The 2008 BMW M5 represents a classic player in the field of performance sedans; it also remains the fastest, strongest, and sharpest four-door vehicle BMW has ever produced. The 500-horsepower, V-10 engine draws on BMW’s racecars, and this athletic heritage shines through in the M5’s rocketing acceleration, pinpoint turning, and no-nonsense braking.
While the super-powerful, widely variable 2008 M5 has a lot to offer, it also faces a lot of tough competition from performance sedans, such as the Audi S6 and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Even though it doesn’t head up the pack, with so much power and so many personalities available, many feel pleased by the 2008 BMW M5.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 5.0-liter V-10
Transmissions: six-speed manual, seven-speed automatic
Models: BMW M5 Sedan
The BMW M5 receives only a handful of minor improvements for 2008. The car’s overall appearance looks more or less the same, although a few stylistic and technological changes show up in the cabin. These changes include more ergonomically placed door handles and window switches and six programmable memory keys for the all-in-one iDrive system.
The handsomely profiled 2008 M5 has as much to offer on the exterior as it does under the hood, even though it doesn’t have a particularly exciting look. This impressive performance sedan sits on 19-inch alloy wheels and gets set apart from other 5 Series sedans by its distinctive front face. Styling improvements for 2008 include redesigned headlights, taillights, front air dam, rear bumper, and rear diffuser. BMW provides a full range of standard exterior features, including HID headlights, an electrochromic mirror, rain-sensing wipers, and a rear window defogger.
The 2008 BMW M5’s interior seems as luxurious as ever, with no significant style changes from past models. However, it features a few notable technical changes. Window switches now sit on the driver’s armrest, while the front door handles move to a different location for easier accessibility. The dashboard features a modern, streamlined design, and while BMW’s iDrive system consolidates all main controls into one unit, the system as a whole is not user-friendly.
The cabin feels comfortable and spacious all around, with leather upholstery and multi-adjustable driver and passenger seats. Heated seats come standard in the front and optional in the rear, with cooled seats also optional in front. Additional choices include front seat ventilation, a heated steering wheel, satellite radio, high-definition radio, an iPod adapter, and a 16-speaker premium sound system.
Performance & Handling
The M5’s five-liter V-10 provides a true powerhouse, generating 383 lb-ft of torque and up to 500 horsepower. The engine’s default P400 mode limits power to a relatively modest 400 hp, for a more of-this-world delivery. The 2008 BMW M5 reaches 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
While both a six-speed manual transmission and a seven-speed automated clutch with paddle-shifted SMG transmission remain available, the automatic seems like the stronger choice. With the huge amount of power produced by the engine, the manual transmission tends to overheat after just a short period of intense driving.
Fortunately, the issue with the manual transmission marks the only downfall in the M5’s performance. The overall driving experience feels a smooth as it is aggressive, and thanks to the Electronic Damping Control, the M5 provides balanced, responsive maneuvering on any type of roadway. The EDC Sport mode eliminates body roll almost entirely, while the Comfort mode lets only the roughest bumps through its absorbent suspension.
In addition to its athletic prowess, the 2008 BMW M5 also offers exceptional customization and control with the MDrive system. This hands-on system lets the driver adjust everything from horsepower and throttle response to electronic damping control and stability control, creating a truly personal driving experience. While the 279 possible combinations do not all seem vastly different from one another, thoughtful drivers appreciate the ability to adapt their cars to any type of weather, road conditions, traffic situations, or inspiration.
Full-length side curtain airbags and front-seat side airbags come standard on the 2008 BMW M5, while rear-seat side airbags and active head restraints remain optional. Other basic safety equipment includes traction control, a stability control system programmed for performance driving, anti-lock brakes, a vehicle anti-theft system, an electronic parking aid, and a trunk anti-trap device.
The BMW 5 Series, on which the M5 is based, receives the IIHS’s highest rating of ?good? in frontal-offset crash testing.
EPA Fuel Economy
BMW M5 Sedan: 11/17 mpg city/highway
- Powerful V-10 engine
- Impressive driving experience
- High resale value
- High-quality construction
You Won't Like
- SMG transmission not always smooth
- Confusing iDrive controls
Maybe not the top performance sedan on today’s market, but this classic machine still has plenty to offer.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Mercedes-Benz E-Class
- Audi S6
- Lexus GS450H
- Jaguar XJ-Series