Ever since the covers were pulled off the original BMW M5 at the 1984 Amsterdam motor show, it has been the yardstick against which all other super-saloons are judged, and that’s a trend that BMW would obviously like to continue with this sixth-generation model.
So, what has its M performance division come up with to prepare the class-leading 5 Series luxury saloon for battle with what can only be described as weapons-grade competition in the form of the Porsche Panamera Turbo, Mercedes-AMG E63 and Audi RS6?
Well, under the M5’s bonnet sits a heavily tweaked 592bhp version of its predecessor’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine. But, as they say, power is nothing without control, which goes some way to explaining BMW’s decision to eschew the traditional rear-wheel drive layout for a new four-wheel drive system – a first for the M5. The benefits are obvious: increased traction for improved all-weather usability and a frankly bonkers 0-62mph time of 3.2sec.
However, there’s always the worry that adding four-wheel drive will dampen the driving experience; like walking in wellies, you may have more traction, but you won’t always feel what’s going on underfoot. And yet BMW claims that the M5 still offers drivers true rear-wheel-drive-like traits, as well as significantly enhanced stability.
So, in the world of supercar-slaying saloons, is the M5 still king? That's what we're going to explore in this review.