In the final part of our Fast & Luxurious car series from the Summer 2021 issue, LUX’s car reviewer takes the BMW M5 Competition for a spin
For an older generation of car enthusiasts, BMW’s M5 has a particular and hallowed heritage. There is intense debate about which generation of M5 history will judge best, whether it’s the original 1980s flavour, the 1990s editions with the souped-up engines, or the 2000s edition with the F1-like V10 engine. It’s a debate that is unlikely to end soon, even with the apparition of this, the latest M5. As usual, it is more powerful, faster and more luxurious than the generation before.
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On driving it down an empty country lane, it is also evident that BMW’s engineers have tried to keep true to the memory of the original in terms of handling. The company may put its ‘M’ for motorsport label on all its fast cars these days, but the M5 has a precision of steering, and a purity of balance, that is unique and highly impressive for a four-door saloon car.
The faster you go, the sharper the curve, the more the car feeds back, feels lighter, at ease. The transformation from big and slightly anonymous car around town – you could be driving more or less any large-ish BMW – to sports car that feels like it just wants to be on a racetrack is quite striking.
The car’s interior and overall experience for passengers is one of a smart, comfortable saloon car; unless you are taking the car to its limits, they are unlikely to notice they are in anything much different to the executive sedan that shuttled them from the airport. The engine note from its twin-turbo V8 is muted, almost unnoticeable. The ride is firmly controlled and solid. With the driver settings on comfort mode, anyone could drive it anywhere and not know they are in anything special.
That is the way it has always been with the M5. Even the earliest model, in the 1980s when car bodykits and show-off wings were all the rage, was deliberately dressed down to look like a normal BMW; there was even a slower model in the range, the M535i, that looked more showy about its speed. For us it was heartening to see that, despite its size (this car feels enormous), the M5 hasn’t turned into a straight-line drag racer. If your life involves driving down a twisty country lane, this is still the best car in the world.
LUX rating: 18.5/20
Find out more: bmw.co.uk
This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue.