Widely considered the pinnacle of super-saloons, the iconic BMW M5 has always been in the upper echelons of the high performance executive car segment. The launch of the very first legendary M5 in 1985 earned it the title of world’s fastest production sedan and BMW has amassed a stockpile of accolades for its 5-Series variant since then. Although a 4 door heavyweight, the M-tuned super-sedan has managed to match and even surpass the performance of many world-class sports cars over its production span. This sedan practicality with sports car performance has made it a popular choice for those who prefer a spacious and comfortable cabin while hauling groceries at warp speeds.
The latest iteration of the BMW M5 includes subtle, but distinctive cosmetic updates for 2021. The refresh consists of new L-shaped laser headlights and LED taillights along with updated front and rear bumpers that encompass a sharper design. The front grille has also been enlarged and redesigned to match the new pointed features. Expanding on the paint color options, BMW now offers Hatch Grey and Motegi Red, while Tanzanite Blue II, Aventurine Red II and matt Frozen Bluestone are new BMW Individual finishes. The brake calipers also get new color options. In addition to the standard blue color, the calipers are now also available in high-gloss red or black.
In the cabin, it is all BMW business. The 10.25-inch display from last year has been swapped for a larger 12.3-inch touchscreen. Cloud-based BMW Maps, which should provide faster and more efficient route calculations, and wireless Android Auto have been added. For interior color options, the Full Merino Leather package is now available in Black with Midrand Beige Alcantara inserts. Features you would expect to find on any modern BMW of this caliber, such as a heated and power-adjustable steering wheel, navigation system, 600-watt Harman Kardon surround sound audio system, wireless charging for mobile devices and Lane Departure warning are standard. Ambient interior lighting with adjustable color and brightness options, is also included at no additional cost. For those that want extra, BMW offers an Executive Package that includes soft-close automatic doors, front ventilated and massaging seats, rear heated seats and Surround View cameras with 3D remote view.
For a more comfortable ride during high-speeds and better handling, new shock absorbers borrowed from the M8 Gran Coupe and a recalibrated damper control system were added to the Competition model. This setup results in a ride height that is 7 millimetres lower than the standard M5. Spirited drivers should also appreciate the addition of a new Track driving mode, alongside the Sport and Road settings. The new drive mode deactivates all electronic aides, safety features, the audio system and the central control display for a pure, uninterrupted driving experience on the track. Important information is still conveyed on the Head-Up display. Simplifying the driving setup process, BMW incorporated the individual engine, chassis, suspension, steering and xDrive buttons into a single M mode button, courtesy of the M8.
The astonishing performance figures for last year’s model remain largely unchanged, as the 4,262 pound German sled is powered by the same 4.4 liter twin-turbo V8, producing 617 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That robust twist is available through the 1,800 to 5,860 rpm range, an improvement over the standard M5’s 1,800 to 5,690 torque band. Maximum power is reached at 6,000 rpm and translated through an 8-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. The M xDrive all-wheel drive system allows the car to launch hard without any issues and gives a strong sense of stability, even under heavy throttle applications. For genuine rear-wheel drive performance, the drivetrain includes a setting that will send all power to the rear wheels, providing the ultimate driving experience.
BMW claims that the Competition model can accelerate to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, which is a tenth of a second quicker than the 600-horsepower base model. However, the German automaker has a history of modest performance figures, so that acceleration time is likely conservative. The top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph, unless you opt for the 190-mph M Driver’s Package.
In a car industry with ludicrous acceleration and high-tech features, the new M5 Competition has no issues competing at the highest level. While the latest model is far from the driver’s car that BMW gave us with the E39 M5, it is undoubtedly as outrageous and elite as we would expect from a car wearing an M badge. As we move past the era of manual transmissions and hydraulic power steering and into an age with lightning fast launch control systems and electronic power steering, we find ourselves looking for a car with the ultimate balance between spectacular performance and unadulterated driving pleasure. We may have to settle for just maniacal performance for now.
2021 BMW M5 Competition
|PRICE||$112,095 – $136,145 (MSRP)|
|BODY STYLE||4-door sedan|
|ENGINE TYPE||4.4-liter twin-turbocharged and |
intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8
|POWER||617 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|TORQUE||553 lb-ft @ 1,800 – 5,860 rpm|
|DRIVE TYPE||All-wheel drive with rear-wheel drive mode|
|TRANSMISSION||8-speed automatic with manual mode|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||5 in|
|TRUNK VOLUME||14 cu ft|
|CURB WEIGHT||4,345 lbs|
|WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION (F/R)||54.4% / 45.6%|
|WHEEL DIMENSIONS||20-in x 9.5-in Front|
20-in x 10.5-in Rear
|TIRE DIMENSIONS||275/35R-20 Front |
|0 – 60 MPH||3.1 sec|
|TOP SPEED||155 mph (electronically limited) |
190 mph with M Driver’s Package
|FUEL TANK CAPACITY||20.1 gal|
|FUEL ECONOMY||City: 15 mpg|
Highway: 21 mpg
Combined: 17 mpg