Skip to main content

2018 BMW M5 Preview

img766997664 1503330578852 jpg

CARS.COM

Competes with: Mercedes-AMG E63

Looks like: Per usual, a hunkered-down version of the 5 Series on which it’s based

Drivetrain: 600-horsepower, twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 with eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive

Hits dealerships: Spring 2018

If the corona around today’s solar eclipse evokes sweeping curves ’round your favorite racetrack, a BMW M5 of any vintage is a terrific way to experience them — no eclipse glasses needed. Now there’s a new vintage in town: Witness the redesigned BMW M5, a high-performance sedan based on the redesigned 5 Series that arrived one model year ago. It hits U.S. dealers next spring, six years before the next eclipse.

Related: We Performance-Test BMW’s V-12 7 Series

An M version of the new 5 Series already exists. But it’s the M550i, hatched from BMW’s effort to spread its performance brand beyond a select few halo cars. (Yes, that distills what M stands for, but other luxury brands are doing the same with their performance monikers.) As you’d expect, the M5 packs considerably more performance than its M550i counterpart. Both cars employ a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8, but the M5 cranks it up to 600 horsepower and 553 pounds-feet of torque — considerably more than the M550’s 456 hp and 480 pounds-feet, not to mention the outgoing M5 (560 hp, 500 pounds-feet), which also employed a twin-turbo V-8.

Shop the 2018 BMW M550 near you

Used
2018 BMW M550 i xDrive
126,939 mi.
$19,950 $1,000 price drop

The new M5 is all-wheel drive, a first for the nameplate. But BMW touts a new, M-spec AWD system with a driver-selectable mode that only sends power to the rear should you want traditional rear-drive handling.

Exterior

Versus the M550i’s three-portal bumper, itself a hunkered-down take on the 5 Series, the M5 gets taller openings with some indented moldings at their upper edges instead of the M550i’s silver brackets. In back, the biggest change is quad exhaust tips, unique here versus the dual openings on lesser 5 Series sedans. Lower portions of the bumper are in body-colored paint instead of the M550i’s black.

The roof is carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic — a first for the M5, though other M models also employ it. Nineteen-inch alloy wheels wear P275/40R19 front and P285/40R19 rear tires; 20-inch wheels with tires of the same width are available.

Interior

Inside, the front seats have more aggressive bolstering, particularly at the shoulders, with an illuminated M5 logo at the base of the head restraint. The steering wheel has two extra red paddles, which sit inside the traditional shift paddles: M1 and M2, which allow you to fast-track the AWD, electronic stability system, transmission and engine response, suspension setup and head-up display to pre-authorized settings.

Under the Hood

BMW says it took its twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 on a “thorough overhaul,” from higher fuel-injection pressure to better lubrication and cooling. The resulting 553 pounds-feet of torque comes from 1,800-5,700 rpm, where the engine’s peak 600 hp starts. Drivers can choose between Efficient, Sport and Sport Plus modes, with set exhaust sounds you can further customize through an M Sound Control button. The results are considerable: 60 mph comes in a scant 3.2 seconds — far quicker than the M550i’s already-blistering 3.9-second sprint, per BMW’s numbers, and a bragging-rights tick ahead of the Mercedes-AMG E63 S (3.3 seconds, by Mercedes’ specs).

BMW claims the rear-biased AWD system allows a certain amount of rear-wheel slippage even in its default mode to give a sense of rear-drive dynamics. An active differential that can route power between the left and right rear wheels. Sportier driving modes give an even heavier rear bias and allow more rear-wheel slippage. Finally, expert drivers can go full rear-drive with a mode that only directs power to the back.

The suspension — double wishbones in front and a five-link rear — employs M-specific tuning with firmer stabilizer bars, stiffer mounts and additional bracing. The adaptive shock absorbers have M-specific tuning, as well, with three selectable settings. Six-piston front brakes with 15.6-inch discs are standard; the rears have single-piston calipers and 15.0-inch discs. Optional carbon-ceramic brakes have slightly larger front discs (15.7 inches) and improved performance, but they also cut unsprung weight by 51 pounds.

img 1987280868 1503330581607 jpg img 1986357347 1503330581740 jpg img 1985433826 1503330581873 jpg img 1984510305 1503330582028 jpg img 1964192843 1503330582172 jpg img 1963269322 1503330582312 jpg img 1962345801 1503330582451 jpg img 1961422280 1503330582583 jpg img 1960498759 1503330582721 jpg img 1959575238 1503330582866 jpg img 1958651717 1503330583002 jpg img 1957728196 1503330583148 jpg img 1956804675 1503330583287 jpg img767921185 1503330579162 jpg img766997664 1503330578852 jpg img 1992821994 1503330580475 jpg img 1991898473 1503330580640 jpg img 1990974952 1503330580818 jpg img 1990051431 1503330581034 jpg img 1989127910 1503330581251 jpg img 1988204389 1503330581446 jpg img 1987280868 1503330581607 jpg img 1986357347 1503330581740 jpg img 1985433826 1503330581873 jpg img 1984510305 1503330582028 jpg img 1964192843 1503330582172 jpg img 1963269322 1503330582312 jpg img 1962345801 1503330582451 jpg img 1961422280 1503330582583 jpg img 1960498759 1503330582721 jpg img 1959575238 1503330582866 jpg img 1958651717 1503330583002 jpg img 1957728196 1503330583148 jpg img 1956804675 1503330583287 jpg img767921185 1503330579162 jpg img766997664 1503330578852 jpg img 1992821994 1503330580475 jpg img 1991898473 1503330580640 jpg img 1990974952 1503330580818 jpg img 1990051431 1503330581034 jpg img 1989127910 1503330581251 jpg img 1988204389 1503330581446 jpg Photo of Kelsey Mays
Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

Featured stories

202406 inductive road charging scaled jpg
mazda cx 70 phev 2025 01 exterior front angle white scaled jpg
acura mdx 2025 01 cg exterior front angle jpg