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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

Porsche 911 Turbo and Nissan GT-R Nismo star in World's Greatest Drag Race 4

Fri, 26 Sep 2014 17:01:00 EST

We love Motor Trend's annual World's Greatest Drag Race video. Now back for its fourth appearance, the idea of lining some of the world's fastest cars up for a ten-wide, straight-line, full-throttle run is, well... it's pretty freaking badass.
The lineup this year boasts some impressively fast cars to be sure. The group of ten includes the following darlings: Alfa Romeo 4C, BMW i8, BMW M4, Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Ford Fiesta ST, Jaguar F-Type R Coupe, Nissan GT-R Nismo, Porsche 911 Turbo S, Subaru WRX STI and, last but not least, the Volkswagen GTI. Give us any one of those for the weekend, and we're happy to take the keys.
It must be said though, that for a publication that draws as much water as Motor Trend does, there are some big cars that we might expect to be here instead. The Lamborghini Huracán or Ferrari 458 Speciale would have added some exotic flare to the list, and the omissions of the Chevy Corvette Stingray (for the second year in a row) and the Dodge Challenger Hellcat are real head-scratchers.

BMW names new head of M division

Wed, 24 Sep 2014 08:44:00 EST

BMW's performance division has been run by Dr. Friedrich Nitschke since 2011, developing, among other products, the new M3 and M4. But soon the good doctor will be retiring, and BMW has just named his successor.
Taking Nitschke's place as chairman of BMW M GmbH will be Franciscus van Meel (pictured at right), who until recently served as managing director of Audi Quattro GmbH - the rival outfit that makes Ingolstadt's performance models, including the R8 supercar and RS line of performance models.
Van Meel will join BMW on October 1, presumably to learn the ropes from Nitschke before the 59-year-old executive steps down at the end of the year. Back in January, Audi named Heinz Peter Hollwerweger as head of Quattro GmbH and reassigned van Meel to its Beijing R&D center, a role which evidently didn't suit him as well as creating Autobahn-storming German muscle cars.

2015 BMW i8 configurator is ready to show the future

Mon, 22 Sep 2014 18:30:00 EST

Good news if you're one of the lucky few that can afford the new BMW i8. The high-performance hybrid's configurator has gone live on BMW USA's consumer website, meaning you can head in and customize till you drop.
If you've ever played with a BMW configurator, you'll instantly feel at home with the i8's. You have the choice of four trim packages (your author refuses to use BMW's pretentious "World" trim names), followed by wheel and exterior paint options. The interior choices are fixed to the trim level, so aside from trim, color and the choice of two wheel options, there isn't a lot to pick out on the i8.
Head on over and take a look.

BMW X5 driver repeatedly fails to understand big rig braking distances

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 20:00:00 EST

Nobody should be shocked that a big, heavy vehicle like a semi truck takes a longer distance to stop than the average passenger car; it's just basic physics. However, this BMW X5 driver seemingly has a major problem grasping the concept, and it results in some serious damage to the back of his SUV.
The whole incident is very confusing to watch. The BMW doesn't even seem to have a reason to slow down before the semi slams into the back of it at fairly high speed. But to make the situation even weirder, the crashes just keep happening again and again.
To give the BMW driver a little credit, he appears amazingly calm when surveying the damage afterward. But you have to wonder what this guy was thinking when trying a harebrained move like this. Check out the video to watch the carnage unfold.

EVO takes flight in BMW's sultry i8

Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:45:00 EST

Electric cars and hybrids are here to stay, much to the apparent dismay of some auto enthusiasts, but that doesn't mean they have to represent the death of enjoyable driving. Granted, the initial run of hybrids in the US like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius weren't exactly tailor-made for aggressive folks behind the wheel, but things are clearly changing. In its latest video, Evo takes a look at three examples from Europe's new crop of electrified vehicles to show that the future of fun motoring is safe and sound.
Evo editor Henry Catchpole kicks things off with one of the most bizarre EVs of the bunch, the tiny Renault Twizy. Its low power and 50-mile-per-hour top speed might make it miles away from a hot hatch, but there's still fun to be had in extracting the most from this little city car. Next up is the Audi A3 E-Tron, which isn't technically available yet. It's a step in the right direction of eventually creating an affordable, fun-to-drive hybrid hot hatch.
However, the main event is Catchpole getting some seat time in the BMW i8. The Bimmer can really fly -literally in this case - and the butterfly-door coupe offers a clear look at the prospects for electrified sports cars. It might not have the power of hybrid supercar contemporaries like the LaFerrari or Porsche 918 Spyder, but the BMW doesn't cost nearly as much, either. See? Improved efficiency doesn't have to mean boring.

Are you a BMW M4 GTS track car in disguise?

Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:28:00 EST

BMW is always happy to extract a little bit more gumption out of its M cars, just look at the latest 30th anniversary M5 or even the earlier CSL variants of the M3 for proof. Now, It looks like we might be getting the first glimpse of an even hotter M4, and it's wearing very interesting livery.
Our spies recently shot this M4 that could preview a future GTS version. It's all done up in MotoGP decals, but that might just be a ruse. This car sports a camouflaged lower air dam and rear wing, but those parts don't appear to be from an actual series safety car. The chin spoiler seems larger, and the rear wing is completely different. You can also spot an obvious Recaro logo on the driver's seat in one of the photos. Plus, the BMW emblem is removed at the back.
The disguised changes and odd choice of decals make this prototype incredibly weird. A BMW exec said at the beginning of the year that there were "no plans whatsoever to make a lighter, harder version just yet," of the M3 or M4, despite earlier rumors to the contrary. Check out the gallery to see what you think this is.

2015 BMW 2 Series Convertible will flip its lid for $38,850

Tue, 09 Sep 2014 18:00:00 EST



For the most part, they look almost identical to their coupe versions, except that they now boast an electrically folding soft top.
BMW is dropping the top of the 2 Series in early 2015 in the US with convertible versions of the 228i and M235i. They'll make their world debut at the Paris Motor Show later this year and will show their faces on this side of the pond at the 2014 Los Angeles International Auto Show.

BMW 1 Series sedan prepares to fight Mercedes CLA, Audi A3

Thu, 04 Sep 2014 18:58:00 EST

The entry-level premium sedan segment is pretty hot right now, with the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class doing well for their respective automakers here in the US. Of course, BMW has its 2 Series, but that's currently only available as a coupe, with a convertible bodystyle forthcoming. That all looks to change, however, as our spies recently caught BMW testing a four-door 1 Series sedan that seems to have the A3 and CLA clear in its sight.
BMW's entry-level four-door is expected to ride on the same front-wheel-drive UKL platform that we recently spied in Mini Countryman form. We're pretty sure this thing will launch under the 1 Series line (odds for sedans and wagons, evens for coupes and convertibles), but it's anyone's guess with BMW - after all, the five-door, front-drive Active Tourer wears a 2 Series nameplate.
Look for the 1 Series sedan to launch sometime in 2016 as a 2017 model. Better late than never in the entry-lux segment, we suppose.

BMW takes 30th Anniversary Edition M5 out to drift

Thu, 04 Sep 2014 17:01:00 EST

If you only look at the videos from BMW, it appears that the best way to celebrate the 30th birthday of the M5 is some smoky drifting, and it sure looks like a great way to mark the occasion to us. Now that the Bavarian brand's new 30th anniversary special edition is all set to hit the road, the most powerful M5 ever is getting it own chance to roast its tires on video, as well.
The M5 30th Anniversary Edition shouldn't have any problem hanging its rear end out, really. Under the hood, its twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 is turned up to 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque and can allegedly sprint to 60 miles per hour in a scant 3.7 seconds. That's pretty impressive for any sports car but especially for a sedan that can still carry four passengers comfortably cosseted in leather and Alcantara upholstery.
BMW is making just 300 of these celebratory models worldwide, and appropriately for the anniversary, only 30 of them are going to be available in the US. If the special M5 doesn't make your heart race, the video basks in a little nostalgia, as well, by showing off the original model for some historical context.

2014 Dinan S1 BMW M5

Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:57:00 EST

The last time the Dinan name graced the pages of Autoblog, Michael Harley was waxing poetic about the S3-R BMW 1M Coupe, a car that still stands in his ranks as one of the best cars he's ever driven. And that wasn't just because it was, you know, amazing. It's because as far as tuners go, Dinan produces some seriously well-executed products. Harley said of the 1M, for example, "It was so fully formed and well-rounded that it felt like BMW itself had made it."
Eager to sample some of these wholly wonderful wares, I cleared a few hours in my Monterey Car Week schedule and booked a date with the S1 M5 you see here - the (current) daily driver of Mr. Steve Dinan, himself. But unlike the S3-R 1M the company tuned previously, the donor car in question here is vastly different and, if I'm honest, not as good. See, I adore the stock 1M in a way words cannot express, but the standard-issue M5... good as it is, there are indeed a few flaws.
But after driving the Dinan S1 M5 around the Monterey Peninsula, I can confirm two things. First, Harley's conclusion that Dinan builds products that feel 100 percent BMW-spec is absolutely true. And second, Steve and the gang haven't just created a tuned M5, they've built a better one.