After 28 years in the U.S., the fifth generation of the BMW M5 hits stateside, more powerful and faster than ever. The 2012 BMW M5 has grown up, sporting more features and technology than anyone will ever know what to do with in one of the world's premier sports sedans.
Although it weighs more than 4200 pounds, the 2012 BMW M5 boasts a torquey 560-horsepower twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 that outshines the high-revving 5.0-liter V-10 from the previous M5 in almost every way possible. Horsepower is up 10 percent, torque is up a whopping 30 percent, and fuel consumption is expected to increase 30 percent over the 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway of its predecessor. Brake energy regeneration will conserve power and recycle it. Power is routed through a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission similar to that in the M3. However, though rumors have persisted for the U.S. market to get a proper 6-speed manual transmission like the last-generation model, no evidence suggests that one is in the pipeline.
Still, the BMW M5 stakes a claim -- and rightfully so -- as a technological masterpiece, distilling all the best technology BMW has to offer into one car. With three electronic suspension programming modes, six transmission modes, and two M buttons for throttle control and stability on various roads and in different climates, the 2012 M5 can provide a driver with precision controls for almost everything. What's more, the M5 does so while coddling the driver and four passengers in the best-outfitted interior available for the 5 Series range.
Engine: 4.4-liter V-8 twin-turbocharged
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
As an all-new model, BMW has overhauled the 2012 BMW M5 from a high-revving Formula One-inspired sedan into a torquey, road-ripping muscle sedan. The M5 isn't just a 5 Series with a more powerful engine; BMW engineers reworked and rethought the entire car to provide a more exhilarating experience. What may be the most humorous result of tuning this car on a larger, quieter chassis than its predecessor comes from the M5 receiving an additional exhaust note to the interior via the car's audio system just to give the car that added sense of speed. BMW had to compensate for building a car too quiet for its target audience.
The 2012 BMW M5 car looks understated, where the previous M5 looked brash and had a very love-it-or-hate-it appeal. However, with side air vents, a lower stance, 19-inch wheels (with available 20-inch wheels), and a "power dome" hood, the 2012 M5 still looks the part of a high-performance vehicle. If that's not enough of a hint, a gaping front air dam and a rear diffuser between four exhaust pipes should let anyone around the M5 know that it means business. The M5 also comes in exclusive colors like a rich blue called Monte Carlo Blue.
Although its layout is simple and elegant, figuring out what each button does in the 2012 BMW M5 may take a decent-length training course to figure out. From suspension, throttle, and various other performance settings controlled through two M buttons and the iDrive control unit in the dashboard, it may take some time to figure out just how you want the M5 to behave. Like all other M cars, the 2012 BMW M5 has a fat steering wheel covered in leather with the brand's signature red, blue, and purple cross-stitching on it. It also comes with exclusive sport bucket seats, an Alcantara headliner, a head-up display, and aluminum accents throughout.
As the ultimate BMW 5 Series, expect the 2012 BMW M5's ride, performance, and handling to all be world-class. BMW claims the M5 is good for hitting 60 mph from a standstill in 4.4 seconds, but initial tests are showing the car to be much quicker. The M5 has an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph unless outfitted with the M Driver's package that pushes that number to 190 mph. With an active rear differential that focuses power to the wheel that needs it and 560 horsepower on tap, the M5 is able to take the complaints lobbied against the latest 5 Series being a softer car than its predecessors and throw them out the window. This M5 is a wholly different animal.
The2012 BMW M5 comes with two-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags that span from front to rear for passengers in both rows of seating. The power tilt and telescopic steering column includes a deformation section, improving its ability to protect the driver from structural intrusion into the cabin.
M5: Not yet rated
- Aggressive styling
- Unbelievable performance
- Tech galore
- BMW solidity
- Exclusive luxury features
- Fuel economy
- Near six-figure price
- Confusing buttons and menus
- No manual transmission option
The industry's bar-raiser just did it again. []
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