BMW M5 review
The BMW M5 Competition is a ferociously fast, yet practical and comfy saloon. However, the much cheaper M550i is a more complete package.
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When it comes to practical performance cars, one of the first to spring to mind is the BMW M5. The German super saloon is renown for packing impressive pace into a spacious and usable package, and the latest version is no exception.
Sitting under the bonnet of the BMW M5 Competition is an improved version of its 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8. Now packing 625hp, its the new leader in the ever-more ludicrous German horsepower arms race – comfortably toppling the Audi RS6’s 605hp and Mercedes-AMG E63’s 612hp. Until its rival engineers finish lunch and come out with updates for those, at least.
It’s more than just a straight-line monster, too. The four-wheel-drive system allows the M5 Competition to grip the road and feel lighter to drive than it should – much more so than those alternatives.
All from a car that will seat five adults comfortably too thanks to plenty of head- and legroom in the back row, while retaining the core 5 Series roots means there’s 530 litres of boot space too. It’s like the perfect Brexit deal – you can have your cake and eat.
Recent updates made to the BMW M5 Competition have only improved the package as well. Up at the front, a redesigned bumper and new headlights keep its face fresh – with that replicated at the back courtesy of a tweaked diffuser and revised taillights.
BMW has fitted slightly narrower exhaust tips as well and cut the V8’s warble a little to meet current noise regulations. You’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference visually, but it’s hard to not be a little underwhelmed by the M5 Competiton’s remastered soundtrack.
The M5 Competition comes very well equipped, but if you can't decide on its options, just go for the £19k Ultimate Pack which adds pretty much all of them all!
Hop inside and BMW’s already excellent infotainment system has been upgraded to feature both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a wireless connection, while some more goodies like an M Model button nabbed straight from the M8 coupe placed next to the gear selector and new seats have been included. There’s still the usual M-branded trimmings too, with M5 badging appearing on the mats and door sills, with seatbelt trimming to match the M colour scheme included as well.
On paper, the BMW M5 Competition sounds perfect, right? In reality, no. With a starting price of over £100k, the super saloon will make your eyes water on the forecourt and becomes a pretty hard purchase to justify when the M550i xDrive exists. That ‘lesser’ car packs most of the performance of the M5 Competition in a more comfortable package and costs £30k less too.
As a side note, that starting price doesn’t include adaptive cruise control either – with that feature part of the £5k Technology Plus Pack. When a car like Toyota Yaris has that as standard, its borderline daylight robbery from BMW. That’s just scratching the surface of options too, with a fully-kitted out M5 Competition nudging over £120k.
If you simply must have the more hard-edged driving experience the M5 Competition offers, you’re still grabbing yourself an absolutely fantastic car that can offer everyday usability without kicking up a fuss. Given the choice, though, we’d take home the M550i xDrive and use the change to add a few more extras.
Still, if you can’t live without the ultimate expression of a BMW 5 Series, you’ll still be getting a breathtaking performance saloon. If that’s you, head over to our deals page for the very best prices.
Watch our Mercedes-AMG E63 v BMW M5 group test: