March 3, 2012

Because Executive Racecar: what can we tell you about the BMW M5?

What can a bunch of tracktards tell you about the 2013 BMW M5 you don't already know? After all, the latest M5 has been  written about, reviewed, filmed and hooned by the best journalists the world over,  some of them having driven literally dozens of track laps at fancy press junkets.

Axis recently  drove  from BMW headquarters in New Jersey to Daytona Beach in Florida in what was the pace car for the Grand-Am Continental 200.  A whopping 1200 miles over two days, got us pretty intimate with the blue beast.  Along the way we helped BMW USA launch their Instagram presence, we met and showed off the F10 M5 to hardcore bimmer fans  and got to spend a couple of hours on the BMW skid pad at the Performance Center.  Hectic, yes but pretty damn awesome.

A traditional review would make little sense, you've read it all that already by now,  I think it would be more fun to discuss and answer your question about the car.

Let me throw out some conversation starters and points I have not heard discussed enough in reviews I've read.

Why executive race car ?  A solid mounted rear subframe is racy stuff and, as one skewed towards the more automotive hardcore, I love  the crazy idea of it on a road car.  Along with the BMW predictive "magic" differential it makes for some sideways magic when you are feeling hooniganesque.
The prospect of an M3 (and M4 if you choose to believe the rumors) getting the same treatment is VERY exciting.
At the same time, the ride is surprisingly firm for a car in that segment and aimed at an older market.  It rides more like a tuned car more than an executive sedan.  I'm fine with it but I wonder if , for example, Jeremy Clarkson will bitch about it in this Sunday's episode of Top Gear.    In any case a surprising choice by BMW.

Steering: there is a surprising amount of feedback through the wheel,  high frequency feedback especially, another interesting choice from BMW.  Most of the time I'm not sure what people mean by "steering feel" in reviews but I would say you can certainly "feel" a lot though the M5's wheel.

Of course this is NOT a track car, nobody in their right mind will buy this car thinking they will use it that way.  The M5 is in the  executive jet for the road class, like the Panamera Turbo. IN our book the M5 is a better enthusiast choice than the Porsche.  If you are going to drive a 4WD car, you might as well go for the Cayenne Turbo and enjoy awesome performance with more useful room and utility or maybe spend three times more and drive a Ferrari FF, but then you would not have room to carry Johan*.

Your turn.


* We gave BMW instructor Johan Schwartz a ride, with all his racing gear including HANS device and two suits, from the BMW Performance Center in Spartansburg South Carolina to Daytona where he was racing in the Grand Am.    That made it four guys and their luggage for about 500 miles, it all fit and we were quite comfortable!


  1. Not sure I can forgive the synthetic V8 soundtrack pushed through the audio system....

    1. Intellectually, I'm against it, certainly was prepared to hate it . It's so German isn't it? Reminds me of the tool BMW sells to tighten roof racks , with a built in torque wrench. but hey, I've never overtightened.
      I'm sure the engineers have a wonderfully rational reason why they went through the trouble but real life, it's not something you notice at all. (which I suppose means it's an engineering win). It's not an issue.

      Those who will want to put aftermarket exhausts and intakes may have issues but I guess they can figure out the right fuse to pull at that point. The car is certainly pleasingly loud from the outside as is, check the video.

  2. How come there's tiny man standing on the bonnet, wot's that all about?

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  4. The best thing about the new M5 in my opinion is the option of a 6spd manual. I wonder if it's still the same E39/E60 unit?

    1. The one we drove had the dual clutch (they left in a little "bump in the fastest mode, thankfully) but Freep had a lot of time with a 6 speed and proclaimed it "phenomenal" . It is like the 550i manual box but with different, beefed up clutch, flywheel, mounts etc.


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