that means three quarters of the hatchback's buyers would come from other brands - an impressive figure, if accurate.
When it hits the road, the 2 Series Active Tourer will be the first BMW-branded vehicle to use the company's UKL front-wheel drive platform, already on the current Mini Cooper. The roomy hatchback is aimed at young families looking for a car that is luxurious but can still tote around the tots. It launches in Europe in September to compete against similar models like the Mercedes-Benz B-Class, but the Bimmer isn't crossing the Atlantic to the US until early 2015, according to ANE.

BMW 5 Series wagon makes incognito grocery run by way of the 'Ring

Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:15:00 EST

With a debut in 2009, it's high time that BMW delivered the world with the standard mid-cycle refresh of its popular 5 Series. While we aren't expecting to see it here in the United States, that freshening will include the vehicle shown above, the 5 Series wagon.
This is only the second time we've spotted the camo'd, long-roof 5er in the past year, and while it was chained to a flat-bed in those snaps, today, we can see it lapping the Nürburgring. In addition to the images from the track, we also have our first look at the cabin of the freshened 5 Series, although even it is covered in camouflage, making it quite difficult to spot anything of substance.
As for the exterior, expect modest changes for the second-half of the F10 5er's life, with typical tweaks like new headlights and taillights, and perhaps a freshened front fascia. Considering we last saw the upcoming 5 Series just over a year ago, we'd expect an auto show debut for this smoothed-over model in the not-so-distant future, with Paris a leading candidate.

BMW is the US auto industry's leading exporter

Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:44:00 EST

Which automaker do you think ships the most cars out of North America, one of the Detroit Three or perhaps one of the Japanese automakers? Nope. It turns out the BMW's Spartanburg, SC, factory is the biggest automotive exporter from the continent in the United States. According to a recent profile by Bloomberg looking at the plant's 20th anniversary, Bimmer's southern ops sends out more vehicles than all of Michigan combined.
When the Spartanburg factory opened up in 1994, its success was hardly assured, largely because of South Carolina's relatively small economy at the time. However, BMW picked the site because of its proximity to East Coast shipping that made it easier to move engines and transmission in from Germany and export vehicles back to Europe, according to Bloomberg. The Bavarians clearly made the right choice.
Today, the plant has developed into an absolute powerhouse. The factory currently assembles the X3, X4, X5 and X6 and exports about 70 percent of the vehicles built there. Things are only getting better. BMW is investing $1 billion through 2016 to boost annual production from the current 300,000 units up to 450,000 and to build a new flagship crossover called X7. The expansion also adds a further 800 jobs there to take total employment up to about 8,800. Including the latest financing, BMW has put over $7.3 billion into the factory since it opened, notes Bloomberg.

BMW recalling all 2000-06 3 Series models over airbags in US, 1.6M globally

Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:45:00 EST

We just can't seem to get away from recalls involving the faulty airbag inflators supplied by Takata. There are already millions of vehicles in need of repair as a result of these ever-expanding campaigns, and BMW is adding another 1.6 million worldwide. The Bavarian automaker is issuing a recall for certain 3 Series models, including 574,000 of them in the US, to replace the passenger-side, front airbag inflator.
Specifically, the campaign covers 3 Series models from the 2000 through 2006 model years built between May 1999 and August 2006. "It's only the E46" generation of cars that are affected, which are now two model revisions old, according to BMW of North America spokesperson Matt Russell, speaking to Autoblog.
These models suffer the same problem as the rest of the vehicles with the faulty inflators. It's possible for the part to rupture during airbag deployment and possibly spray shrapnel at the occupant. However, according to BMW, the automaker isn't aware of any actual cases of this happening in any of its vehicles.

BMW to change model designations, further yet from actual displacement?

Sat, 12 Jul 2014 15:01:00 EST

Once upon a time, you could look at the back of a trunk lid of a BMW and come up with a pretty fair idea of what sat under its hood. For example, a 320i was a 3 Series with a fuel-injected, 2.0-liter engine, a 328i was a 3 Series with a fuel-injected, 2.8-liter engine and a 328Ci was a two-door 3 Series with the same engine. Those were good days.
Today, though, that simplicity is dead and gone. A 328i now has a 2.0-liter engine, just like the 320i, while the simple "C" designation that was affixed to two-door models has been replaced with a "4," so we have a 428i and a 435i. It gets worse, though. A 550i uses a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 (it should be a 544ti, although we'd be willing to hear an argument for "tti") and a 740i uses a 3.0-liter, turbocharged six-cylinder, which is the same engine found in a 535i. It's madness.
And, well, it's about to get madder, if a post on a BMW enthusiast forum is to be believed. According to f30post.com, we could see a shakeup in at least the 3 and 4 Series nomenclature, thanks to an impending refresh that will see the addition of new, turbocharged four- and six-cylinder engines, codenamed B48 and B58, respectively.

BMW working on 'FAST' CUV to slot between X1 and 2 Series

Thu, 10 Jul 2014 14:33:00 EST

Our spy shooters have caught a new FAST BMW testing that's rumored to hit the market in late 2015. Sadly, the word fast in that last sentence isn't describing the car's performance; instead it's an acronym that stands for Family Active Sports Tourer. Talk about a case of false advertising.
Despite it's speedy name, the FAST doesn't look ready to set any Nürburgring lap records. It rides on BMW's modular, front-wheel drive UKL platform that underpins the current generation Mini Cooper, upcoming 2 Series Active Tourer and next X1. According to our spies, its design is supposed to blend the looks of a wagon and a CUV on the outside with a large, useful interior. Conceivably, it could be offered with the hybrid system from the 2 Series, as well.
The new prototype definitely shares the styling of its front-wheel-drive BMW siblings. Up to the A-pillar, it looks pretty similar to what we know about the future X1. But the FAST has a more arched profile and lower ride height compared to the crossover's chunkier, more conventional design.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer corners surprisingly flat on 'Ring

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:57:00 EST

With seven seats and front-wheel drive, you might not expect the upcoming long-wheelbase version of the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer to live up to the Ultimate Driving Machine reputation that BMW has fostered over the years. But the latest spy clip from the Nürburgring suggests otherwise.
The Bavarian automaker has apparently been testing its new people mover on the Nordschleife, getting it ready to join the growing 2 Series family. And though it's wearing heavy camouflage, we can clearly see from the video below that it's cornering impressively flat - which bodes well for those who'll need to transport their expanding family but aren't prepared to give up on handling.

Watch the BMW M4 drift around an aircraft carrier

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 15:03:00 EST

A Nimitz-class American aircraft carrier is big. Really, really big. After all, it has to be, in order to launch and recover a wide array of military aircraft. But when it's not catapulting F/A-18 Super Hornets and E-2 Hawkeyes into the wild blue yonder, what exactly can you use its 1,040-foot long flight deck for? Well, BMW seems to have an idea.
Now, obviously BMW hasn't paid Uncle Sam to convert the deck of the USS John C. Stennis into a racetrack (but what an idea!). That doesn't make this video of an Austin Yellow M4 slipping and sliding its way around the carrier deck any less entertaining. The video itself comes, weirdly considering the US aircraft carrier, from BMW of Canada, and we aren't really sure what the point of it is. There's no voiceover, or title or closing screens to lend the scene any context, and it seems unlikely that this sort of seemingly high-dollar video wouldn't be done sheerly for giggles. Whatever the reason for its existence, it's worth a watch.
Scroll down and have a look.