BMW M5 Competition review
A comprehensive review of the BMW M5 Competition.
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|Car Advice/Drive||92%||"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, everyday comfort and supercar levels of performance, the M5 stands tall in a land of giants."||Read more|
|Motor/WhichCar||90%||"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."||Read more|
|CarsGuide||83%||"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."||Read more|
|Motoring||91%||"The F90 BMW M5 is a fabulous machine. The BMW M5 Competition is better. Tangibly better. Cheerfully better. Sparklingly better. It's not necessarily that it's quicker in a straight line, but that it's so much more precise, predictable and fun into, through and out of corners. All corners, all the time."||Read more|
How does the BMW M5 Competition compare with its peers?
The complete BMW M5 review
BMW M5 pricing
There was just one M5 sold by BMW in Australia, the M5 Competition spec sedan.
BMW M5 Competition
Buying an M5 Competition was a relatively straightforward process, with just one standard specification, to which you could add optional extras.
New, the BMW sports sedan sold for $246,203.90 (2018-2019). Wrapped into this driveaway price was 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 had a 4.4-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 paired with an 8-speed auto gearbox. As you'd imagine with a rapid performance sedan, everything is geared towards speed, including quad tailpipes for a free-flowing engine, AWD for traction, dynamic suspension, M Division body styling and a high-end interior.
You'd think that in the pursuit of speed, BMW might have ditched many passenger comforts to make the M5 lighter. However, it is extremely well appointed. The 2018 M5 had a Head-Up Display, a Bowers & Wilkins 16 speaker sound system, a leather-upholstered instrument panel, an Alcantara headlining, hands-free power boot lid opening, a 10.25" infotainment touchscreen, ambient cabin lighting, 4-zone air conditioning, LED headlamps, driving assist, wireless charging, DAB, velour floor mats, Merino leather upholstery, heated seats and Park Distance Control – both front and rear.
Click on a model to view M5 finance deals.
|BMW M5 Competition|
|4WD, 8-speed automatic, 4.4-litre V8 petrol, 5 seats: $246,203.90|
There were 6 metallic paints and 1 solid colour available for the 2018-2019 model year, at no extra cost. They were:
- Black Sapphire (Metallic)
- Singapore Grey (Metallic)
- Snapper Rocks Blue (Metallic)
- Marina Bay Blue (Metallic)
- Donington Grey (Metallic)
- Bluestone (Metallic)
- Alpine White (Non-metallic)
BMW M5 used pricing
|BMW M5 Competition|
|4WD, 8-speed automatic, 4.4-litre V8 petrol, 5 seats: $138,100 - $148,000|
Used values from RedBook
With a name that sounds like a weapon, the business-attire outer hides the innards of a supercar.
Journalists poured praise on the M5 Competition. Both on the road and when warping around a racetrack, it was comfortable yet thrilling. BMW offered a complimentary driving course with this car, suggesting it is a serious machine!
If you're still not convinced, watch this video of the M5 setting a world record for the longest continuous drift. One writer said it was the best BMW ever!
|Car Advice/Drive||"The all-new sixth-generation BMW M5 is the fastest M car ever built by the German skunkworks. And it's also, arguably, the greatest BMW ever."|
|Motor/WhichCar||"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."|
|CarsGuide||"For those needing to tow things real fast, the new M5 is rated to pull an impressive 2,000kg unbraked. Try all that with a Ferrari Enzo, which is still 0.2s slower 0-100km/h."|
|Motoring||"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."|
Engine and performance
For the current generation M5 (known as the F90, which is built upon the G30 5-series), BMW decided to install a modified version of the previous model's engine. Labelled the S63B44T4, BMW engineers reworked the exhaust manifold, bolted in new turbochargers and turned the injection pressure up to 350bar. The engine cooling system was improved to provide increased cold airflow.
As a result, the power measured 460kW(616hp) and torque an astonishing 750Nm! Those numbers translate to the M5 blasting from 0-100km/h in 3.3 seconds. That's verging into supercar territory. For reference, Lamborghini's Huracán EVO is a mere 0.4 seconds faster. Zero to 200km/h is dealt with in the blink of an eye – 10.8 seconds.
BMW electronically limits the top speed to 250km/h, but this restrictor can be removed and then the sedan will travel 305km/h flat out!
Car reviewers' thoughts on the BMW M5 engine and transmission
Car reviewers gushed with admiration for the M5 Competition. Most drove a few hot laps at racing circuits like Sandown in Victoria. But that doesn't mean it's a track car, because, in everyday driving, it is possible for the high-performance M car to be civil and sensible.
However, the reviewers found that the driving modes of the M5 Competition turn it into a fearsome beast when desired. They said it was best to pre-plan accelerator pedal use and that aggressive acceleration can physically take your breath away. They were left flabbergasted when using full-throttle, mainly by the visceral speed of the M5.
One tester said this car was a phenomenon, with little it apparently could not master. Thanks to BMW implementing 4WD for the first time on an M5, journalists felt the car delivered seemingly endless grip and traction. It's still possible to select RWD mode, for a bit of fun. There were some cautionary words for 2WD Sport mode, with at least one writer suggesting it was best reserved for track use only.
BMW also opted to drop in a more traditional automatic gearbox, with 8 gears, rather than a dual-clutch system like the previous M5 used. Critics said the gear shifts were effortless and that the onboard computer selected gears analytically and with minimal response time.
BMW M5 engine and transmission statistics
|Engine type||Twin-turbocharged, Double Overhead Cam with Variable Valve timing|
|Drivetrain||4WD (selectable RWD)|
|Cylinders||8 in a vee|
|Fuel tank capacity||76 litres|
|Fuel consumption (combined)||10.5L/100km|
|Acceleration (0-100km/h)||3.3 seconds|
|Emissions standard||Euro 6 (Green Vehicle Guide)|
|Top speed (km/h)||250km/h*|
|Security||Central locking with electronic immobiliser|
|Towing capacity (unbraked/braked)||N/A|
*Could be derestricted to 305km/h with the 7ME BMW M Driver's package.
The Green Vehicle Guide lists the fuel economy for the 2018-2020 BMW M5 as:
- Combined: 10.5L/100km
- Urban: 14.5L/100km
- Extra: 8.2L/100km
Real-world fuel economy
Only one outlet discussed fuel efficiency for the M5 Competition. They didn't give precise figures but simply said that when cruising around, the car uses surprisingly minimal amounts of petrol. Obviously, if you drive it on a track, fuel usage will increase substantially.
The BMW M5's handling received heaps of praise. The automotive media determined the M5 will easily cover long journeys in its powerful stride. Despite having a taught suspension set-up that is oriented to twisty race circuits, testers were pleased to report the M5 was admirable on-road too. Often, sports suspension has very little forgiveness, making potholes and speed bumps bone-rattling. However, BMW engineers have managed to pull off a true feat, by creating something that works acceptably on public roads, while excelling on the track.
The steering is sharp, predictable and precise, just like the suspension. Words like perky and nimble were thrown around. It's evident from photographs that many motoring writers were able to drift the M5 sideways and commented on how controlled the car was when this happened.
In-car customisable programs will make you feel like a Formula 1 driver. For example, you can customise the drivetrain torque split bias, as well as make adjustments to the engine, chassis (suspension). It is also possible to alter a valve in the exhaust.
In conclusion, for a big sedan, the M5 is nimble.
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Interior and features
You'd be forgiven for thinking the M5 would have the interior of a V8 Supercar, given its impressive performance and handling.
From the factory, you receive: a lower windscreen head-up display, adjustable ambient interior lighting, heat attenuating glazing, an anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers, supple Merino leather upholstery, a BMW ambient air fragrancing system, 4-zone auto climate control, contactless power-operating tailgate, an Alcantara headlining, keyless entry, power-adjustable and heated front seats, M5 badged floor mats, aluminium and pearl interior trim, an M leather steering wheel, rear-window roller sunblinds, soft-closing doors, BMW Connected+, DAB, smartphone connectivity, a Bowers & Wilkins 16-speaker surround sound system, navigation, a 10.25" touch control display – with voice recognition and a gesture control interface for the infotainment and parking assists (that will make you feel like a Jedi).
- 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, panoramic view and 3D view with gesture control)
- Speed limiter
- Tyre pressure indicator
For those looking for further luxuries, there are multiple optional packages, including the Indulgence add-on that brings a massaging function and twin 10" screens for rear-seat entertainment.
You can customise the passenger cabin by choosing different colours, though some of the lighter tone upholsteries are optional extras. You can also pay for a heated steering wheel and have carbon ceramic brakes installed (with matching gold callipers).
Some of the other extras mentioning include active seat ventilation for the driver and front passenger and Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto option – though, this is now listed on the BMW website in September 2021).
If they so wished, owners could switch out the carbon fibre roof for an electric glass replacement for no additional cost.
It's fair to say that most reviewers were impressed by the interior, although one or two said it felt a little behind the times. The seats are reportedly very comfortable both in the front and rear. It's also impressive that the M5 has a 530-litre boot and split-fold rear seats for carrying lengthy luggage.
Externally, the M5 is unassuming and elegant. Some reviewers lauded BMW for this, while others wanted their sports sedan to be a little more bling. As such, it's kind of a factory sleeper car.
The BMW M5 also has lightweight 20" M alloy wheels, BMW's trademark kidney grills, plus M Division touches like side gills, an understated rear spoiler and a high gloss rear diffuser flanked by 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-alloys, double-spoke 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||✔|
BMW M5 mechanical reliability and recalls
The BMW M5 ranked 5th in 2020 as the most likely sports car to reach 240,000km!
Checking the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's Product Safety Australia website, there are 2 recalls on the BMW M5 F90.
Recall 00 12 1505 00 affected 54 vehicles, from 2019. It was discovered that a portion of the transmission wiring harness could short circuit due to improper routing. The failure can cause the transmission to select neutral, potentially suddenly stopping or losing power to the wheels. After restarting, the parking brake can engage. The models were sold between and
Another recall was issued earlier, between and
If you're looking for a thrilling, lively performance sedan, the BMW M5 comes very highly recommended by the automotive media. It has stacks of power, heaps of torque and the exact handling you'd expect from a German sports car. Journalists also spoke about how the car also manages to blend those fine attributes with practicality, a premium interior and 4WD. In their eyes, they combine to make the ultimate M5, perhaps even BMW, ever made.
Compare some options to finance a BMW M5
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