BMW M5 Review & Prices

The BMW M5 is a ferociously fast, yet practical and comfy saloon — just as it has always been. Shame you can’t get the amazing CS model (or the more affordable, yet still massively quick, M550i) anymore. Nab one of these before they’re replaced

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RRP £92,125 - £141,350
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Staggering V8 performance
  • Sharper to drive than alternatives
  • Competition is as usable as a regular 5 Series

What's not so good

  • Pricing starts at more than £100k
  • Adaptive cruise is a pricey extra
  • CS is less practical and strict four-seater

Find out more about the BMW M5

Is the BMW M5 a good car?

The BMW M5 is a bit like Elvis Presley – when he was alive at least. You see, it’s ‘the king’ of practical, useable performance cars and has been so for several decades, but it’s got larger and heavier over the years. However, it can still put on one heck of a show.

Anyway, the Munich monster is renowned for packing supercar pace into an executive car package, and the latest version is no exception. It’s just a shame that the M5 CS — which you could think of as a 911 GT3-like upgrade of the standard M5; lighter, sharper, more fun — isn’t available anymore, and nor is the more affordable, but still blisteringly fast, M550i, an M5 Lite, but in a good way.

The BMW M5 Competition features an improved version of its 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8, packing 625hp and 750Nm of torque.

The four-wheel-drive system means the M5 is a serious dragster, too, although it’s far more than just straight-line monster. It grips the road and feels lighter to drive than it should.

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 meaning there’s 530 litres of boot space too. 

Hop inside and BMW’s although the M5 sticks with the older Version 7.0 iDrive infotainment system, it’s a really satisfying, easy-to-use setup and it doe  feature both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto through a wireless connection. 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. The high-backed front bucket seats — with an illuminated M-badge built in — are electrically adjustable and heated, and are exceptionally comfortable.

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!

On paper, the BMW M5 sounds perfect, right? Well, with a starting price of over £110k, the super saloon will make your eyes water on the forecourt, added to which it’s about to go out of production, as BMW rolls out its new 5 Series and electric i5

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, it’s borderline daylight robbery from BMW. That’s just scratching the surface of options too, with a fully kitted out M5 Competition nudging over £130k.

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. If we still had the option, though, we’d take home the M550i xDrive and use the change to add a few more extras. 

To find out how much you could save on a BMW M5, check out the latest new BMW deals and used BMW deals on carwow. Check out how much your car could be really worth when you sell through carwow, too.

How much is the BMW M5?

The BMW M5 has a RRP range of £92,125 to £141,350. The price of a used BMW M5 on Carwow starts at £42,270.

The M5 Competition is a very expensive car, with prices starting quite way north of £100,000 and that’s before you start dipping into the extensive and expensive options list. A Mercedes-AMG E63 4MATIC saloon is fractionally less pricey than the M5 Competition, but then again you’re still looking at a ruinous options list. Audi’s estate-only RS6 Avant is slightly more expensive again, but then again BMW doesn’t make an estate M5 anymore, so it’s not quite a fair fight.

If it’s a fast estate you’re after, then it’s well worth looking at Alpina’s B5 GT, made by BMW’s own in-house bespoke and tuning company, which is pricier than the M5 Competition in basic form, but is more exclusive still. Ditto the Maserati Ghibli Trofeo, which offers 45bhp less, for a little more money, but which is gorgeous and Italian, so that’s OK.

It’s worth bearing in mind, too, that there are now viable electric alternatives. The Porsche Taycan GTS is knocking on the door of 600bhp, and costs about the same as the M5 Competition, while BMW’s own new all-electric i5 M60 undercuts the M5 by almost £15,000 and yet has power and acceleration to match the mighty M.

Performance and drive comfort

The M5 is astonishingly fast — almost too much so for British roads — and handles brilliantly but it is big and it is heavy, and you can feel that at times. It’s a 5 Series at heart, so it’s still useable around town and on long journeys, but other fast BMW’s offer better all-round comfort

In town

Not to constantly harp on about the old, departed, M550i, but that car could be had with rear-wheel steering and the M5 Competition can’t. Why is that important? Because this is a pretty big car, and the rear-wheel steering setup would make it feel much more manoeuvrable in town. That said, this is a 5 Series underneath all the M-sport bits, so it’s still reasonably sensibly-sized and useable in-town.

The view out is fine, aside from windscreen pillars which are a bit chunky, and the all-round parking camera and sensors mean slotting into a tight space is easy enough, even if the turning circle is pretty broad, at 12-metres. The tuned suspension can be switched into Comfort mode, which does help as the adaptive dampers go limp and soak up more bumps, but you’re never unaware that the M5 is a serious performance machine, and so it’s not the comfiest thing around town. 

On the motorway

First things first; how on Earth has BMW made a £100,000+ high-performance flagship and left adaptive, radar-guided cruise control on the options list (and it’s an expensive option, too)? It just seems like penny-pinching at a time when Toyota offers radar cruise as standard on a humble Corolla. Other than that, the M5, what with being a car designed for the Autobahn, eats up British motorways with ease.

That towering power output means you’ll never get left out when merging, and the comfort and refinement of the cabin mean that — fuel economy aside — long journeys pass by with maximum relaxation. That said, the stiffened-up suspension, even in Comfort mode, isn’t quite as gentle on your back as some other sporting BMW models, and there is a bit more road noise from those big tyres than is ideal.

On a twisty road

Needless to say, the engine utterly dominates the M5’s twisty road performance. This car is just so quick, it can almost only be described by repeated swearing, followed by a court appearance. Driving at 60mph on the test track, we floored the throttle and were doing 100mph in pretty much the same amount of time it takes to read this sentence. It doesn’t sound quite as good as it used to, though — a mid-life upgrade brought in an exhaust system that, while still allowing the V8 to sound fruity, meets the latest drive-by noise regulations and so means it’s less loud than it used to be. 

The clever four-wheel drive system — which can be switched from a standard 50:50 front:rear split to a sportier setting that sends more power to the rear wheels, and even a fully-lunatic setting which sends all the power to the back (on-track only, please) — is superb, allowing you to catapult out of bends. It’s helped by the M-Differential, which can distribute the power between the rear wheels, and which allows for lurid slides and skids, if you’re somewhere where it’s safe and legal to do those. It stays flat through those corners — as you’d expect — and gives you loads of confidence.

That said, it’s true that the M5 is a heavy car, at 1,855kg. So when you’re really pressing on, you can feel that weight and mass, especially when braking for a tight corner, and it can understeer — pushing wide of the corner — at times. That said, it does have the edge in handling fun over its main competition from Mercedes and Audi. 

For an extra £8,000 you can get astonishing carbon-ceramic brakes (you’ll spot them thanks to the gold-coloured brake calipers) which not only stop the M5 better, but which also help to save around 23kg of weight, which improves the handling just a fraction. 

That does highlight a problem, though. You see, the M5 Competition is too heavy to be a sports car, but it’s also way too fast for normal road driving, and too big to exploit on narrow British country roads. That’s why the more affordable, still fast M550i made for such a compelling choice. Shame we can’t have it anymore, but maybe the new electric i5 M60 will play that role in comparison to the incoming new 1,000hp hybrid-engined M5.

If you really want to, there’s an optional M Driver’s Pack, which not only removes the M5’s speed limiter (raising the top-speed from 155mph to 190mph) but also gives you a BMW M Race Track training session from the BMW Driving Experience team. Well worth it if you want to learn how to properly control a car like this. 

Space and practicality

The M5 Competition matches the standard 5 Series for practicality, even if the likes of the Audi RS6 and Merc E63 AMG are more practical still.


While there are plenty of reminders that you’re in an M5 (the badges, the special seats, the red starter button) this is still a 5 Series, so it’s still a very practical car. The door bins are a decent size, and there’s a big storage area under the ‘butterfly’ style front seat armrest. There’s another storage space under a sliding lid in front of the gear selector, and you’ll find the cup holders in there, which is good as it means you won’t bump into bottles or cups when you’re using the gear lever. There’s a wireless phone charging pad in there too.

Space in the back seats

As with the front, the M5 is 5 Series-roomy in the back, too. It’s not as spacious as a Mercedes E-Class nor an Audi A6, but there’s plenty of knee-room and good headroom too. You also get the same butter-soft ‘Merino’ leather as those sitting up front — perfect for the kids to rub Nutella into… There’s just about enough space for a third rear passenger to squeeze into the middle seat, but their feet are going to be splayed either side of the big transmission tunnel, and they’ll be perched up higher than those at either side, so it’s not the comfiest spot. You do get ISOFIX mounts for child seats in the outer two rear seats.

Boot space

At 530-litres, the M5 Competition’s boot is easily big enough to take the suitcases or shopping with which you need to fill it. The boot lid is electrically operated, but annoyingly you can open it with a button on the remote key, but not shut it with the same button. The rear seats split 40:20:40 which means you can have the middle seat folded down to take a long load, and still have people sat comfortably on either side.

It’s a shame that BMW doesn’t make an M5 Touring estate though, as there’s no getting away from the fact that the Audi RS6 Avant estate has an extra 35-litres of space, and is more versatile. Equally, the Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate has more luggage litres than the M5 has horsepower — 640-litres, although the saloon E63 has about the same boot space as the BMW, with 540-litres.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The M5’s infotainment system is easier to use than the more recent ‘big screen’ models but gesture control is just pointless

The M5 Competition uses BMW’s outgoing seventh generation iDrive infotainment system, which is actually a little easier to use and easier on the eyes than the latest one, with the big curved screens. You do get two 12.3-inch digital screens, one standing up from the middle of the dash which is your infotainment system, and one for the instrument panel. 

The middle screen has an almost confusing number of ways with which you can control it. It’s a touchscreen, or you can use steering wheel buttons for some functions, or you can use the iDrive ‘clickwheel’ down on the centre console, or you can use voice control, or you can — for things like controlling the stereo volume — use touchless (and pointless…) gesture control. For all that confusion, though, it’s a pretty logical and sensible screen to work your way around. You also get wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections, and plenty of USB sockets and a wireless charging pad up front. There is also a system that keeps your software fresh with over the air updates.

The M5 is a hugely complex car, and you can adjust everything from the way the four-wheel drive system works to how violent the gearshifts of the eight-speed automatic ‘box are, and there are three settings — Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus — for almost everything. Thankfully, you can simplify all of this by using the little red M1 and M2 buttons on the steering wheel, which can be pre-programmed with your favourite settings. So, you can have one button to activate an everything-soft mode for tootling around town, and the other which turns everything up to maximum attack for when you’re doing a track day (and BMW has upgraded the M5 Competition’s cooling system to allow you to do just that). 

Thankfully, unlike more recent BMW models, the controls for the air conditioning are proper buttons, so they’re really easy to use. Those sitting in the back get their own heating and aircon controls, too. 

Other high-tech stuff includes a heads-up display projected onto the windscreen, a ‘drive recorder’ which means you can play back your trackday laps, and adaptive LED headlights (sadly, only the M5 CS got the gorgeous Le Mans-style yellow headlights). 

Fuel economy and tax

Officially, the M5 Competition can squeeze 25mpg out of that mighty 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Good luck with that, though — you’re more likely to be getting less than 20mpg most of the time, and some spirited on-track driving during our test saw that fall to 5.5mpg…

The M5 has CO2 emissions of 239g/km, so you’ll pay the maximum £2,220 in the first year, plus the £390 levy for cars costing more than £40,000. The M5 will cost you 37 per cent BIK tax if you’re getting one as a company car, and it’s in Group 50 for insurance so don’t expect a cheap premium.

Safety and security

When it was tested in 2017, the BMW 5 Series received a full five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, with a 91 per cent score for adult occupant protection, 85 per cent for child occupants, and 81 per cent for vulnerable road user protection. The test has been tightened up significantly since then, so it’s unlikely that the 5 Series nor the M5 would score the maximum five stars today. 

Annoyingly, in spite of the M5’s price, the Driving Assistant Professional pack is still an option, meaning you have to pay extra — quite a bit extra — for items such as radar-guided cruise control, active steering control, and lane-keeping. What a ripoff. 

BMW offers a Trackstar S5 concealed tracking device for a mere £500 extra for the M5, and that’s an options box we’d definitely be ticking as this is a hugely desirable car, and a likely target for car thieves. 

Reliability and problems

The S63 V8 engine in the M5 is reckoned to be more or less bulletproof as far as reliability is concerned, but to ensure that level of solidity, you’ll need to keep your M5 Competition serviced on the button, which won’t be cheap. Equally, all the disposable items — tyres, brake pads, oil filters etc — will be more expensive and given the M5’s weight and performance, it’s likely to get through plenty of all of these, and more. 

BMW does give the car a standard three-year warranty (two years’ manufacturer’s warranty and a third year of local cover) but just remember that the warranty doesn’t cover trackdays, so if you break something big, it’s your own fault. 

Buy or lease the BMW M5 at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £92,125 - £141,350
Carwow price from
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
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