2013 BMW M5: Bottom Line – It’s Barely Street Legal

In the mid 80’s all U.S. (with the exception of the 318i) BMWs were equipped with straight six-cylinder engines. The powerplants were well known for their smoothness and power. In the early 90’s the automaker’s M5 was equipped with a 3.6-liter straight six-cylinder delivering 310 horsepower. For the most part, it was the BMW’s race engine installed in a beefed up 5-Series four-door sedan for the road. It was the quickest four-door sedans on the road. And the result – it gained cult following!

So, what does the new fifth-generation 2013 BMW M5 have to offer?

Of the car, Car and Driver said, “To its $92,000 price, we say: How can BMW possibly sell so few M5s so cheaply?” Thus, if $92,000 seems inexpensive for the M5, it must be quite a road/race car indeed!

BMW’s M division has been moving their race spec engines and chassis closer and closer to the road. And this new M5 is the automaker’s closest version to come off the track and onto the street.

The last M5 had a V10 engine and the new model has two less cylinders but delivers 53 more horsepower as well as 30 percent more torque. Additionally, this M5 gets 30 percent better fuel economy than its predecessor.

The M5’s engine is a twin-turbo 4.4-liter intercooled V8 belting out 560 hp and 502 ft. lb. of torque. The transmission is a seven-speed M Double-Clutch (M-DCT) automatic with manual shifting mode (paddles located behind the steering wheel). It provides exceptionally quick and clean gear changes that are hard to match with a manual gear box. The car’s 0-60 mph time is in 3.7 seconds, and the quarter-mile is finished in 12 seconds flat at 122 mph. The car’s top speed is up to 190 mph. The M5’s wheelbase is now 116.7 inches.

Of note is that this BMW supercar has an auto start/stop feature and brake energy regeneration.

The stopping power is provided by cross-drilled discs at all four corners. They measure race car 15.7 inches at the front (including 6-piston calipers) and 15.6 inches at the rear. The car’s 70-0 mph stopping distance is in 165 feet. The brakes exhibit no fade even after numerous high-speed stops. The tires are Michelin Pilot Super Sports measuring 265 40 19 inch at the front and 295 35 19 inch at the rear, however, 20 inch units are also available.

The exterior of the new M5 is long, sleek and understated. The car’s windshield is highly raked and at the front it has the traditional BMW twin kidney grille plus an air dam with three massive air intakes. From the side the car has a cut line moving from the taillight through the rear and front door handles and into a M5 feeder vent located in the front fender. The car’s coupe like styling hides and deemphasizes the greenhouse glass. At the rear the car has a high trunk lid with a spoiler. The lines are crisp with distinctive taillights that move into the trunk. Dual exhaust pipes are located at the lower left and right.

The interior of the M5 is businesslike and consists of high grade materials including leather and brushed aluminum. The front M seats are supportive and provide extra bolstering. The dash displays clear easy to read gauges. There is a heads up display in the windshield that disappears when the driver wears Polaroid glasses. Buttons on the M steering wheel enable the driver to operate the cruise control, audio and telephone functions. Furthermore, there is the iDrive with a 10.2 inch display and a multifaceted Connected/Drive (as much computing power as you will need).

Standard features on the M5 include dual zone climate control, extended cabin heating, power seats, cruise control, power locks, windows and mirrors, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, front and rear reading lights, AM/FM in-dash single CD player capable of reading MP3s, 13 speakers, front and rear cup holders, and more.

Safety features on the M5 include ABS brakes, stability and traction control, electronic brake force distribution, front and rear air bags, dual front side-mounted air bags, and passenger air bag with sensing deactivation.

The suspension contains many aluminum components and the driver can choose from Comfort, Spot and Sport Plus. This enables comfortable street driving or enhanced responses for track performance. A the front the suspension setup includes upper and lower control arms, coil springs, electronically adjusted tube shocks, and anti-roll bar. At the rear the suspension includes multiple links, coil springs, electronically adjusted tube shocks, and anti-roll bar.

When driven moderately, this M5 is quiet and refined. However, when pushed this BMW is wickedly fast providing acceleration on demand at almost any speed. Regardless of the road, the car provides good ride quality that is buttoned down. It has very little roll in the corners and the weight distribution is just about perfect.

The car’s handling is aided by its Active M Differential that is an electronically controlled multiplate limited slip unit. The car’s differential’s is linked to the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system with FlexRay or high speed data transfer technology. If the driver goes into a corner to hard, the differential becomes completely open and it helps the car to point in the right direction to hit the corner’s apex. When the driver then gets back on the power, the system tightens the differential to put the power to the pavement. The steering is rack and pinion with hydraulic assist (rather than electric steering). Thus, the feedback from the wheel is highly rewarding and adds to the M5’s driving pleasure.

The fuel rating of the M5 is 16 city and 24 mpg highway.

The price of the 2013 BMW M5 starts at $92,000. Expensive, yes, but there is a reason this mid-size sport/luxury four-door is at the top on the road or the track.

If you have the resources, be sure to give the BMW M5 a run for your money. And remember to keep in mind as Road and Track puts it, “Make sure you brace your head and neck before stepping on the accelerator when launching the new M5 because as soon as the wide rear Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires grab the driving surface, the forward surge is violent.”

As a matter of fact, it’s barely street legal. And that’s what makes the BMW M5 so darn good!

View the slideshow to see the new 2013 BMW M5 inside and out!

Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save money.” He welcomes your comments or car questions at his auto web site: www.cartown1.com. Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.

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