From the very beginning, the M5’s power unit and the quality of driving dynamics have set standards in its class. The secret of its success, which has now lasted for 20 years, is, however, just as much the effective synthesis of high-performance technology and an unobtrusive but powerful appearance. Although in terms of driving dynamics the M5 has to be compared with thoroughbred sports cars, it is also a comfortable and spacious saloon car suitable for everyday use and long-distance motoring. The challenge of providing the M5 with a sporting outfit was, therefore, all the more demanding. And it was even more important to avoid excess body weight in favour of outstanding agility and handling. Nevertheless, this was not achieved at the expense of motoring comfort and available interior space.
Innovative bodywork incorporating intelligent lightweight design.
As is the case with the suspension, the bodywork was inspired by the
BMW 5 Series. This model’s innovative body-in-white sets trends – and this
also applies to the M5 high-end sports saloon. The composite construction comprising steel and aluminium does full justice to the term “intelligent lightweight engineering”.
At BMW, intelligent lightweight engineering is seen as utilising the right material in the right place: the weight-reduced aluminium front end reduces overall weight by around 20 kg. A suitable choice of materials has also facilitated a reduction in weight in other areas. The result is a marked increase in the M5’s agility through improved weight distribution and centre of gravity. Thanks to intelligent lightweight design, the M5 has managed to retain the same weight as its predecessor, its unladen weight being 1,755 kg (according to DIN).
Active and passive safety at high 5 Series level.
With regard to active and passive safety, the M5 achieves without restriction the same high level as the basic 5 Series. A high safety standard in spite of low weight, a sophisticated all-aluminium suspension as well as a light and compact ten-cylinder engine mounted further to the rear, guarantee safe handling of the M5 – whether on the motorway, on country roads, in city traffic or on the racing track.
One particular figure – the so-called power-to- weight ratio – demonstrates just how much BMW engineers have aspired to save weight. This value indicates how much mass (weight) the engine has to move. Consequently,
it informs us more about driving dynamics than just a bhp rating or the maximum torque.
Best power-to-weight ratio in its performance segment.
The new M5’s power-to-weight ratio is 3.5 kg/bhp. This is a further superlative figure normally expected of racing cars rather than of a five-seater sports saloon. In comparison: the thoroughbred M3 CSL road racer had a power-to-weight ratio of 3.85 kg/bhp. 3.5 kg/bhp means that the M5 is positioned in the prestigious class of high-performance sports saloons and manages to convince with by far the best power-to-weight ratio.
Cooling – a very special challenge.
Engineers were confronted with a particular challenge with regard to
the space available, which was inevitably limited due to the dimensions of the basic 5 Series. The problems that had to be fully solved in this field become evident in the example of cooling air circulation. Compared with the high-end model in this series, the 545i, the M5’s engine and cooling systems require double (!) the quantity of air. This cooling air does, of course, have to be diverted away from the vehicle, without negatively affecting aerodynamics. Consequently, the M5 was fitted with an entirely new cooling and air supply system: the fan with increased output, radiator, air conditioning condenser, power steering oil cooling and engine oil cooling systems are located within an extremely confined space directly behind the BMW kidney. For constructional reasons, the engine oil cooler has been placed at an oblique angle in front of the radiator which is divided into two sections. Special air ducts direct the air behind the oil cooler to the underbody where it escapes at the Venturi front end. The specific design of this Venturi front end reduces lift force on the front axle. Despite the confined space, all maintenance-relevant components such as the air filter element, microfilter and oil filter and spark plugs in particular, are easily accessible for servicing purposes. The large air intakes for cooling and aspiration, which are integrated in the front apron, are a striking feature. The side air vents situated to the left and right of the large front air intakes serve not only to ventilate the brakes, but also as an engine air intake. For the first time, an M5 is equipped with side gills
that distinctively enhance the appearance and uniqueness of the new car.
Top athlete in a business suit.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing – this image would be fitting if the appearance of
the 5 Series were not everything else but timid. In actual fact, the 5 Series already presents itself as a sporty, elegant and powerful car. It is not without good reason that it represents BMW’s dynamic business class. The M5 differs from the 5 Series in so far as it features a myriad of visible and concealed details that make it appear more powerful, superior and dynamic as a whole. In view of this, it would be more appropriate to describe the M5 as a top athlete in a business suit.
Exterior with understatement.
The differences in design are modest but distinctive. Through this, the M5 achieves a surprisingly high level of visual independence, without denying its affinity with the 5 Series. At the same time the design features emphasize its strong, self-confident character. Wherever the M5 appears, it clearly and unambiguously confirms its position as an extremely powerful, high-performance saloon car suitable for everyday use. It is the perfect embodiment of performance, design and driving fun, qualities so crucial to the M philosophy.
More muscular and streamlined than the 5 Series.
The front apron has a muscular appearance and sports large air intakes for supplying air to the high-revving engine. Flaps – these are small spoiler
lips on the front apron – reduce lift coefficients. A low lift level results in best possible driving stability even at high speeds. Athletic proportions when viewed from the side.
The width and shape of the front aluminium side panels have been adapted
to the wheel size. The very low, wide side sills emphasize the length of the car through the play of light and shadow, this resulting in an even more dynamic appearance. This deviation from the basic 5 Series was made not only for optical reasons. The sills optimise air routing in the underbody and upgrade the dynamic qualities of the vehicle. Likewise, the exclusive 19-inch wheels in traditional M double-spoke design underline the M5’s well-balanced and muscular proportions.
Exterior mirrors following the M tradition.
In keeping with the M tradition, the exterior mirrors have their own unique design. Their bold styling and the play of light achieved by this underline the M5’s sporting and dynamic appearance. Their shape, which was designed in a wind tunnel, contributes towards a reduction of lift on the front axle.
An extremely muscular rear end.
At the rear apron, the inwards-pointing rear wheel arches intensify the optical effect of the 285 wide tyres by signalising an even more dominant track width. Thanks to a rear diffuser and flaps to the left and right of it, the rear has an extremely muscular look. Like all other M models, the M5 boasts four typical round tailpipes. The rear diffuser fulfils a central function in underbody air routing. Together with the unobtrusive spoiler integrated into the rear lid and the almost entirely smooth, flat underbody, it accomplishes an improvement in airflow across the underbody, resulting in an excellent drag coefficient and a reduction in lift forces. Customers with particularly sporting ambitions have the option of a rear spoiler that reduces rear axle lift by a half. A new registration plate trim gives the M5 a unique and superior appearance.
Battery in the boot.
The luggage compartment floor was redesigned to accommodate the dual exhaust system. The AGM battery is located there to help facilitate an improvement in distribution of axle load. This type of battery offers advantages in charging behaviour. The number of charging cycles is three times higher than in the case of conventional car batteries. This has a positive effect on the lifespan. The 70-litre plastic fuel tank is located in front of the rear axle. Combined with the sucking jet pump, the requirement and pressure-controlled dual pump permanently ensures a reliable fuel supply even under high longitudinal and lateral acceleration.
Three exclusive body colours for the M5.
The M5’s paintwork also emphasizes the fact that it is an independent model parallel to the BMW 5 Series. The metallic paints Sepang Bronze, Silverstone II and Interlagos Blue are available exclusively for this car. Further available colours are Alpine White, Black Sapphire metallic and Silver-grey metallic. The gills in the side panels, the rear lid and the doorsill trims bear the M5 logo.
The interior: sports car characteristics with a touch of comfort.
The M5 has everything a thoroughbred sports car should have. But it also has everything other sports cars do not have. This becomes evident when viewing the interior and its features, because the M5 offers its passengers the space and comfort of a modern saloon car of the premium segment. Passengers inside the four-door M5, for instance, will be able to enjoy first-class seats and ample space, as well as active and passive safety features on par with the high standard of the BMW 5 Series.
A total of six airbags, belt force limiters, intelligent safety electronics and the automatic or manual emergency call via the BMW Assist function, all coming as standard, are at the driver’s disposal in the event of an emergency. Even with regard to luggage space, the car stands comparison with the 5 Series. The boot has a capacity of approximately 500 litres. That is sufficient for two large and three small hard-top suitcases or four 9-inch golf bags.
Sporting luxury instead of focussing solely on essentials.
The flair inside the car is a result of a clever choice of highly exclusive materials and a sporting design. An immediately noticeable difference to well-known sports cars: instead of focussing solely on essentials, the M5 provides a sportingly luxurious ambience that offers almost unlimited scope for the customer’s individual preferences. The M5 features extended leather trimming in the exclusive leather quality Merino. It is available in three colour options – Black, Silverstone and Light Sepang Bronze and comprises leather trim in the centre area of the instrument panel, on the centre console and handbrake lever gaiter as well as the door mirror and armrests. The even more sophisticated all-leather trim Merino in five colours (additionally Indianapolis Red and Portland Natural Brown) is available as an option. It should be emphasized that this option includes the all-leather covering of the instrument panel and an alcantara-anthracite roof lining. A further special option is the ‘Climate Leather’ version featuring active ventilation of the driver’s and the front seat passenger’s seat.
The M5 is highly geared to the needs of the driver.
Behind the M5’s steering wheel, the driver will find the optimum conditions for safe handling of the vehicle. The precisely contoured M seat with passive backrest width adjustment offers best possible side support. This seat was redesigned exclusively for the M5. Due to the diverse possibilities of adjustment, the driver is able to find the optimum seat position, from very sporty to comfortable – entirely according to his own preferences.
This range of equipment includes the memory function and seat heating for driver and front seat passenger. Additionally, an electrically adjustable lumbar support can be ordered at extra cost.
Perfectly designed seats are a prerequisite for sports motoring.
Sports-minded drivers in particular can order the optional M multifunction seat featuring active backrest width adjustment. The foam part geometry for this seat has also been reconceived for optimum comfort and perfect side support: both backrest width and side support adjust independently in each driving situation, the automatic adjustment being effected, inter alia, according to lateral acceleration and steering angle. The customer decides at the press of a button or by MDrive which of the three modes – comfort, normal or sport – is to be activated. Also included in the optional equipment are the active headrest, memory function, seat heating and electrically-operated lumbar support. The active headrest protects the cervical spine above all in the event of a bumper-to-bumper collision. Active seat ventilation is also available as an optional extra.
Room for five persons and a great deal of luggage space. At the rear two passengers are offered a centre armrest with storage compartment and cupholder. If needed, it functions as a backrest for the middle seat, which provides seating for a third passenger during short journeys. A 60:40 split through-loading backrest as well as a ski bag and seat heating are available as options.
New round instruments provide sporting flair.
The combined speedometer and rev counter have been completely redesigned. Both round instruments have chrome ring surrounds. The new design features black dials with white numerals and the needles are in traditional M red. The white corona-ring illumination is permanently switched on, thereby also underlining the impression of high quality during the day. The representation of the engine speed band on the rev counter is unique: the yellow pre-warning field and the red warning field limit the currently permitted engine speed range according to the present engine oil temperature. With increasing engine oil temperature the useful speed range increases, this permitting the driver to observe the temperature intuitively. Control lamps, oil gauge, mileage counters and SMG display with gear and Drivelogic information are located between the speedometer and rev counter.
Head-up display with M-specific information.
The optional head-up display now shows additional information, providing the driver with crucial driving information directly at eye level. This head-up
display has been designed in such a way as to allow the driver to decide for himself at the touch of a button whether he wishes to receive standard information or specific M information projected into his line of vision.
The M-specific display highlights the dynamic engine speed range, this signalising to the driver by means of shift-light function when the optimum shift point has been reached. This function has been derived directly
from Formula 1 racing. The display also gives information pertaining to the gear currently engaged and vehicle speed.
The newly designed M leather steering wheel is ergonomically dimensioned. Reshaped and relocated SMG shift paddles facilitate fingertip gear shifting –down on the left and up on the right. Whilst shifting gears, the driver keeps his hands firmly on the steering wheel, enhancing road safety at high speeds or on winding roads.
MDrive for even more comfort.
The so-called MDrive is a new function that is activated via the MDrive button on the steering wheel. This function allows the driver to turn the comfortable saloon car into a thoroughbred sports car at the push of a button and vice versa. This entails calling up the settings and drive modes previously configured in the MDrive menu of the iDrive. The preset values can be stored in the key memory system. The following individual functions are pre-selected or activated via MDrive:
– The power button with which the engine characteristics – i.e. output and response – are affected in three stages;
– SMG Drivelogic with which one of six sequential or five automatic shift modes are pre-selected – the driver once again benefits from the direct selection of each desired drive or shift mode;
– DSC Dynamic Stability Control featuring two modes of driving dynamics;
– EDC Electronic Damper Control with the three modes – comfort, normal and sport;
– Head-up-Display and
– Active backrest width adjustment.
SMG selector lever with illuminated selector lever position indicator.
The selector lever illumination and gear position indicator is activated as soon as the ignition is switched on. Adjacent to the SMG selector lever, there are four buttons that facilitate direct operation of the driving dynamics functions Power, DSC, EDC and Drivelogic. Barring just a few exceptions, the M5 client can choose from the myriad of equipment and options for individualisation offered by the BMW 5 Series. These include in particular adaptive cornering lights – headlights that follow the course of a bend as if guided by magic – as well as cruise control.
Finally, automatic climate control incorporating Automatic Air Recirculation, which can be set to the personally desired consistent temperature in the front and rear compartment. This air conditioning system also includes the
comfort functions integrated solar sensor and anti-mist sensor as well as filters for outside air and recirculated air.