What makes BMW M5 so special?
A four-wheel drive BMW M5? Indeed. To some purists that may sound like sacrilege, and to some extent it is sad to see the end of an era. But before you lose all will to live, let me explain: This is a four-wheel drive system designed for you to have fun, not for you to be practical. It’s called xDrive, and perhaps, quite ironically, its best feature is that it can be turned off. That’s right- turn off the stability control and BMW engineers present you with a full-blown rear-wheel drive BMW M5. Even when the four-wheel drive system is fully switched on, the front wheels will only receive power once the rears reach their absolute limit. It’s also worth noting that this marks BMW’s first crack at producing a non-SUV four-wheel drive car.
Under the hood you’ll find a tuned version of the same 4.4L twin-turbo V8 found in the previous model, but it now produces 447kW (about a 20kW improvement over the outgoing F10 model). Torque is also up by 72Nm, making a grand total of 750Nm. As you’d expect, the xDrive system ensures a quicker 0-100km/h time than the F10 could manage- the sprint is now over in just 3.4 seconds. Top speed is again limited to 250km/h, although it may well crack the golden 200mph/320kph mark if that limiter wasn’t in place. Surprisingly, the new M5 (called the F90), will weigh 20kg less than the F10, at 1930kg. That’s an impressive feat considering the F90 has to carry the additional weight of a four-wheel drive system.
Your choices of transmission are non-existent. All F90 M5s will come fitted with an eight-speed automatic box, although a manual mode will allow you to take control via the steering wheel paddles or the oddly shaped gear knob. There’s a number of modes to choose from which will change the suspension, gearbox and engine power characteristics, as well as settings to quieten down the exhausts if you are so inclined.
While the interior demonstrates a major improvement over the F10, the exterior changes are more subtle, with new headlights and reworked front bumper being the most recognizable changes. The new model also makes use of a carbon-reinforced roof- something that has been around for a while on the M3 and M4, but is a new addition to the M5. 19 inch wheels and M-Specific tyres are standard, while 20inch wheels and carbon-ceramic brakes can be added as extras (they’ll save a further 23kg in case you need more motivation).
400 examples of the BMW M5 First Edition, which comes in Individual Frozen Dark Red Metallic paintwork, will be built, and according to BMW it will be available in ‘’very limited numbers’’ in South Africa.