A single letter makes a big difference at BMW. While this German automaker sells a variety of models that can be optioned with M-Sport this or that, there is still nothing to equal a true M car. Take the M5, the most potent version of the 5 Series: while more pedestrian versions of that line use four- and six-cylinder engines, the M5 takes a version of the 550i's twin-turbo V8 and adds an economy car's worth of horsepower and a bunch of go-fast tech.
In standard trim, that V8 makes 560 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque, but an optional $6,500 competition package adds 15 horsepower.
For some perspective, the M5 goes head-to-head with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG (577 hp/590 lb-ft), Audi RS7 (560 hp/516 lb-ft) and Cadillac's CTS-V (640 hp/630 lb-ft). BMW arguably has the longest history of amping up its mid-size sedan, and while purists would tell you the car lost its edge with the introduction of the first Chris Bangle-designed 5 Series in 2004.
Positioned as a "pure" performance car, the M5 ditches the xDrive AWD found in most other 5 Series models for a more straighforward rear-driver. Standard spec includes a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but a six-speed manual is a no-cost option.
Fuel consumption ratings seem a weird thing to worry about in a car like this, but nonetheless, Natural Resources Canada's estimates for the M5 are 16.1/10.9 L/100 km (city/highway) with the six-speed stick and 17.3/11.5 with the seven-speed dual-clutch.
At $102,500, the M5 comes close to doubling the regular 5 Series' base price, and it doesn't take long to make that actually happen once you start adding options. Some of them include carbon ceramic brakes ($8,500), a full leather interior ($4,500) and a $4,900 Bang & Olufsen stereo. And if you really feel like splashing out, a $25,000 Ultimate package bundles the competition pack, full leather cabin, B&O stereo and light alloy wheels.
For that money, you get 20-inch wheels, bigger brakes, speed-sensitive power steering, high-gloss grille and window trim, Alcantara roof liner, 10-way M-sport seats and Merino leather upholstery, on top of stuff included in lesser models, like a 16-speaker stereo, navigation, heated rear seats and a 10.2-inch iDrive display.
This vehicle has not yet been reviewed