Story & photos by VJ Bacungan
EVEN the pouring rain couldn’t dampen the excitement surrounding the local debut of the all-new BMW M5 on July 15 at the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) headquarters.
Billionaire petrolhead Ramon S. Ang, chairman of Philippine BMW importer and distributor SMC Asia Car Distributors Corp. extolled the M5’s performance in a speech—telling an audience of supercar owners and journalists about how it is “faster than Ferraris and Lamborghinis, but with four doors.”
Giving the flagship 5 Series some serious poke is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter, twin-cam, 32-valve, direct-injection V8 carried over from the previous M5, but tweaked to produce 600 horsepower and 750 N-m of torque (versus 553 hp and 680 N-m for the old car).
Paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and, a first for the M5, standard all-wheel drive, this German super sedan can do 0 to 100 kph in 3.4 seconds, 0 to 200 kph in 11.1 seconds and hit an electronically limited top speed of 250 kph.
If you opt for the M Driver’s Package, the limiter is raised to 305 kph. (Take the limiter off and you’ll probably still be giving Ferraris and Lamborghinis grief past the 320 kph mark.)
Despite power going to all four wheels, the company said the system is still rear-biased to allow for excellent grip, but without the annoying understeer. For the truly skilled (or truly crazy), the car could, likewise, be set to 2WD mode with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system switched off.
This new M5 continues the model’s three-decade-long tradition of hiding its monumental performance in a low-key, almost benign sedan form.
Besides the tiny M5 badges around the body, those with sharper eyes will note subtle differences to the regular 5 Series like the M5-exclusive sculpted aluminum hood and revised front bumper with larger air intakes for better cooling of the radiators and the brakes.
Down the side, the only giveaways are model-specific door mirrors, the characteristic “M gills” and wider aluminum front wheel arches to accommodate the standard 20-inch wheels.
At the back, a small rear lip spoiler and an M5-exclusive rear diffuser complete the look. Those with a view from above will note the standard, unpainted, carbon-fiber roof.
As with any other 5 Series, the M5 provides luxurious and roomy accommodation for five passengers, starting with standard Merino leather lining the cabin.
Front passengers get electrically adjustable M sports seats with an embossed M logo in the head restraints. Besides the usual range of adjustments, there is also a pneumatic backrest width adjustment to help hold you down when you attack the corners. Once you’re behind the wheel, the large digital instrument cluster keeps you informed of the selected driving dynamic mode, the all-wheel-drive system’s setting and the option engaged for the gearbox.
Keen performance drivers will also appreciate the shift lights that show the best time to change gears when in manual shift mode. All this information can also be reflected into the M-specific Head-Up Display.
Meanwhile, the car’s settings can be managed through the central touchscreen or the meaty M Sport steering wheel, which has two red M1 and M2 buttons next to the gearshift paddles to allow drivers to configure two individual setups for the M5.
These include driver configurations for the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system, DSC, engine, transmission, damper and steering characteristics, as well as the appearance of M view in the Head-Up Display.
The company also said that, for the first time, the M5 is now also available with all the driver-assistance systems and features familiar from the new BMW 5 Series.
If you’ve always wanted a spacious, luxury sedan with a big trunk, but also happens to be a rocket ship, the all-new M5 is available at your nearby BMW dealership starting at P14.79 million.