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2014 BMW M5 Review

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2014 BMW M5 Overview

The iconic BMW M5 gains a new Competition Package for 2014, which boosts output from the sport sedan's twin-turbocharged V8 to an eye-popping 575 hp. The package also shaves a tenth of a second off the M5's 0-60 time by lowering ride height, upgrading some suspension components and uniquely tuning the Active M Differential to achieve stellar levels of performance and handling. In addition, BMW adds a new M leather-wrapped steering wheel for 2014, which mimics the design of the M5's wheels, and offers adaptive LED headlights as a new option. New exterior colors, including Pyrite Brown Metallic and Frozen Blue Metallic, as well as new Cashmere Beige and Nutmeg leather upholstery colors, are also offered for 2014.

The M5 last received a complete makeover in 2012, which included a more efficient twin-turbocharged V8 engine, a redesigned chassis, a more aerodynamic exterior design and updated interior features. During the redesign, BMW utilized high-tensile and ultra-high-tensile steel, as well as aluminum, on body panels to keep the vehicle's weight down. The M5 still tips the scales at a rather hefty 4,387 pounds, but BMW distributes the weight fairly evenly over the M5's 116.7-inch wheelbase and 193.3-inch overall length, and the efficient V8 moves the vehicle along at a good clip, thanks in part to impressive torque.

In its standard configuration, the M5's high-revving M TwinPower Turbo V8, shared with the M6 Coupe and Convertible and the X5 M and X6 M crossover vehicles, rips out an impressive 552 hp and peak torque of 502 lb-ft at 1,500 to 1,570 rpm. That's good enough to drive the M5 from 0-60 in just 4.2 seconds and to a speed of 124 mph in 13 seconds. Independent testing puts the 0-60 time as low as 3.7 seconds. A 7-speed M Double Clutch transmission with automatic and manual-shift modes capably handles the engine's high power and torque. BMW includes steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters with the automatic, but for a more visceral driving experience, owners can opt for an available 6-speed manual transmission, which debuted in 2013. An auto start/stop function switches off the engine when the M5 stops moving to conserve fuel and starts it up again instantly when the driver releases the brake or presses the accelerator pedal. Fuel economy numbers for the turbo V8 check in at 17 mpg city/22 highway. The engine requires premium fuel.

The rear-wheel-drive M5 rides on an M-Specific chassis and suspension system with electro-hydraulic M Dynamic dampers and reinforced mountings, which help to distribute forces evenly around the body structure. An M Driving Dynamics Control system offers Comfort, Sport and Sport+ ride settings, each delivering a progressively tighter feel with better feedback. In addition, an electronically controlled Active M rear-axle limited-slip differential, which comes standard, makes instantaneous adjustments to the rear wheels, based on a variety of inputs, to optimize traction and stability on all types of road surfaces. Variable-assist M Servotronic power steering provides precise handling, while big 19-inch forged alloy wheels with performance tires ensure optimal road grip.

The new Convenience Package, which draws on the M5's racing heritage, increases hp from the V8 to 575 and fine-tunes the suspension to match the suped-up engine. For the package, BMW recalibrates the suspension's coil springs and dampers and stiffens the anti-sway bars. Some of these adjustments are designed to lower the car by 10mm, which also lowers the center of gravity, enhancing stability and handling. The automaker also retunes the rear differential and steering system and re-maps the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) system to create a higher level of intervention, allowing for more spirited driving. Finally, the Competition Package adds 20-inch light-alloy wheels and a sport exhaust system with M quad tailpipes finished in Black Chrome, which create a unique sound as well as visual appeal.

Outside, the 2014 M5 continues to display a number of distinctive design elements, including a dual-kidney grille with vertical slats that mimic the double-spoke design of the wheels. Three large black-screened lower air intakes channel airflow to the engine compartment, while the muscular hood retains its V-shaped lines. HID headlights with auto-leveling, corona rings and cornering lights come standard on the M5, and new adaptive LED headlights join the list of optional features for 2014. Air intakes on the fenders behind the front wheels and air-channeling flaps along the lower front sides help improve aerodynamics and enhance the M5's sporty look. Flared wheel wells, a subtle rear spoiler and L-shaped LED taillights also provide visual appeal. Shadowline exterior trim, heated power-adjustable side mirrors with auto-dimming and rain-sensing windshield wipers are all part of the standard package.

Inside, the driver-oriented cabin includes a number of M-specific features, such as 20-way power-adjustable M Multi-contour sport seats with side bolsters and memory, an M-specific instrument cluster includes an integrated LED display, an M driver's footrest, unique door sills with M badging and a 3-spoke leather-wrapped M sport steering wheel with audio, cruise and Bluetooth controls. Merino leather upholstery, Aluminum Trace interior trim, an Anthracite Alcantara headliner and BMW's iDrive controller with programmable buttons and a 10.2-inch color display are also standard. The iDrive system integrates with a BMW navigation system, 200GB hard drive, a rear-view camera and a 16-speaker 600-watt Harman Kardon audio system with HD radio, a CD player and a USB port. A 2-way power moonroof, automatic climate control, ambient lighting, power tilt/telescopic steering column, remote keyless entry and split fold-down rear seats are among the other standard features.

Front and side airbags come standard, along with BMW's Assist eCall and Remote Services systems, which include automatic collision notification, emergency request, stolen vehicle recovery and remote door unlock. The DSC system incorporates automatic stability control, dynamic traction control, a start-off assist and antilock brakes with dynamic brake control and cornering brake control. Active blind-spot detection, lane-departure warning and a forward-collision warning system are among the optional safety features.

With a heritage that goes back to the mid-'80s, the M5 has long been a leader in its high-performance midsize sport sedan class. Other automakers have specifically targeted the M5 with such vehicles as the Audi S7 and the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG sedan. The Cadillac CTS-V sedan and the Jaguar XFR are among the M5's other competitors, but the M5 remains at or near the top of its class.

Updated

Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in Florida.

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