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BMW 5-Series M5 engines, drive and performance

2011 - 2016 (change model)
Performance rating: 5 out of 55.0

Written by Parkers Published: 20 February 2023 Updated: 21 February 2023

It’s blisteringly quick. The 552bhp 4.4-litre V8 twin-turbo propels the M5 along the lanes and motorways in style and, with 680Nm of pulling power to play with, it’s a joy to drive. Compare it to the previous V10-engined M5 and you’ll see that maximum power output is up by around 10% and peak pulling power is up by more than 30%. Step on the gas from a standing start and you can complete the benchmark sprint to 62mph in 4.4 seconds.

Keep going on a derestricted road and you will top out at an electronically limited speed of 155mph. Alternatively, you can get 190mph out of the M5 by adding the M driver’s package which removes the limiter. The new M5 also benefits from a superb seven-speed twin clutch gearbox. This semi-automatic gearbox is much smoother and quicker than the previous clunky old seven-speed single-clutch SMG transmission fitted to the last M5.

On a straight road the M5 has fantastic outright pace but this is no point-and-squirt machine because enthusiastic drivers will be rewarded through the corners.

This car is agile, nimble and very entertaining. On start-up it’ll always default to Comfort mode, but press the M1 button located on the steering wheel and the M5 becomes much sportier. Even with this mode on there is a safety net as the traction control system allows you to slide a little, but reins you back in again before you can get too wild. If you are on the safety of a racetrack and you want to slide properly then you need to press the M2 button located on the steering wheel.

By switching to this the car is at its liveliest. The great thing about the M5 in this set-up is that it is handful but you should be able to get it back on line as long as you are concentrating. This car may weigh over 1,900kg but the chassis is so well balanced that when you are driving enthusiastically it still feels as agile as an M3 or a 1-Series M coupe.