The M5 is the ultimate BMW saloon, but how does the latest model stack up against its predecessors? Here’s my review…

  • 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8
  • 553 bhp and 502 lb-ft of torque
  • 0-62mph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph
  • Seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox
  • Rear-wheel drive drivetrain

Performance and gearbox

Historically the M5 is BMW’s most powerful car, and the F10 M5 continues that tradition with a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 capable of 553 bhp and 502 lb-ft of torque. To me, those numbers really are insane. I mean, Ferrari launched the F430 in 2004 and that had 490 bhp – so how have BMW’s M division got even more power in a four-door saloon?!

The seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox really is brilliant as well. It changes gear rapidly, and more importantly, at the right time. It never feels annoying or intrusive, it just does its job just how you want it to. The combination of this gearbox and that power gives a power delivery like no car I’ve driven – it’s therefore a little wonder that it can do 0-62 mph in 4.2 seconds and 0-100 mph in only 7.8 seconds. Oh and yes the sound of it doesn’t compare to the old E60’s 5.0-litre naturally-aspired V10, but it’s still a V8, and it still sounds amazing.

Star rating: ★★★★★

BMW M5 2012 - Front

Handling and drive

The great thing about the M5 is how configurable it is. This is due to the M drive system which allows you to change various settings such as the level of traction control, throttle response, suspension softness, steering wheel feedback and more. This means you can really make the car perfect for your driving style, and it’s a pretty awesome thing to have.

I personally had the car with traction off and a mixture of Sport and Sport+ settings, which made the car a handful to say the least. Whenever you’re driving this car hard, regardless of gear, the back end will be twitching. Of course drifting in third gear is always fun, but at times it becomes overwhelming and often unnerving. It puts doubt in your mind, like at any moment you could die… but that’s also part of the thrill.

Lastly, at 1,945 kg, the car really is weighty to say the least. When you brake on entry the car takes a while to slow down and as you carry the power through the bend it can often feel like it wants to get away from you. It’s not a nice feeling and can often feel pretty damn dangerous.

Star rating: ★★★★☆

BMW M5 2012 - Rear

Styling

The E60 M5 looked a bit odd to me, but the F10 is a significant improvement. BMW look to have accepted that it’s a big car and rather than do their best to hide that, they’ve just ran with it. It’s proportions really are spot on, with an intimidating front end, beefy rear and some lovely touches around the car, but if I’m being honest it’s a bit understated. It kind of looks like an 5 Series M Sport with better alloys and four exhausts. Some people probably like that about it, but me personally I’d rather an RS 6 Avant.

Star rating: ★★★☆☆

BMW M5 2012 - Rear

Interior and spec

I have to say the interior is probably the weakest sales point of this car. It’s just not impressive at all. Okay the head-up display is cool as hell and everything is really functional and useable, but it doesn’t excite me in any way. The steering wheel is average, the seats are boring, and once again I’m inclined to say it’s basically a 5 Series. I’d just expect more from a car costing over £70,000, that’s all.

Star rating: ★★★☆☆

Conclusion

Look, the M5 is a brilliant car and I thoroughly enjoyed driving it; it’s got a wonderful engine with exceptional power delivery, a spectacular gearbox and a great sounding exhaust, but it simply doesn’t look special enough for £70,000. It lacks that wow factor both inside and out, and that’s pretty hard to look past.

However the way it drives cannot be ignored, it’s every bit an M car in that sense and if you buy one you won’t be disappointed. Personally however, I’d rather an RS 6 though. It might not be as great to drive as the M5, but as a complete package, it edges it for me.

Star rating: ★★★★☆

Calvin Fehr

I'm a car fanatic that buys cars, sells cars, reviews cars and does pretty much anything else to do with cars. I drive different cars daily from Fords to Ferraris, and video myself on my journeys to and from work.

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