2018 BMW M5: Automotive Bliss With a Side of Mystery
5Series spent a week in the current gen BMW M5 and learned that one its most delightful secret isn’t even in the motor.
When I learned I was going to get the keys to the 2018 BMW M5 for a week, I smiled. Daydreams of flying through the Texas Hill Country’s curviest roads filled my head. Once I was behind the wheel, everything seemed to happen quickly (as it should in an M car), but this is what I remember.
Making a car look aggressive is easy. You bore out the front end and fill the holes with air intakes, add different wheels, and bolt on a loud exhaust: Job done. Based on those design cues, the M5 certainly looks like a car with 600 horsepower. However, BMW’s designers also made the most potent 5 Series look graceful and double-take beautiful. My $129,795 tester’s stunning Marina Bay Blue paint certainly helped. So did its stance. The M5’s bodywork draped perfectly over the optional two-tone 20-inch M wheels, particularly in the rear.
Those barely obscured the set of $8,500 M carbon ceramic brakes behind them. A lip spoiler subtly hinted at the M5’s performance potential, which the optional M Driver’s Package bumped up to 189 mph. The quad exhaust finishers flanked a tastefully large diffuser. The M5 was such a looker that whenever I got out of it, I didn’t just want to drive it again. I wanted to get another eyeful of it.
…and the Beast
The 2018 M5 has a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 like its predecessor, but the S63B44T4 has twin-scroll turbos and other enhancements that help it crank out 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque.
That’s paired with a new eight-speed automatic with three levels of shift speed and, a first for the M5, all-wheel drive. The M xDrive setup is a rear-biased system that can operate in three modes and with varying levels of Dynamic Stability Control (DSC). 4WD can be used with or without DSC. 4WD Sport automatically engages M Dynamic Mode (MDM), which shuffles more power to the rear and lets the driver have more fun before DSC kicks in. It can also be used with DSC off. 2WD is DSC-free.