Munich - The ultimate in sports saloon motoring has got a name: M5. This finest 5 Series vehicle is the most powerful of all time: five litres of cubic capacity, ten cylinders, a maximum output of 507 bhp (373 kW), a peak torque of 520 Newton metres and engine speeds redlining at 8,000 rpm, these are figures that speak for themselves. In an unprecedented way, these figures blur the lines between a car for everyday use and a vehicle for ambitious motor sport racing.
A successful recipe for two decades: power without overstatement.
With its performance figures, the fourth-generation M5 once again sets the benchmark in the segment of powerful sports saloons, a niche which the first M5 carved for itself back in 1984. During the last 20 years, this first M5 and all its successors have made their mark, always setting the standard as a perfect symbiosis of a comfortable, elegant saloon for everyday use, abundant output delivered by a powerful engine and ultimate sportiness. With sales figures exceeding 20,000, the M5 has proved to be an economically successful concept which combines prodigious performance with understatement, a basic feature of all M automobiles.
This principle reaches its culmination in the new M5: this 'extreme athlete' with its subtle appearance and the seemingly endless power of its ten-cylinder high-revving engine, which interacts perfectly with the seven-speed SMG gearbox, introduces the driver to completely new dimensions of effortlessness. To put it in a nutshell: in its class, which it shares with top-class competitors, the M5 excels due to the most innovative drive concept, the best power-to-weight ratio, supreme handling and excellent everyday driving qualities. It is a fully roadworthy saloon with the heart of an athlete, a sports car which is perfectly suited for everyday motoring. The new M5 skilfully combines these two virtues.
First high-revving V10 engine to be featured in a regular-production saloon.
The V10 is the only high-revving power unit to be featured in a series-production car. Featured in the most powerful production car within the BMW model family, this new engine once again sets the benchmark in its class. There is, however, more to it than pure performance. What is important for M automobiles is acceleration and driving dynamics, the latter which is dependent on the actual forward thrust and the vehicle's weight. The drive forces at the driven wheels are significantly influenced by the engine torque and the total ratio. The high-revving concept caters for an optimum transmission and rear-axle ratio, thus guaranteeing an impressive forward thrust.
The perfect choice: high-revving concept.
For the BMW M engineers the compact, high-revving normally aspirated engine was the ideal choice. With a red line of 8,250 rpm, the ten-cylinder engine has ventured into terrain which has so far been reserved for red-blooded racing cars. Compared to the previous M5 eight-cylinder engine, performance has increased by more than 25 percent. The M5 has also surpassed the magical 100 bhp per litre limit, its specific output being on par with that of racing cars.
A masterpiece in engine construction.
The two five-cylinder banks of the V10 are arranged at an angle of 90° to achieve a mass balance of the crankshaft drive, which is optimised for low vibration and increased comfort. For reasons of stiffness and due to the high loads resulting from combustion pressure, engine speed and vibrations, a bedplate design has been chosen for the crankcase, the first-ever application in a production V engine by BMW. For an optimum alignment of the crankshaft, grey-cast iron inserts have been integrated into the aluminium bedplate, which also serve to enhance acoustics, increase vibrational comfort and ensure a high oil supply rate. The extremely stiff crankshaft is supported by six bearings.
High-pressure bi-VANOS and individual throttle butterflies.
The bi-VANOS variable valve timing featured in the new M5 engine ensures an optimum charge cycle, thus helping to achieve extremely short adjustment times. This means in practice: increased performance, an improved torque curve, optimum responsiveness, lower consumption and fewer emissions. Each cylinder has its own throttle, a feature typical of racing cars. Throttle control is fully electronic and cylinder bank specific.
Dual exhaust system made of stainless steel.
The exhaust system is made of seamless stainless steel and has a dual-flow design all the way to the silencers. The exhaust gases finally leave the system through four tailpipes which are what make the rear end of the M vehicles so unmistakable. The exhaust system complies with the European EU4 and the US LEV2 emission standards.
The engine control module: the first of its kind in the world.
The MS S65 engine management system is the central factor behind the V10's outstanding performance and emission data. This engine management system is unparalleled in its package density. Its processors are the most powerful ones which are currently approved for use in automobiles, as high engine speeds and comprehensive management and control tasks demand the utmost from this system.
Highlight in engine management: ionic current technology.
The ionic current technology featured by the engine management unit is a technological highlight which serves to detect engine knock, misfiring and combustion misses. Utilising the spark plug in each cylinder, this system helps to pinpoint engine knock, to check for correct ignition and to detect any ignition misses. Thus, the spark plug has a dual function - as an actuator for the ignition and as a sensor for monitoring the combustion process.
Seven-speed SMG gearbox conveys M power to the tarmac.
The high-revving concept only succeeds in combination with a gearbox which translates the torque available to the engine, by means of a short overall transmission ratio, into optimised forward thrust.
The seven-speed SMG gearbox is precisely the right transmission to ideally convey the V10 engine's power via the drive train to the wheels. BMW M is the first manufacturer worldwide to offer a seven-speed sequential gearbox with drivelogic function. Even more highly perfected than the previous six-speed transmission, the seven-speed SMG gearbox enables manual gear selection with ultra-short shifting times as well as comfortable cruising thanks to automated gear selection. The purpose of the additional seventh gear is to reduce engine speed and torque gaps.
New SMG gearbox's speed up by 20 percent.
With the seven-speed SMG gearbox, gears can be changed using the gearshift lever on the centre console or the paddles on the steering wheel. Compared to the previous SMG transmission, changing gears is 20 percent faster with the new SMG generation. Never before has it been quicker to change gears with a transmission of this kind. The advantage for the M5 driver: Gear change is smooth and accomplished at a speed impossible to reach even by the most proficient driver, thus making the inevitable power flow interruptions when changing gears hardly noticeable. The M5 delivers an almost jerk-free performance when accelerating from a standstill to its top speed.
Drivelogic: the driver determines the SMG's characteristics for changing gears:
Thanks to the SMG's drivelogic function, the driver can choose from eleven gear change options, which enable him to adapt the SMG's characteristics to his very own style of motoring.
Six of these programs can be pre-selected in the sequential manual gearbox mode (S mode), the spectrum ranging from balanced dynamic to very sporty. With the gearbox in the S mode, the driver always shifts gears manually. Whenever the driver activates the Launch Control function, the SMG Drivelogic shifts gears shortly before the maximum engine speed is reached at precisely the right moment and with optimum slip until the M5 reaches its top speed.
In the Drive (D mode) automatic gearshift mode, the transmission shifts the seven gears automatically, depending on the program selected, the driving situation, the road speed and the position of the accelerator pedal.
SMG for increased safety and comfort.
The seven-speed SMG gearbox not only supports the driver in achieving motor sports performance, but also offers scores of safety features. In critical situations, when the driver shifts down on a slippery surface, for example, the gearbox opens the clutch in the fraction of a second in order to prevent the M5 from swerving out of control in the event of excessive drag torque at the driven wheels. Further functions are the climbing, which prevents the car from rolling backwards during hill starts as well as the hill detection, which adjusts the shift points on gradients and descents. This prevents gear hunting when going uphill. When driving downhill, the hill detection holds the lower gears for longer in order to make effective use of the engine's braking power.
Maximum driving pleasure.
The interaction of the V10 engine and the seven-speed SMG gearbox results in a level of performance, which has so far been inconceivable for series-production saloons. Above all, there is one thing the M5 gives to its driver: driving pleasure at its best. Compared to the previous M5, the current model comes up trumps in all performance and fun disciplines: it accomplishes the 0 to 62 mph sprint in 4,7 seconds and reaches the 200 km/h (124 mph) mark after a mere 15 seconds to go on to the electronically limited top speed of 250 km/h (155 mph). A glance at the speedometer reveals where this power package would head for if maximum speed was not electronically limited: an awe-inspiring 330 km/h (205 mph).
The Nürburgring serves as a test track.
Compared to all direct competitors, the interaction of actual forward thrust and a low vehicle weight is a strong argument in favour of the new M5. Also in this respect, the M5 sets the benchmark and leaves its competitors far behind.
An undisputed gauge of driving dynamics is the northern loop of the legendary Nürburgring race track. For decades, the world's most demanding race track has been the perfect place of separating the wheat from the chaff. There is no other place where the interaction of vehicle components when taken to the limits can be observed as well as on the Nürburgring's northern loop. With lap times of approximately eight minutes, the M5 can hold its own and is a worthy competitor of thoroughbred sports cars, leaving its competitors far behind. By the way: traditionally, all M vehicles are tested there.
M suspension based on the 5 Series: the icing on the cake.
The aforementioned lap time demonstrates that the M5 can be extremely sporty. Although the suspension of the basic 5 Series model is undoubtedly very good, such a record performance with respect to dynamics would not be possible. This is why the M5 is also totally unique with regard to its suspension.
Many detail solutions and changes turn the 5 Series into an M5.
Consequently, the suspension and its electronic assistants have been either exclusively developed for the new M5, undergone extensive modifications or adapted to the special M performance. For example, the M5's running gear is by no means a lowered 5 Series suspension. Instead, it is an optimised design created from scratch. The suspension assisting systems, some of which have the same name as those of the 5 Series, have been optimised for this vehicle. On the one hand, this suspension contributes greatly to the M5 being the technological culmination of the successful BMW 5 Series. On the other hand, it clearly demonstrates that the M5 is a unique model with a distinctive appearance.
Variable M differential lock.
The M5 has a variable, torque-sensing differential lock bestowing the vehicle with a high level of driving stability and optimum traction, above all when accelerating out of bends. Even in extremely demanding driving situations, i.e. when there are major differences in the coefficients of friction at the driven wheels, it offers a decisive advantage in terms of traction. A further advantage is that it instantly builds up an increasing locking power if the speed difference between the driven wheels rises, thus guaranteeing optimum forward progress at all times.
Only featured in the M5: DSC with two selectable driving dynamics programs.
A new generation of the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) has been especially developed for the M5. The DSC system can be deactivated by pressing a button on the selector lever cover. The driving dynamics programs are pre-selected in the so-called MDrive and can be called up using the MDrive button on the steering wheel. Whilst the first DSC mode by and large corresponds to that of the 5 Series, the second mode - the M Dynamic Mode - is highly appreciated by sports-minded drivers.
EDC: the spectrum ranges from sportingly firm to comfortable.
The M5's Electronic Damper Control (EDC) enables the driver to choose from three programs (comfort, normal and sport), thereby adjusting the suspension characteristics accordingly. The driver can operate the EDC function via the MDrive button on the steering wheel or the push button next to the SMG selector lever.
Power button activates engine characteristics 'on demand'.
The driver often does not need the M5's full performance and maximum agility, for example in city traffic. This is why the markedly comfortable P400 performance program with an engine output of 400 bhp is automatically activated whenever the engine is started. At the push of a button (the so-called Power button on the selector lever cover), the ten-cylinder powerplant's full power is at the driver's disposal. The accelerator pedal kinematics adopt spontaneous characteristics, giving free rein, in the P500 program, to the sporty driver and eliciting, in the P500 sport program, uncompromising racing pleasure.
High-performance brakes derived from motor sport.
To complement its immense power output, the M5 is equipped with a generously sized high-performance braking system with perforated, weight-optimised compound brake discs. The aluminium twin-piston sliding callipers (analogous to the BMW 7 Series), which have been optimised for minimum weight and maximum stiffness, help the M5 to achieve stopping distances similar to those of red-blooded sports cars: deceleration from 62 mph to 0 is accomplished in under 36 metres, the braking distance from 124 mph to a standstill is less than 140 metres.
The high-performance business express.
A wolf in sheep-s clothing - this description would fit if the basic 5 Series, and particularly the new M5, looked 'tame' when viewed from outside. In fact, the 5 Series already looks sporty, elegant and athletic. It is no coincidence that this 5 Series represents BMW's dynamic business class. The M5 is set apart from the basic model by a host of striking and hidden details, which further add to its powerful, sporty and dynamic looks. An athlete in business attire would be an apt description of the new M5.
Exterior with understatement.
The differences in design versus the basic 5 Series are discreet but consistent, giving the M5 a surprisingly high level of uniqueness in terms of looks, without questioning the common genes with the BMW model series. The modified front and rear aprons are instant eye catchers. Another difference is the modified side sills and the somewhat more prominent wheel arches. Traditionally, the M differs from the 'normal' BMW in its exclusive exterior mirror design, the four tailpipes, which have also become an unmistakable feature of all M vehicles, and the exclusive wheel design. For the first time, the M5 sports very attractive gills which are incorporated into the front side panel.
An even sportier interior.
The M5 comes with a leather interior in three different colours, which makes it look even more sophisticated than the lavishly equipped basic model or - for an extra price - with a full leather interior, which looks absolutely stunning. Further important differences versus the 5 Series are the instrument cluster, the optional M-specific head-up display, the steering wheel with MDrive buttons and the redesigned centre console.
Business express for everyday use.
All vehicles made by BMW M GmbH are very convenient for everyday motoring. This particularly applies to the M5: despite its awe-inspiring performance which is reminiscent of that of a racing car, it has remained an elegant and comfortable saloon perfectly suitable for longer journeys, an integral characteristic of BMW 5 Series cars. Thus, one can say that the M5's racing ambitions neither impair driving comfort, active and passive safety, nor do they reduce the space available for passengers and luggage. Even in terms of consumption and environmental compatibility, the M5 is a real paragon - just like all BMW automobiles.
(Sept. 14, 2004)