BMW M5 F10 review (2012-2016) - the ultimate super saloon
Incredible performance matches ultimate luxury
No other super saloon offers the BMW M5’s combination of mind-bending straight-line performance, dynamic ability and everyday usability. Some will mourn the loss of the previous M5’s manic V10, but the new 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 returns even more performance and uses less fuel. The F10 generation’s dual-clutch gearbox is a vast improvement over the old car’s SMG ‘box, too.
This M5 is an altogether more refined machine than the E60 version, but it still boasts class-leading dynamics and a degree of agility that sits completely at odds with the near two-tonne kerb weight. Whereas the current generation M3 and M4 models are less than convincing in their dynamic make-up, the M5 is perfectly judged.
The restrained, but handsome exterior styling and superbly appointed cabin simply complete the package. This M5 is a high water mark both for BMW and for the super saloon as a whole.
> Performance and 0-60 time > The F10 M5 is one of the fastest saloon cars currently on sale. The twin-turbo V8 delivers a hugely impressive 0-62mph time of 4.3 seconds. The Ultimate edition 30 jahre will dip below the four-second mark. Read about the BMW M5's performance here
> Engine and gearbox > The M5’s new 4.4 litre twin-turbo engine may lack some of the character of the previous V10 model, but it has masses more power and torque than its predecessor. Read about the BMW M5's engine and gearbox here
> MPG and running costs > With a 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8, the M5 is never going to be a cost effective car, but BMW claims 28.5mpg which is better than its predecessor. An 80-litre fuel tank extends your range to 400 miles. Read about the BMW M5's MPG and running costs here
> Design > The BMW M5 isn’t an overstated car, but BMW has perfected hiding the car’s performance potential, yet delivering just enough hints to keep the looks exciting. Read about the BMW M5's design here
Prices, specs and rivals
BMW M5 prices kick off at £73,985 - that's without any options added, but the car comes generously equipped as standard. Pretty much every major option you would tick on a standard 5-series is present and accounted for - 19-inch M lightweight alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, adaptive LED headlights and extended Merino leather upholstery.
If you fancy turning your super-saloon into a luxury car, you can add options like a rear seat entertainment pack and the beautiful M multifunction seats (£835 as an option).
Alternatively, you could take the another route and upgrade the car's performance. The Competition Package comes in at £6700 and adds a power boost plus upgraded suspension, while M carbon ceramic brakes cost £7395.
The 30 Jahre model, limited to just 300 units worldwide, was on sale briefly for £91,890. That’s a significant premium over the standard model, but the cabin does come beautifully appointed with swathes of Alcantara and it has the exclusivity factor on its side, too.
It's not as big a premium as the new Competition Edition model though, which starts at £100,995. That's a serious amount to pay, particularly given the 30 Jahre boasted the same 592bhp power output with little equipment penalty elsewhere. We'd be tempted instead to spend the difference to get a proper slice of M5 heritage, since you can buy any previous generation of M5 for less than the difference between this model and the standard car.
> Read our Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG S review here
The M5 faces stern competition in the shape of the Mercedes E63 AMG, which is more than a match in performance terms, but falls just a little short dynamically. The Jaguar XFR-S is a characterful alternative, but it lacks the M5’s handling polish, and while the Porsche Panamera GTS is almost the M5's equal as a driver's car, it is still some way down on power. If looking good is a priority, an Audi RS7 (here tested against the Panamera GTS) is also worth a look, but it's not the driving machine an M5 is.
Ultimately, the M5 is the super saloon of choice right now, but with a new E63 AMG on the way and Porsche unveiling its very latest Panamera - which will also be available with an all-new turbocharged V8 - the ageing M5 may have some tough competition on its hands. It's not hard to imagine Jaguar eventually building an SVR version of the current XF either.