2013 BMW M5: Up Close

There's nothing surprising about the latest M from BMW.

Traditional M styling cues — a gaping front lower grille, vents in the front-quarter panels and quad exhausts — look right at home on the new 5 Series, and black grates in the twin-kidney grille — as opposed to chrome ones — really stand out on the silver car here.

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As you might expect, the M5's cockpit is awash in premium materials, and most surfaces that weren't finished in metal were trimmed in leather.

The unique aluminum accents have a corduroy-textured look. The gear selector for the seven-speed double-clutch transmission, meanwhile, is more of a joystick than BMW's conventional automatic shifters.

Despite its performance focus, the M5 is big enough to comfortably carry four adults. The backseat isn't expansive, and my shins hit the hard back of the front seat, but the seat itself is comfortable.

If you have the means to put a BMW M5 in your garage and want a custom look, consider the "Frozen Silver" paint option of the car on display at the L.A. Auto Show. It's a matte paint with metallic qualities that does an exceptional job highlighting the car's hood and body creases.

The true test of an M car is how it drives of course, but sitting still on the auto show floor, its understated aggressiveness looks great.

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