BMW M5 (F90) Review – Is an xDrive car worthy of the M badge? [Video]

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Hello and welcome to the sixth generation BMW M5. The M Division’s flagship, the ultimate Bimmer sports sedan. And even though this might not look drastically different than the regular 5 Series, a closer look at the car will quickly reveal it’s secrets.

Under the bonnet there’s a 4.4l twin-turbo V8 engine capable of producing 600HP. Drive goes to all four wheels via BMW’s new M xDrive all-wheel-drive system and this car has some serious stopping power thanks to the optional ceramic brakes.

But that’s not all. There’s a carbon fibre roof, a sports exhaust system, these fantastic sports seats and the most important thing you need a sports car. A red started button.

This F90 BMW M5 has big shoes to fill as pretty much all of its predecessors we’re pretty special. Take the first generation for example. It’s one of the rarest BMW Motorsport cars and it has the M88 engine from the M1 supercar. The second generation is where cars stand and end with me, I adore everything about it. It’s the last hand-build M car and the last M5 to feature a race inspired inline six cylinder engine.

And from there on we’ve had the glorious E39 M5, the iconic V10 powered E60 and the not that great if I’m honest F10 M5. I did say pretty much all of its predecessors we’re special at the beginning, didn’t I?

But like the title suggests I’m here to find out if this car ticks all the boxes that a proper BMW M5 should. And in order to do that, an M5 has to be fast, properly fast. It has to be great to drive and lastly it has to be comfortable and it has to be able to carry your family and their luggage with the absolute of ease.

The SPEED!

Thanks to the 4.4l twin-turbo V8 under the bonnet, that can produce 600hp and 750Nm of torque, zero to 100km/h is dealt with in 3.4s, one second faster than the previous generation. But have a look at the video above at some non edited footage of 0 to 100km/h acceleration without launch control.

The car was actually .2 of a second faster than the claimed figure. Without launch control and with a 100kilo+ elephant at the wheel. That’s pure insanity!

In order to actually understand how fast this car really is, here’s a list of some pretty cool supercars

  • Ferrari LaFerrari / The ultimate V12 monster from Maranello – 3.1s
  • Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 / Naturally aspirated V10 beast – 3.2s
  • Porsche 911 GT2 RS / Probably the most extreme Porsche of the 997 generation – 3.5s
  • And to close the list, we have another Ferrari icon. The 430 Scuderia / A striped down track focused monster – 3.6s

I know we’re comparing apples to oranges here, but I wanted to give you somekind of a visual representation to how fast the new M5 is. So, how does it stack up against these supercars? It’s faster than the 997 GT2 RS and 430 Scuderia and just a tad bit slower than the LaFerrari and Huracan to 100km/h. Not bad BMW, not bad!

The HANDLING

Now before we dive into this part there are a few things you should know about this new M5. It’s the first ever model to feature all wheel drive and it’s also the first ever to be exclusively offered with an automatic transmission.

The gearbox is basically the same one you would find in a regular BMW 5 Series, the eight speed ZF single clutch unit, as opposed to the old dual clutch, but the M xDrive system is unique to the new BMW M5.

But this M xDrive all-wheel-drive system is not that all-new and innovative, but it is kind of good. It’s really good actually. Let me explain. The M xDrive system is basically your typical all-wheel-drive system that you can find in all proper BMWs, but you can set it up in a few different ways.

You have the regular 4WD mode, which is rear-biast of course, then there’s 4WD Sport which is even more rear-biast and finally you can configure the M xDrive to 2WD mode, with DSC off. Yup, exactly. Just like Mercedes’ E63 AMG they’ve release more than a year ago.

So what do all of these things do to the new M5? Well basically they make it stick to the road even better than before and thankfully the M xDrive system isn’t too keen on pushing too much power to the front, which makes this car feel… like a proper M car should feel. It’s agile, yes, I’ve just called a huge two tone sedan agile, it predictable and it it loves to tackle these twisty B-road bends.

There’s very little understeer, the car doesn’t roll about in the corners at all but the ride is a tad firm. Even if you put the suspension in comfort mode. This is an M car at the end of the day and the suspension system is setup to favour sportier driving and not so much for comfort.

The only part that makes you feel disconnected from the car in my opinion in the steering. It is quite accurate and you can place the car well on the road, but it just lacks in the road feedback department. I understand this is a big family sedan but it has that iconic letter on the boot and on the front grille.

I’ve tried the car in all it’s modes, even the 2WD one. I haven’t really dared to push it too hard in the mode, because the DSC is completely off. I would love to try it on a track, because even on a b road like this, driving at regular speeds, you can feel the car taunting you to get it’s tail out. I can feel it 🙂

The COMFORT

Now onto the last and most important point if you’re a dad like me. How does the BMW M5 handle the school run.

I think this part is a no brainer. This is a 5 series at the end of the day and it’s as practical as can be. It can sit 4 adults easily and headroom and kneeroom is plenty. Same goes for the boot space. Not the largest in its class but it’s plenty for carrying stuff around.

And the interior is absolutely fabulous. Quality materials everywhere, top notch ergonomics and these front seats are absolutely fantastic!

For more details about the F90 BMW M5, both inside and out, click over here.

So does it all stack up?

I think this car ticked all the boxes on the list and that makes it a proper M5. BUT…

Unfortunately, as much as I would have like to end the story here, I just can’t.

Even though I was counting the hours until the moment I got to drive it, that’s how excited I was, I can’t really say that I love the BMW M5 after spending a day with it. Especially when I jump into my M2 immediately after returning the M5 to my friends at Bavaria Solna.

And driving the two back to back, makes it pretty obvious why I can’t love the M5.

It disconnects you too much from the driving experience, the engine doesn’t really feel that special to me if I’m honest and the M xDrive gives the car too much grip and it’s much less playful then it’s smaller siblings. Because of the way this car is build, in order for it to be exciting to drive you need to extract all the power this engine has to give you and you can’t really do that on a public road.

I’m pretty sure it’ll be spectacular on a race track but you don’t drive there every day, do you?

But this is where I’m going to end this review guys. Objectively the M5 is absolutely flawless, but it’s not for me. I prefer this cheaper, entry level, baby M-car in every single way.

Oh and did I mention the price? The car I drove today, although it’s pretty loaded, costs 145.000 euros. Wrap your head around that.

Thank you Bavaria Bil in Solna for allowing me to film the new BMW M5

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About the author

Paul Mihai

I'm Paul and I'm a Youtuber. I film cars and owners talking about their cars. Sometimes I also write. Badly, but I persevere! Join me in my adventures!

Disclaimer: I'm quite the BMW fanboy!

By Paul Mihai

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