The BMW M5 is an iconic super sedan on the legendary Bavarian automaker’s portfolio. Through its long and epochal lifetime of almost forty years, the emblematic M5 has evolved into one of the best sports sedans ever. The BMW M5 is essentially a beefed-up, range-topping, superpowered version of the BMW 5 Series luxury sedan. The regular BMW 5 Series itself boasts a reputation for being exciting to drive while being more inclined toward luxury and comfort. The BMW M5 is the crown jewel of the 5 Series lineup that can be described as a monstrous 4-door supercar that doesn’t compromise on comfort. The M5 vaunts dedicated high-performance hardware and comes invigorated by a thunderous V8 engine. It brandishes neck-breaking acceleration and physics-defying driving dynamics while still retaining the practicality and roominess of the sedan shadowgraph. Here’s everything you should know about the exalted BMW M5 high-performance sedan.
The very first generation BMW M5 came into existence back in 1984, based on the E28 generation BMW 5 Series. Power came from a 256-hp 3.5-liter inline-6 motor that came mated to a 5-speed stick shift. With only around 2,241 units produced worldwide, the E28 BMW M5 is one of the rarest high-performance production cars from BMW. The second-gen M5 based on the E34 5 Series was incepted in 1988 and was again powered by a 3.5-liter 6-pot motor. The first V8-powered BMW M5 debuted in 1998, based on the E39 generation 5 Series. The E39 M5 came energized by a roaring 4.9-liter naturally aspirated V8 engine, channeling power via a 6-speed manual. The M5’s powertrain got further upsized to a ferocious 5.0-liter V10 in the fourth generation M5 which was unveiled in 2004. This monstrous M5 based on the E60/E61 generation 5 Series was also the first one to sport an automatic transmission.
The 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 we see in the latest-gen M5 was first introduced in the F10 generation M5 which was produced from 2011-2016. This particular M5 generation is also the only one to be offered with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The latest and greatest F90 BMW M5 was unveiled in 2017 and was sold until 2023. This most modern M5 is the first all-wheel-drive BMW M5 while all of its predecessors send power to the rear wheels. BMW has confirmed that the upcoming generation BMW M5 debuting in 2024, will house a hybridized V8 engine under its hood.
The state-of-the-art F90 BMW M5 (2018-2023) is a Bimmer that appeals to enthusiasts of all ages. For starters, the front grille isn’t enormous like that of the lion’s share of the brand’s most modern lineup including the latest 2023 BMW M3 and M4. Although many have grown to like the huge grille, this more traditional and proportionate design language is poised to captivate a broader audience. The 2021 to 2023 BMW M5 models don a bolder, more muscular attire, compared to the 2018-2020 pre-facelift models. The aerodynamically sculpted side profile of the M5 doesn’t interfere with ingress or egress, ensuring all the practicality of a 4-door passenger car. Putting the vigor to the tarmac is a set of 19-inch wheels wrapped around with performance tires which are upgraded to 20-inch ones in the M5 Competition model. As for exterior colors, the F90 BMW M5 was offered in some unique shades including Purple Silk, Java Green, Frozen Black, and Ferrari Red.
Stepping inside the BMW M5, you are greeted with a resplendent cabin, ingeniously constructed with world-class materials. The front cabin is the right combination of elegance and sportiness, delivering a luxury cockpit experience. Unlike its direct competitors, the M5’s controls aren’t overly dependent on touchscreens and touch-sensitive controls. This presence of physical controls delivers a familiar and desirable sensory experience. Seats are shrouded in top-tier Merino leather upholstery and there is abundant space inside the cabin to accommodate four people comfortably. Front seats are both heated and ventilated while the rear ones miss out on the latter. Four-zone climate control is an optional extra that pampers the occupants in ultimate comfort. Plenty of storage areas are provided inside the cabin for small items along with a capacious cargo area measuring 14.0 cu ft.
Pre-facelift 2018-2020 models of the F90 BMW M5 are equipped with a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system. This unit was upgraded to a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the facelifted 2021-2023 models. Both systems are intuitive and easy to use and come coupled with a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system as standard. A rear-seat entertainment system and 16-speaker, 1400-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system are optional extras offered with all model years except the 2023.
Turning our attention to the significant matter at hand, the heart of this beast. The F90 BMW M5 is motivated by a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 motor cranking out 600 horses in its base form. Opt for the M5 Competition and this figure is upped to 617 hp along with several enhanced components. These high-performance bits include a lowered sports suspension and a more resonant sport exhaust system. All three variants of the M5 come paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission routing power to all four wheels via a rear-biased all-wheel-drivetrain. This AWD system capable of pushing 100% of the torque to the rear wheels empowers the driver to execute seamless drifts, all while wearing a wide, exhilarated smile.
The crown jewel of the BMW M5 lineup is the 627-hp 2022 BMW M5CS (Competition Sport). According to BMW, this special edition is also 230 pounds lighter than the M5 Competition. BMW also mentions that the M5 CS is the quickest and most powerful production car in the company's history. According to Car And Driver, the M5 CS takes just 2.6 seconds to hit 60 MPH while the Competition and base models take 2.8 and 3.2 seconds respectively.
According to Classic.com, used prices of the F90 BMW M5 average at $68,615 for the base model, and climbs up to $163,717 for the Competition Sport. From a collector’s perspective, the base BMW M5 isn’t something of exceptional value. However, there are some unique editions of the car special enough to be desirable collector’s items. Topping this list is the 2022 BMW M5 CS which is the super sedan’s most powerful configuration. Only around 1,000 of these Competition Sport models were made, thus skyrocketing their value and exclusivity. Second place goes to the 2020 BMW M5 Edition 35 Years, which is an even rarer model of which only 350 units were produced. Out of these, only 35 entered U.S. soil and these cars have an average used market value of $100,000. Another collectible F90 M5 is the 2018 BMW M5 First Edition which is valued at $83,059. Only 400 units of this distinctive model were produced and all of them come painted in an exclusive shade of Frozen Dark Red Metallic.
The 2018-2023 BMW M5 is a masterpiece Bimmer that can take you to supersonic speeds while seating your whole family inside comfortably. It exudes opulence, embodying the epitome of what a midsize luxury sedan can aspire to be. But don’t let the luxuries mesmerize your eyes as the real beauty of the M5 lurks under its hood. The BMW M5 can be your comfy family hauler, your weekend track weapon, and your road trip machine. There are very few cars on the face of planet Earth that can gloriously and effortlessly play all of these roles. So, if you want your dexterous supercar to be not just fast and engaging, but also comfy and spacious, the BMW M5 is an exceptional choice.
Prominent competitors in the same ballpark as the F90 BMW M5 include the Cadillac CT-5 V Blackwing, the Porsche Panamera, the Audi RS7, and the Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4Matic. All of these magnificent machines have their own characteristic traits and strong points. However, the Porsche and the Cadillac are the ones that stand neck to neck with the Bimmer in terms of raw performance. The Porsche Panamera is extremely dynamic, as it delivers 911 levels of performance in a 4-door shell. However, to get a Panamera as fast and capable as the M5, you will have to shell out a lot more money.
The Cadillac CT-5 V Blackwing is a fantastic alternative to the M5 if you aren’t impressed with the all-wheel-drive and automatic powertrain combo of the Bimmer sedan. The Blackwing churns out a higher 668 horses from a visceral 6.2-liter supercharged motor. This mammoth output is sent to the rear wheels via either a 6-speed manual or 10-speed automatic transmission. However, the Caddy’s interior isn’t able to match the M5 in terms of grandeur. Also, the M5’s all-wheel-drivetrain offers an unparalleled amount of grip. This allows the M5 to rocket off to 60 mph at a faster pace and keep itself stuck to the asphalt during extreme corner carving maneuvers.
The BMW M5 is currently off the brand’s roster and a new one is in the works, expected to arrive next year. However, the upcoming M5 has been confirmed to house a hybrid V8 power-plant under its hood. Hence, now might be the right time to acquire the outgoing F90 generation BMW M5. This peerless super sedan will enable you to attack the twisties with unprecedented amounts of grip. It does the same while all the occupants are comfortably cocooned in luxury inside its sumptuous cabin. The BMW M5 is indubitably a formidable sports sedan that stands tall as one of the performance benchmarks of its respective segment.
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