Morgan Flanagan Creagh reviews the new BMW M5 Competition, the most performance-focused version of their flagship M-car to date
Late last year, BMW brought me to Mondello Park to test their M2, M4 and the big daddy M5. The 591bhp, 4.4-litre BMW M5 was definitely the fastest car I have ever driven in a straight line and now the German marque are back with a more hard-core Competition version.
This latest M5 is packing a high-revving, 625hp, 4.4-litre, V8, turbocharged engine pared with a finely-tuned chassis, capable of handling such a Goliath amount of power. This engine’s twin turbo set-up offers peak torque of 750Nm between 1,800 and 5,860rpm, bringing it from 0-100kph in 3.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 250kmph. Perhaps the most impressive number, though, is the price tag, which kicks off with a RRP of €169,020. Though a high price, when you drill down into what you get compared to some other marques — cough, cough, Porsche Panamera — it’s great value.
The M5 Competition’s eight-speed M Steptronic transmission allows the driver to choose between three modes for efficient, sporty or dynamically-intense track driving at the push of a button. You can also shift gears by using the paddles and the gear selector in manual mode. Alongside this is BMW’s M xDrive all-wheel system and the Active M Differential, which distributes the engine’s output to the car’s wheels.
The system is set up with a rear-wheel drive bias for added agility, however you can vary the distribution of power between front and rear wheels yourself, and also adjust the responses of the traction control system. If you’re on a track and feeling brave, you can tinker with the M Dynamic Mode, which holds the key to sharp handling and controlled drifts, while offering another three track-driving modes, including 4WD, 4WD Sport and the traditional BMW M5 rear-wheel drive experience.
The BMW M5 Competition has a specially-tuned chassis, which includes double-wishbone front suspension and five-link rear suspension. It also boasts an electronically-controlled Variable Damper Control system that offers three driving modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport+ (bravery) mode. Comfort mode is for everyday use, Sport mode reduces the wheel and body movements to create more direct contact with the road and Sport+ mode maximises dynamic performance on smooth asphalt, with wheel and body movements minimised.
When driving the M5 Competition in the standard road setting, all standard and optional driver assistance systems are fully activated. With the Sport setting engaged, the active driver assistance systems only transmit some alerts, like those for speed limits and overtaking restrictions. This mode allows all interventions in the braking and steering systems to be disabled, aside from those made by the collision warning with braking function and the Evasion Assistant.
Sport mode also switches both the instrument cluster and the Head-Up Display to M View. Here, only relevant information for sporty driving is shown in the 12.3inch instrument display. Drivers can also choose to view additional information on coolant temperature, charge pressure, tyre condition and longitudinal/lateral acceleration in the right- and left-hand areas of the instrument cluster.
The BMW M5 Competition’s Track mode is designed exclusively for use on race circuits and deactivates all the comfort and safety functions of the driver assistance systems. The audio system is also muted, and the central display switched off, while the instrument cluster switches to M View and the Head Up Display dispenses with readouts from the driver assistance systems. Automatic activation of the hazard warning lights in response to emergency braking is suppressed and the collision warning system is also deactivated.
So here we are, another incredible M offering from BMW and because of our Covid-19 situation I’ve been unable to test this brute, but I’m hoping that BMW send me over a test model to fully find out just how earth-shattering the Track mode is once we return to some form of normality.