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2021 BMW M5
$103,500 — $103,500 MSRP
29
Photos
Sedan
5 Seats
17 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
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Overview

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(4.5) 2 reviews
2021 BMW M5 exterior side view

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2021 BMW M5 Review

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

We take the 2021 BMW M5 Competition for a test drive and check out the interior, exterior, and engine!

By Kelsey Mays

On the heels of announcing a freshened 5 Series for 2021, BMW unveiled the chieftain of its mid-size sedan lineup in the also-updated 2021 M5. The current-generation 5 Series, you may recall, dates back to the 2017 model year, with the M5 arriving for 2018. That’s the sort of vintage that makes 2021 ripe for substantial updates. And the M5, available in regular or Competition grades, will get them when it hits dealers in August 2020.

Related: 2021 BMW 5 Series Is Feeling Refreshed

Exterior

Like the refreshed 5 Series upon which it’s based, the M5 gets a slightly taller kidney grille — albeit less imposing than the oversized units on the 7 Series or the Toucan-Sam’d 4 Series. Its headlights no longer carry inboard indentations, and the outboard bumper openings below them are a bit taller now. Changes in back are harder to spot: The taillights have a revised L-shape design, but they’re the same overall shape, as are the bumper’s air diffusers and quad tailpipes.

Powertrain and 0-60 Speed

Performance equipment and numbers carry over, with the M5’s turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 making the same 600 horsepower (617 hp in the M5 Competition) and 553 pounds-feet of torque. Sixty mph comes in a manufacturer-estimated 3.2 seconds (3.1 seconds in the Competition), identical to BMW’s estimates for the 2020 M5. Power hits the road through rear-biased all-wheel drive, with an active rear differential splitting torque between the left and right rear wheels.

Drivers can choose between various ...

On the heels of announcing a freshened 5 Series for 2021, BMW unveiled the chieftain of its mid-size sedan lineup in the also-updated 2021 M5. The current-generation 5 Series, you may recall, dates back to the 2017 model year, with the M5 arriving for 2018. That’s the sort of vintage that makes 2021 ripe for substantial updates. And the M5, available in regular or Competition grades, will get them when it hits dealers in August 2020. 

Related: 2021 BMW 5 Series Is Feeling Refreshed

Exterior

Like the refreshed 5 Series upon which it’s based, the M5 gets a slightly taller kidney grille — albeit less imposing than the oversized units on the 7 Series or the Toucan-Sam’d 4 Series. Its headlights no longer carry inboard indentations, and the outboard bumper openings below them are a bit taller now. Changes in back are harder to spot: The taillights have a revised L-shape design, but they’re the same overall shape, as are the bumper’s air diffusers and quad tailpipes.

Powertrain and 0-60 Speed

Performance equipment and numbers carry over, with the M5’s turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 making the same 600 horsepower (617 hp in the M5 Competition) and 553 pounds-feet of torque. Sixty mph comes in a manufacturer-estimated 3.2 seconds (3.1 seconds in the Competition), identical to BMW’s estimates for the 2020 M5. Power hits the road through rear-biased all-wheel drive, with an active rear differential splitting torque between the left and right rear wheels. 

Drivers can choose between various settings for AWD power distribution and stability-system intervention, with (like before) a mode that sends power only to the rear wheels. The M5’s eight-speed automatic transmission has three driver-selectable modes, as well. Like on the M8, a single M mode button replaces settings for individual systems; it has various road and sport modes, plus a Track mode on the M5 Competition.

The suspension retains its double-wishbone front and multilink rear architecture, with Competition models sitting 0.2 inch lower. Adaptive shock absorbers and six-piston front brake calipers are standard; carbon ceramic discs are optional. Competition models have more aggressive hardware, including 10% firmer springs, unique rear stabilizer bars and firmer engine mounts. In a nod toward improved livability for 2021, BMW says they also get new shocks and recalibrated control systems to improve comfort on highways and bumpy roads.

Interior

Inside, the biggest change — again, similar to the regular 5 Series — is an upsized dashboard touchscreen, now 12.3 inches versus the prior 10.25 inches. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both wireless, are standard. (The outgoing 5 Series offered wireless CarPlay but no Android Auto of any kind.) Other additions for 2021 include cloud-based navigation and BMW’s Extended Traffic Jam Assist, one of just two hands-free steering systems on the U.S. market as of this writing. (The other is Cadillac’s Super Cruise.) BMW offered ETJA on half a dozen models for 2020, but not the 5 Series; that changes for 2021.

Price

Pricing starts at $104,495 for the M5 and $112,095 for the M5 Competition (both including a strangely affordable $995 destination charge), up $800 and $1,100, respectively, versus the 2020 M5 and M5 Competition.

More From Cars.com:

Cars.com’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with Cars.com’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of Cars.com’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.5
2 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(5.0)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(5.0)
Comfort
(3.5)
Reliability
(5.0)
Value For The Money
(4.5)
(4.0)

The seats are terrible

by Tommy Twofinger from Columbus, OH on December 15, 2020

This is my second one, the last one was a 2019 and the seats were glorious. This one is a 2021 and the seats dig into your thighs... just awful. They ruined the seat pan. Same options, same car, but ... Read full review

(5.0)

It’s a beast!! Enough said!

by Hiram Abif from Harwich port on October 30, 2020

This is wolf in sheep’s clothing! Luxury with the soul of a beast! The is car will take you from labor to refreshment and refreshment to labor again at you will and pleasure! S.M.I.B. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2021 BMW M5 currently has 1 recall


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2021 BMW M5 has not been tested.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by BMW

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    48 months / 50,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    48 months / unlimited distance

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    Certified Pre-Owned Elite with less than 15,000 miles; Certified Pre-Owned with less than 60,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    1 year/unlimited miles from expiration of 4-year/50,000-mile new car warranty

  • Powertrain

    N/A

  • Dealer Certification Required

    196-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2021 M5 Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The M5 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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