How did we calculate this? We analysed and aggregated the scores of Car Advice, WhichCar, CarsGuide and Motoring to bring you the finder.com.au score. This is a comprehensive score that brings together the four different expert ratings you see below.
"Overall, we are very impressed with the new M5. All-wheel drive – while there is something oddly unattractive about it in an M5 context – has injected a bit of sense into the ever-more-powerful M sedan equation."
"The new M5 is another masterpiece from the brilliant minds at M. Whether it's better or worse than the E63 is impossible to say in isolation, but I can tell you it's bloody good. All-wheel drive is a very good thing for the M5."
"It's a joy to toss around, either on the track or on the road. It can be either cruised around using surprisingly little fuel or driven briskly with a calm assurance or picked up and thrown at corners like it's a fat tarmac rally car."
How does the BMW M5 Competition compare with its peers?
Updated October 17th, 2019
The complete BMW M5 review
BMW M5 pricing
There's just one M5 sold by BMW in Australia, the M5 Competition spec sedan.
BMW M5 Competition
Buying an M5 Competition is a pretty straightforward process, with just one standard specification, to which you can add optional extras. BMW recommends the sports sedan sells for $246,203.90. Wrapped into this price is a suggested dealer delivery charge of $3,500, $38,796.60 luxury car tax, $411 NSW registration costs, $518.30 CTP and $10,825 stamp duty.
The M5 comes with a 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 plus an eight-speed automatic gearbox. As you'd expect from a rapid performance sedan, everything is tailored towards speed, including quad tailpipes for a free-flowing engine, 4WD for grip, dynamic suspension, unique to the M5 body styling and a sporty looking interior.
You'd think that in the pursuit of speed, BMW would ditch many passenger comforts to lighten the M5. However, it is very well appointed, with a heads-up display, a Bowers & Wilkins sixteen speaker sound system, a leather-clad instrument panel, an Alcantara headlining, hands-free power boot lid opening, a 10.25" touch sensitive infotainment display screen, ambient lighting, four-zone air conditioning, LED headlights, driving assist, wireless charging, DAB, velour floor mats, Merino leather upholstery, heated seats and park distance control front and rear.
There are six metallic paints and one solid colour available for no extra cost.
Black Sapphire (Metallic)
Singapore Grey (Metallic)
Snapper Rocks Blue (Metallic)
Marina Bay Blue (Metallic)
Donington Grey (Metallic)
Alpine White (Non-metallic)
Even the name sounds like a weapon. This thing is a serious sedan that has understated, demure looks and supercar-unnerving performance. Journalists were full of praise for the M5 Competition, both on the road and when blasting around a racetrack at warp speed. BMW even offers a complimentary driving course with this car. If you're still not convinced, check out this video of the M5 setting a new world record for the longest continuous drift. One writer named it the best BMW ever.
Flawless mix of everyday ride with supercar-esque performance
AWD brings reliable grip
"The sixth-generation BMW M5 is, arguably, the best car ever built by the Bayerische Motoren Werke. Sure, there are any number of more iconic cars in the company's portfolio, cars that are at once evocative and timeless. But with its blend of practicality, every day comfort, and supercar levels of performance, the M5 stands tall in a land of giants."
Company car styling
Sound could be improved at low revs
"And although we drove the M5 on track at Sandown – where, humorously, we had to lift on the straights so as to not drill the back of Steven Richards in the pace car M4 GTS, and he was going as hard as he could – it was more fun on the road."
Rapid big sedan
Customizable AWD set-up
Sophisticated in town
Exhaust note not as snarly as an AMG
Exterior is understated
"Try all that with a Ferrari Enzo, which is still 0.2s slower 0-100km/h."
Unreal front end grip
Handles with clarity
Not a fan of the blue
Small power gain
"For the M division it means the new F90 BMW M5 sedan, which arrived Down Under in April, has just become a mini range, topped by the BMW M5 Competition — and it's a glorious, bend-belittling odyssey."
Engine and performance
In the current generation M5 (known as the F90, which is built upon the G30 5-series as a base), BMW chose to install a modified version of the previous model's engine. Codenamed the S63B44T4, BMW engineers revised the exhaust manifold, dropped in new turbochargers and upped injection pressure to 350bar. The engine cooling system was also uprated to provide increased cold airflow.
The resulting changes see the power output hit 460kW(616hp) and torque is a staggering 750Nm. Those numbers translate to the M5 thumping from 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds. That's treading into supercar territory – for reference, Lamoborghini's Huracán EVO is only 0.4 seconds faster. Zero to 200km/h is dealt with in a brisk 10.8 seconds.
BMW electronically restricts the top speed to 250km/h, but this can be optionally removed and then the sedan is good for 305km/h flat out.
Car reviewers' thoughts on the BMW M5 engine/gearbox combination
Car reviewers basically gushed about the M5 Competition. Most had the opportunity to turn a few hot laps at tracks like Sandown. But that doesn't mean it only works at the circuit, because in everyday driving, it is possible for the performance-centric M car to be controlled and modest.
However, the reviewers noted that the integrated driving modes of the M5 Competition really turn it into a snarling wolf. So much so, they said it was best to pre-plan accelerator pedal use and that heavy acceleration will physically take your breath away. They were left stunned when using full-throttle, mainly by the sheer speed of the M5.
One tester said this car was a total overachiever, there's very little it apparently cannot master. Thanks to BMW integrating 4WD for the first time on an M5, journalists discovered the car delivered seemingly limitless grip and traction. It's still possible to send full power to the rear wheels only, for a bit of fun. There were some concerns about the 2WD Sport mode, with at least one writer suggesting it was best used on a track only.
BMW has also opted to drop in a more conventional automatic gearbox, with eight speeds, rather than a dual-clutch system like the last M5 used. Critics said the cog swaps were effortless and that the onboard computer selected gears logically and with minimal thinking time.
BMW M5 engine and transmission statistics
Twin-turbocharged, Double Overhead Cam with Variable Valve timing
4WD (selectable RWD)
Eight in a vee
Fuel tank capacity
Fuel consumption (combined)
Top speed (km/h)
Central locking with electronic immobiliser
Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)
*Can be derestricted to 305km/h with the 7ME BMW M Driver's package.
Often, we refer to the Green Vehicle Guide for fuel usage figures. Unfortunately, as the M5 is a limited-production vehicle, it isn't represented on the site. BMW provides only the combined fuel usage numbers as 10.5l/100km.
The factory-provided fuel economy numbers are useful only as a comparison between different car makes and models. This is because they are determined using a stringent testing procedure that doesn't include the many variables of real-world driving. On actual public roads, you'll encounter traffic, elevation changes, environmental and weather variables, and driving differentials that alter the fuel usage.
Real-world fuel economy
Only one outlet commented on the fuel usage they managed to achieve with the M5 Competition. They didn't give exact figures but just said that when cruising around, the car uses surprisingly small amounts of fuel. Obviously, if you drive it on a track, fuel usage will increase remarkably.
The BMW M5's handling had heaps of praise bestowed upon it. It seems that the automotive media discovered the M5 will easily take long journeys in its powerful stride. Despite having a rigid suspension set-up that has apexes in its crosshairs, testers were pleased to report the M5 was pretty decent on-road too. Often, sports suspension has little give, making potholes and speed bumps teeth and back jarring. However, BMW engineers have managed to pull off a real feat, of creating something that works well enough on public roads and excels on the track.
The steering is also sharp and accurate, just like the suspension. Words like spry and nimble were bandied around. It's evident from photographs that many motoring writers were able to get the M5 sideways and commented on how controlled the car was when this happened.
Something that'll make you feel like a Formula 1 driver is the in-car customizable programs available. For example, you can adjust the drivetrain torque split bias, as well as make adjustments to the engine, chassis (suspension) and response times. It is also possible to alter the exhaust configuration.
To sum up, it's apparent that the M5 is very limber for a sedan.
Interior and features
Don't think that just because the performance numbers for the M5 read like a V8 Supercar, that it forgoes having a well-equipped and solidly constructed interior.
In standard guise, you have a head-up display on the lower windscreen, selectable ambient interior lighting, heat protection glazing, an anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, rain sensing wipers, plush Merino leather upholstery, a BMW ambient air perfuming system, four-zone auto climate control, contactless power-operating tailgate, an Alcantara headlining, keyless entry, power seat adjustment for front occupants, M5 badged floor mats, aluminium and pearl interior trim, an M leathering steering wheel, roller sunblinds for the rear window, heated front seats, a soft-close function on the doors, BMW Connected+, DAB, smartphone connectivity, a Bowers & Wilkins-supplied 16-speaker surround sound system, navigation, a 10.25" touch control display with voice recognition and finally, a Jedi-like gesture control interface for the infotainment and parking assists.
Speaking of driver assists, the BMW M5 Competition has:
Active Cruise Control (with stop and go)
Front cross traffic warning
Steering & Lane Control Assistant
Lane Keeping Assistant (with side collision warning and crossroads warning)
Parking Assistant Plus (with active parking distance control at the rear, surround view, panorama view and 3D view (can be gesture controlled)
Tyre pressure indicator
For those looking for more luxuries, there are several optional packages, including the Indulgence add-on that brings a massaging function and twin 10" screens for rear-seat entertainment.
You can customize the interior by choosing between different colours, though some of the lighter colours are optional extras. You can also pay to have the steering wheel be heated and have carbon ceramic brakes installed (with matching gold callipers).
Some of the other notable extras include active seat ventilation for the driver and front passenger and Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto option).
If they so wish, owners can switch out the carbon fibre roof for an electric glass sunroof at no cost.
It's fair to say that most reviewers enjoyed the interior, although one or two said it felt a little outmoded. The seats are apparently very comfortable up front and in the rear. It's also impressive that the M5 still has a 530-litre boot and split-fold rear seats for carrying lengthy luggage.
Externally, the M5 is rather understated and classy. Some reviewers praised BMW for this, while others wanted their sports sedan to stand out a little more. It's a bit of a sleeper.
Exterior fitments include lightweight 20" M alloy wheels, BMW's trademark kidney grills, plus M touches like side gills, a subtle rear spoiler and a high gloss rear diffuser sandwiched between the twin exhaust pipes.
BMW M5 safety, security and driver assists
M5 Competition safety features
Airbags - Front, full-length sides, head protection on sides and in the headliner, knee airbag on driver's side
Central locking with immobiliser
Complimentary BMW Driving Experience course
Dynamic braking lights
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Braking Assistant, Cornering Brake Control (CBC), Dynamic Traction Control (DTC)
Electronic Warning triangle and first-aid kit
M Compound brakes
Active Cruise Control
Front Cross Traffic Warning
Steering & Lane Control Assistant
Lane Keeping Assistant (with Side Collision Warning and Crossroads Warning)
Parking Assistant Plus (includes Parking Assistant with Active Park Distance Control at the rear, Surround-view, Panorama view and 3D view)
Tyre pressure indicator
Tyre repair kit
Speed limit info
Adaptive LED headlights with high-beam assistant
Automatic anti-dazzle rear view
Intelligent Emergency Call
Brake pad wear indicator
Dynamic Stability Control, plus anti-lock brakes, Braking Assistant, Cornering Brake Control and Dynamic Traction Control
BMW M5 interior and comfort features
M5 Competition interior features
BMW M heads-up display
BMW Gesture Control
Ambient interior lighting
Heat protection glazing
Merino leather upholstery
1 x USB ports, 3 x 12V sockets
Ambient Air package
4-zone control, automatic climate control
Illuminated M5 door sill finishers
Electric seat adjustment plus memory functions for driver and front passenger, power lumbar adjustments, seat heating
M5 floor mats
M Badged gear lever
Interior aluminium-carbon structure trim
M leather steering wheel with control buttons
M seat belts
Roller sunblinds for rear window
Soft close door function
Real-time traffic information
DAB+ digital radio
Bowers & Wilkins 16 speaker surround system
10.25" touch control display
BMW M5 exterior styling features
M5 Competition exterior specification
20" M lightweight Y-spoke style alloys
20" M light alloy wheels, double spoke
No cost option
20" M light alloy double spoke alloys in jet black
No cost option
M carbon engine cover
M Sports exhaust system
M xDrive (4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD selector)
Carbon engine cover
Dynamic Damper Control
Adaptive LED headlights
Anti-dazzle, heated, electrically adjusting side mirrors
BMW individual high-gloss shadow line
Kidney, side gills, (gloss black) mirror caps, rear spoiler and gloss black diffuser insert
Carbon fibre reinforced plastic roof
Gloss black M rear spoiler
Exterior handle area lighting and door exit lighting
If you're looking for a fun, agile performance sedan, the BMW M5 comes very highly rated from the automotive media. It has plenty of power, lashings of torque and the precision handling you'd expect from a German vehicle. Journalists also spoke about how the car also manages to blend those attributes with practicality, a luxurious interior and 4WD combining to forge perhaps the ultimate M5 ever conceived.
Ben Gribbin is an experienced automotive writer and life-long car enthusiast with a passion for restoring classic vehicles. He brings many years of experience working with and writing about cars to Finder.
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