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2018 BMW M5 Preview

2018 BMW M5 Preview
The 2018 BMW M5 is equal parts performance monster and luxury cruiser.

The 2018 BMW M5 sedan makes up for some of the sins of the previous generation while it commits a few of its own.

The new F90-generation M5 turns up the fun factor versus the outgoing F10 and provides more feedback, but it’s still heavy and it no longer offers a manual transmission. It adds all-wheel drive for the first time, but it’s rear-biased and BMW lets drivers turn it off.

The M5 combines track-ready dynamics with big power and on-road luxury. We rate the M5 an 8.0 out of 10 based on those strengths plus its good looks and plentiful features.

After it skipped the 2017 model year, the BMW M5 returns for 2018 with a completely new and stiffer structure that uses more aluminum, as well as a carbon-fiber roof, to reduce weight. BMW added much of that weight back in with anew M xDrive all-wheel-drive system that has three settings: 4WD, 4WD Sport, and 2WD. The system has a rear bias and 4WD Sport sends more power to the rear, while 2WD shuts off both the all-wheel drive and the stability control to turn the M5 into a drift monster for those who hate rear tires.

Onlookers can tell the M5 apart from standard-line 5-Series in a few key ways. The front end has larger air intakes for the cooling needs of a 600-horsepower V-8 on the track. The creased hood hints at the power underneath, and along the sides high-set signature M gills replace the 7-Series-inspired lower chrome trim pieces. At the rear, quad exhaust outlets jut out from a diffuser. Wider tires on 19- or 20-inch wheels give the car a planted stance.

Under the sculpted hood sits an updated version of BMW's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8. Output increases from 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque to 600 horses and 553 lb-ft of twist. An 8-speed automatic replaces both a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and a 6-speed manual (pour a little out for the loss of our homey).
The additional power and the traction of all-wheel drive conspire to rocket this 4,370-pound car from 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds, almost a second quicker than the F10 M5.

Handling also improves versus the F10, with more feel and greater agility. The M5 doesn’t have to rely on torque vectoring or rear-wheel steering to rotate through corners. Its natural balance accomplishes that goal just fine, and the driver’s right foot can help steer the car with the rear wheels as much as the fronts.

Inside, standard 20-way sport seats support the driver and front passenger, while the spacious rear seats two, not three. Buyers have a choice of two types of wood, piano black, or an aluminum-carbon mix for the trim. A dark Alcantara headliner sets a sporty tone, while extended leather upholstery adds to the luxury. Performance features include an M gauge cluster, an M head-up display, and M1 and M2 buttons to remember specific tuning choices.

BMW’s iDrive system comes standard and it features a 10.2-inch screen and seven programmable buttons. Also standard are navigation, gesture control, automatic climate control, satellite radio, a Harmon Kardon surround-sound audio system, and a power trunklid.

An Executive package adds such niceties as soft-close doors, cooled and massaging front seats, four-zone automatic climate control, wireless cell phone charging, a wi-fi hotspot, a surround-view camera system, and automatic parallel and perpendicular parking.

The M5 hasn’t been crash tested, but it has a solid structure and it comes standard with six airbags, forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, lane-departure warning, and front and rear parking sensors. That’s a resume of a safe car.

Predictably, fuel economy suffers. The M5 returns 15 mpg city, 21 highway, and 17 mpg combined, according to the EPA, which is poor enough to be hit with a gas-guzzler tax.


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