The New BMW M5- Launch Drive
The New BMW M5- Launch Drive
High performance car launches are not an everyday occurrence, so when you see an invitation to attend one as legendary as an M5 launch, the child in you rises to the fore. It becomes one of your highlights in the motoring journalism space. BMW South Africa introduced local media to the sixth generation M5 at the world class Kyalami Race Circuit, this was a clear sign of confidence in the latest addition to the M family. M5 members from the 1st Generation were in attendance to welcome the new member, fine examples were on display. I quite like this trend the local BMW PR team has done with gathering previous generations of a model being launched. It shows the heritage.
The new M5 is one of the highly anticipated high performance saloon models for 2018, there are several reason for this. It’s the 1st M5 to have all wheel drive by BMWs trusted Xdrive, amongst others.
In terms of looks it does not look that different from a M Sports package specified 5 series, however there are superior marks that do set it apart as range topper.The front bumper has been revised to be more aggressive and allow for better air flow form superior cooling, the kidney grille bares the mark of M power. The view from the side is enhanced by the 19” alloys or optional 20”, and the M5 labelled vent on the front fenders. The mirrors deserve to be mentioned on their own, the design is just pure genius, partially attached to the body in a flamboyant fashion for aerodynamics.I love them. The rear end is where it makes its case quite vivid, the double dose of dual tailpieces placed on either side of diffuser are dead give-away. One thing is certain, while the M sports package is popular within BMW; you won’t need a fine eye to set the M5 apart, you can just see i “last number” qha qwaba. This 6th generation has been lightened thanks to carbon roof with a sunken centre for improved air flow, and what BMW terms a weight minimised exhaust, should you choose to add carbon ceramic brakes, they add 23kgs to the weight saving as well. Very few performance cars ooze an inviting aura the as the new M5’s interior, it is elegant and plush. The front seats are just from a place of comfort; whoever made these had one aim, to make you stay in the car as long as you can. The backlit M5 logo is a cherry on top, if the standard ones don’t tickle your fancy you can opt for a sportier choice, my choice is the ones I experienced, they are just lovely.
Just about everything in the new M5 feels redesigned and new, from the centred console, the gear lever, the cluster and the F1 like head up display, it’s just visually inviting. The rear seats offer the cosiness expected from a fiver. The last BMW that gave me this feeling was the 760Li XDrive, it feels royal, and this M5 has that effect with an added dose of futuristic touch.
The power is from a 4.4l V8 engine that is force-fed by not one but 2 turbos to generate an impressive 441kw of power and a mammoth 750nm of grin& giggle inducing torque. This moves the M5 from stand still to 100km/h in a mind numbing 3.4seconds, thanks to a newly installed all-wheel drive system, may we note this is the 1st time in history an M5 is all wheel drive. The system can be configured to rear wheel drive only should the all-wheel system be boring for you, let me re assure you, boring is not a word to be associated with this M car though. The M purists may think this new M5 is softer; perhaps it is because it is more refined to cater for day to day driving, the brutality is still there, and it’s just delivered in a swifter and better way. Now it’s easier to drive fast. As customary with M cars, the new comer has a host of performance settings, on the steering one can select M1 or M2, you can’t miss these buttons, they are painted in bright red in close proximity to the steering mounted shift pedals. They alter the drive mode with sensible aggression.
How does the new M5 drive, the setting was perfect to sample performance, Kyalami is a race track I find quite challenging and diverse to extract most key factors in vehicle performance. Earlier I mentioned the appreciation of BMW PR having extra M cars to drive during M car launches; this means you can re-acquaint yourself with the track. Personally I like to build momentum, or should I say start from the bottom to the top. On this special day I kicked off with the M4 CS, this was followed by the M4 Competition Pack, M2, M3 and X5M, this was a nice combination to get a feel of what lines ones should use , breaking points and exit lines.
My turn to drive the M5 came, I did my best to suppress the excitement to no avail, my seating position was perfect, I was ready. The shove was undiluted and as immediate as the rise of the EFF in politics. The sound is not quite as audible as its predecessor, however that’s a refinement attribute. Joining the main straight at 180km/h is not something taken lightly, I noted this after having to gently climb on the anchors as Phillip(Instructor& Former racing ace) had warned me about going in too hot. The anchors brought us to a humbling speed, the turn in was crisp, what’s lovely about force-fed motors is that you can par throttle and get full boost. The exit was brisk with DSC keeping us in check; through the twisties the M5 showed its prowess bulleting through before I had to tap the brakes, turned in and faced the back straight. This straight is deceiving as it loaded with a long sweep that is approached at speed with no real breaking markers. Over here I was required to be smooth while turning in and gently turn in and back on the power but with finesse. The M5 is relatively big, but how it manages change of direction is astonishing, the XDrive does superb work of giving traction where it is needed. I must say DSC does not intervene too much unless you are too hard on the throttle as you exit or if you don’t smooth out you exits. How this car handles the track shows it should be gem on the open road, in fact I can attest it that it was one of the most fun cars I have driven on track. I had 2 stints which equated to about 10-12 laps, not many luxury performance saloons can take a beating on a race track and still comfortably drive home.
At this point you wondering , what else is on offer on the new M car, a lot…like a lot of standard features to justify a R1.747 500 purchase, should you wish for something more unique the First |Edition with its matt paint finish and a host of other goodies will set you back a smidge over R2m.
The M5 has redefine M cars and re asserted itself as a member in good standing amongst the High perfomance saloon segment, if not the leader. If you follow WWE you would know Dwayne “The Rock”Johnson, the new M5 reminds me of him , strength, charisma and resilience.
Congratulations to BMW on winning the World Performance car for 2018 with the new M5, its the brands 7th awards at this prestigious international level.
Thanks to BMW SA, Edward, Lesego ,Lerato, Lavesh and the rest of the team for an epic experience at the launch. Siyabulela Tata
Yours in Motoring
Wezile Lorenzio Bonani