What's the used BMW M5 saloon like?
If you’re in the market for an uber-fast saloon that’ll handle racetracks and the school run with equal aplomb, one that’ll fill your neighbour's eye and dismiss a trans-continental family holiday with nonchalant ease then feast your eyes on the BMW M5.
Since 1984 the German firm has been churning out these brilliantly souped-up versions of its premium saloon, in varying generations that have ranged from the subtle to the explosive, with V10 engines under the bonnet and, in its latest guise, four-wheel drive.
This generation, launched in 2011 and replaced in 2016 and known in-house by the rather unglamorous moniker F10, made do with a V8 and rear-wheel drive, but within those limitations produced a car of remarkable agility and supreme desirability. Under the bonnet, you’ll find an all-aluminium 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine good for a whopping 552bhp, making it at the time the most powerful of all M5s. However, if that were to be not enough for that trans-continental bash, or urban commute, you could upgrade to a Competition Pack version that produced even more: 565bhp. Or, you could have a limited-edition Competition Edition that was good for an even more thrilling 592bhp.
There’s only the one trim level but that is comprehensively equipped and luxuriosly appointed, with evidence of some real quality in its furnishings. Kit-wise, the M5 gets 19in alloys, blue brake calipers, cruise control, a quad-exhaust system, a glass sunroof, and adaptive xenon headlights, while interior goodies include a 10in screen iDrive infotainment system with a DAB radio, sat-nav, a Merino leather interior, sports seats and a head-up display too.
On the road, the M5’s engine is a wonderfully rorty unit and with it the car goes like the clappers, with 0 to 62mph coming up in 4.3 seconds and even 0 to 100mph achievable in under 9 seconds. The seven-speed, dual-clutch M DCT transmission is the M5’s next greatest success story. It endows the car with relaxed usability to match its superb at-pace precision. Approach a corner and its indomitability is reinforced by responsive steering, high grip levels and tremendously adaptable handling that is both secure and deeply rewarding. The M5’s multi-mode suspension settings allow you to switch between the magnificently firm and the reasonably comfortable while never detracting from the car’s fluid approach to cornering, or its high-speed potential when belting through them. The flip-side is a stiff ride in the sportier modes and a firm ride in the easier ones, although it could never be called uncomfortable.
Inside is a high-class interior of material richness and soft-touch materials that offers a superb driving position, adjustable electrically through the chubby wheel and supportive sports seat, and plenty of space both up front and in the rear. There’s even a handsomely sized boot, large enough for a huge weekly shop or to be stuffed with all the family’s luggage en route to your rented gite, far down in the south of France.
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