The BMW M5 has always stood for performance. BMW’s super sedan has been kicking around in various forms since 1984, and despite how many people focus on the brand’s past, the all-new 2018 M5 isn’t afraid to go charging into the future.
The most important part of the M5 has always been its engine. This time around, it’s still rocking a 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8. That said, output is now up to a delightful 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, bumps of 40 and 53 (respectively) over the previous generation. In conjunction with its standard eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, the M5 will hit 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds.
Just because it has four driven wheels doesn’t mean they’re always in use. BMW’s new version of its xDrive all-wheel drive system features a rear bias, leaving the front wheels to pick up the slack only if the rear tires can’t handle any more. A special 2WD mode sends power solely to the rear wheels, for all the smoky drifts you can handle.
M-specific compound brakes are standard, but buyers can opt for carbon ceramic units if they want to track the car regularly. Carbon ceramic brakes take longer to heat up, but they can handle the rigors of track driving for far longer than ordinary steel brakes.
The design is similar to previous M5 models — just take the 5 Series and make it look more aggressive. The front bumper has larger air intakes and sharper lines, the roof is carbon fiber, and even the side mirrors have a unique M style. If you can’t see the rear bumper, which helps the M5 stand out with its hallmark quad tailpipes, just look for a badge on the fender and you’ll be able to tell it’s the M5.
Inside, things get racy. The starter button is red, and the steering wheel features two very prominent red buttons near the shift paddles for changing vehicle modes. Red elements continue through the M-specific shift lever. The instrument cluster and head-up display both feature M-specific graphics, too. Merino leather is standard, as are M-specific heated seats.
Since it’s a 5 Series underneath, the 2018 BMW M5 remains quite the technological marvel. Gesture control allows owners to change volumes and settings with a hand wave. For the first time, the M5 can be had with the 5 Series’ complete suite of active and passive driver aids, which means the M5 will be able to pace other cars on the highway, stay within its lane and even come to a stop, all without driver input (albeit in limited doses).
Early buyers can opt for the BMW M5 First Edition, of which only 50 will be produced. First Edition vehicles sport a special matte red paint job, blacked-out exterior trim elements and piano black interior trim pieces.
The 2018 BMW M5 goes on sale in the spring, and pricing has not yet been mentioned.