BMW M5 (2018) Review

BMW M5 (2018) At A Glance

5/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The BMW M5 is that rarest of things in the car world, more than just a flagship model it’s become an icon, a car that gives performance car buyers a family five-seater without compromising on the sort of pace they’re used to.

+Incredibly fast and competent, relatively understated looks for the performance on offer, a four (occasionally five) seat supercar with four-wheel drive.

-Limited opportunity to really exploit its incredible performance, engine sounds a bit muted, some safety-related equipment really should come as standard at this price, no estate model.

Every model range needs a halo model, and for the BMW 5 Series that’s the BMW M5 Competition. BMW might only sell tiny numbers of these 625PS twin turbocharged V8 rocketships in comparison to more pragmatic 5 Series models, but there’s not a 5 Series out there that’s been sprinkled with a little bit of desirability because of from the M5’s existence. 

Few cars can really be described as being classified as iconic, but the BMW M5 is among them. Ever since it first arrived it’s shocked with its speed, wowed with its agility and kept high performance sports and supercars honest, despite having the ability to haul your family and friends along for the ride, too.

That it’s based on the always highly regarded 5 Series is no bad thing, but in the M5, and specifically today’s M5 Competition, is, in the best tradition of Spinal Tap, a 5 Series ‘turned up to 11’.

Remaining relatively sober-suited in its looks, the M5 Competition pulls off the subterfuge that all M5s before it have, which is to shoehorn massive potential performance into the recognisable, and useful, BMW 5 Series shape. 

In the M5 Competition that means there’s a 4.4-litre 625PS twin turbocharged V8 petrol engine under the bonnet, enough to allow it to reach 62mph in 3.3 seconds, and, should you send a few more pounds BMW’s way and option the M Driver’s package, lift the electronic speed limiter from the standard 155mph, to a more heady 190mph – which might be useful if you visit Germany regularly. 

The current model was introduced in 2018 as the mere 600PS M5, but within a few short months of that arriving BMW added the M5 Competition model to the range. This upped the power to 625PS, giving the styling a bit of a edgier look with a dark grille and other gloss black trim parts, standard 20-inch wheels and M Sport exhaust and no-doubt annoying those early customers who’d already had their regular M5s delivered.

Nobody in this league is going to buy a lesser car from BMW’s configurator, and so it transpired, as shortly after the M5 Competition’s arrival the standard M5 was quietly dropped from the line-up – in other markets the Competition Pack remains a cost option.  

The M5 might be based on the 5 Series, but unlike its handful of rivals BMW only offers its most potent 5 with as a saloon, denying you the ability to fill the boot with flatpack furniture, or, more likely, the Chocolate Labrador and a Fortnum and Mason picnic hamper.

Saloon rivals include the Mercedes-AMG E63 S 4 Matic+, the Porsche Panamera Turbo/Turbo S and Maserati Quattroporte Trofeo, with Alpina offering its take on a fast 5 Series in as the B5 Bi-Turbo, it being available in both saloon and estate forms.

Audi’s RS6 offers similar performance, too, but it is only available as an estate, and if you’re broadening the genre there’s a host of similar performance SUVs out there, BMW itself offering its X5 and X6 models in M guise. 

We doubt that a performance SUV would be bought in place of an M5 Competition, the flagship BMW a very niche machine, that’s a talented, fast all-rounder, for those occasions when you’re in a hurry and you need more than the two seats of the rest of the cars in your garage. 

What does a BMW M5 (2018) cost?