BMW Drive Thru

Drive Thru: BMW M5

F10 BMW M5

I was recently fortunate enough to be offered an entree sampling of the F10 BMW M5. It’s one of BMW’s most iconic models and I was eager to discover if hype and capability lived in harmonious existence.

Once behind the wheel I was immediately comfortable, the seating position is good and while the seats don’t hug you tight like a racing bucket they’re a pleasing compromise between sport and luxury.

I didn’t really get a chance to go through the many and varied iDrive settings, but if you’re a gadget freak I reckon you’d have a lot of fun customising the settings to your satisfaction.

When I began attacking my favoured stretch of black top the first thing I noticed was the M5’s head up display. It’s quite disconcerting at first, prominently in view well above the dash line, but I soon became used to it and with the level of configuration available it’s a very worthwhile feature.

For a heavy car—the M5 weighs 1870kg (unladen)—it turns in quite sharply on a tight mountain pass. You’re always conscious of its bulk, but never to the point of it seriously detracting from one’s driving pleasure.

F10 BMW M5

It’s never going to match the directness and precision of a Porsche Cayman, for example, but within its own context, it rewards more than you might expect from a car of this size and weight.

The steering has a nice progressive feel that helps give the M5 a predictable nature. Similarly, the brakes were perfectly adequate during the test. I couldn’t say they excelled in their performance; this was a brief test and there was nothing negative worth noting. The initial bite was good and the brakes’ ability to rein things in as the pressure applied by foot increased was as you might expect.

F10 BMW M5

Some purists may think a turbocharged M5 is all wrong, and while I’ve never driven any other M5, as a puritan myself I can understand their position. Having said that, it was impossible to fault the 4.4 litre twin turbo V8 working away in front of me. It seemed more than willing to respond enthusiastically to my every command.

The wall of torque in this car is staggering. Indeed, I could have driven the test route in third gear all the way it seemed. Such was the low-end pull of the 680Nm of torque, available from 1500rpm, while the 7000rpm redline offered plenty of scope as speed increased. And what a buzz the M5 offers as you take it past 5000rpm. It just keeps on pushing hard and the lift in the car’s spirits experienced as the revs climb and your foot remains planted is quite remarkable.

F10 BMW M5

F10 BMW M5

Of course, I didn’t leave the car in third gear and cycling through the 7-speed DCT proved easy thanks to well positioned paddles on the steering wheel. For the most part the double clutch trickery was handled with aplomb, although as transmissions of this nature are often afflicted, take off from standstill and flicking into reverse is accompanied with a slight delay.

The engine note inside the cabin has a muted tone that’s dulled just enough to leave you thinking some more V8 induction volume would be welcome. Perhaps they could just turn up the dial on the sound actuator. Outside the car, though, the M5 sounds fantastic and you’re left in no doubt there’s a V8 hard at work.

F10 BMW M5

The F10 M5 is an immensely capable machine and even though I only scratched its surface I have full confidence it would handle anything public roads can offer. On a track I’d expect this heavyweight to be exposed, where the tolerances required are less forgiving.

It’s true the M5 does not provide immediate responses to throttle or steering inputs. However, that’s marking the car incredibly harshly. The M5 has always been a four-door saloon that ups the ante from its executive car roots. As such you have to judge the driving experience within those parameters.

Thanks to the M5’s brutal acceleration and very capable handling I can see the ownership experience would be a very enjoyable one. The ability to switch from luxury saloon to imposing performance weapon is quite addictive.

Long live the M5.

F10 BMW M5

F10 BMW M5

F10 BMW M5

Thank you to Tiaan and Chris for their assistance.

7 replies on “Drive Thru: BMW M5”

Nice one Liam. When I was at BMW test-driving the M135i I couldn’t help but notice how bloody huge the M5 is, not just by comparison either!

In Germany we hired a 3-series that came with the heads-up display. So useful for directions and speed limits (less important on the Autobahn), I’d want it with any new car I bought.

Nice write up Liam, are we going to see some verbal on the Rapide as well?

Just so you know the head up display (HUD) is configurable for height as well. Seeing as there was probably a foot height difference between us I am guessing it was not idealy located for you.

I certainly enjoyed getting it out of town for a drive and am glad others could enjoy it.


I wonder what difference aftermarket exhaust systems will have on this model. The turbocharged engine will definately benefit from increased exhaust gas flow, and the sound improvements are obvious… But I wouldn’t recommend such a modification without customer engine management tuning, as mixtures would most likely run lean at high rpm.

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The torque of the thing is phenomenal. It was clearly not designed for Australia – and definitely designed to brutalise German autobahns.

What always amazes me about BMW is their ability to turn a large body-shell into a cramped interior. One might think that the doors are half a metre thick! 1870kg, still no leg room in the back!!

My personal opinion is that the F10 is the best looking car BMW makes in 2013, that blue is the best looking colour and the S63 is one of BMW’s most amazing engines. Those combined together and we have one highly-desirable machine!

Great write up! I currently love the M6 Gran Coupe and keep thinking it would be my lotto win daily but then I see an M5 in that colour and realise that the $70k difference really is that little bit too much! (But hey, if it was a lotto win then who cares right?).

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