At the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, BMW of North America Chairman and CEO Tom Purves hailed the fourth-generation M5. Billed by BMW as the most powerful 5 Series sedan ever, it contains a 5.0-liter V-10 that produces 500 horsepower at a lofty 7,750 rpm and 383 pounds-feet of torque.
This is "an extreme performance car that's still a practical four-door sedan," Purves said, calling it a "fully road-ready sedan with the heart of an athlete." U.S. sales began in October 2005.
BMW claims the M5 has "supercar handling" and the best power-to-weight ratio of any car in its class — though it's also promoted for "outstanding everyday driving qualities." Equipped with a seven-speed sequential manual transmission, the M5 can accelerate from a standstill to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and can reach 120 mph in 15 seconds. The sequential manual transmission incorporates Drivelogic, which offers 11 gear-change options.
Variable M differential locking is installed to deliver power to the wheel with the most traction, even in extreme conditions. The M-calibrated Dynamic Stability Control system has two driving programs available, and can also be deactivated. With a braking system adapted from the motorsports world, the M5 can brake from 62 mph to a standstill in less than 120 feet.
The M5 has a unique front fascia to distinguish it from other 5 Series sedans. BMW modified the side sills and made the wheel arches more prominent. Standard wheels measure 19 inches in diameter and hold Z-rated performance tires. The sedan has "M" gills positioned in the front fenders, quad tailpipes and special rocker panels with a sharp accent line.
Xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights with adaptive lighting are standard. The M5's specially calibrated aluminum suspension adjusts to driving conditions and operates with Electronic Damping Control, which offers three modes: comfort, normal and sport. Quickened power steering has two levels of power assistance.
Heated M Sport front seats with 16-way power adjustment for the driver are installed in what BMW calls an "exclusive" Merino leather interior. MDrive lets the driver select preferred performance and handling settings for instant recall later. Brushed-aluminum interior trim is standard, but two types of wood can be specified instead. Park Distance Control, a navigation system and a Logic7 premium sound system are standard. A head-up display is optional.
Under the Hood
The M5's 5.0-liter V-10 — which has double-VANOS variable valve timing — generates 500 hp and 383 pounds-feet of torque. The V-10 drives a seven-speed sequential manual transmission. Gear changes can be made using a console lever or steering-wheel paddles. Drivelogic provides 11 transmission programs: six in sequential mode and five in automatic mode.
All-disc antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain-type airbags and Dynamic Stability Control are standard. Rear-seat side-impact airbags are optional.