The 2018 BMW M5 Is Exactly the 600-HP Fire

We already had a pretty good idea what the new BMW M5 was going to be. After all, BMW wasn’t being all that coy about it; the Bavarian motor meisters have been quietly confirming one detail after another about the super sports sedan for months now, even going so far as to hand out press drives in prototypes some time back. (We’ll assume our invitation was lost in the mail.)

But that’s not to say there’s anything disappointing about seeing the all-new M5 revealed in all its glory, as BMW did on Monday. Because even if it’s turned out to be exactly the 600-horsepower, all-wheel-drive German four-door we expected…it’s still a 600-horsepower, all-wheel-drive German four-door. And it’s still an all-new BMW M5.

We’ve already caught a preliminary glimpse of the new car thanks to a series of leaked photos, so let’s drive straight into the good stuff: The cold, hard stats. The 2018 BMW M5’s twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 cranks out an even 600 horsepower between 5,700 and 6,600 rpm, putting it on par with the likes of the Mercedes-AMG E63 S; just as impressively, it also cranks out 553 pound-feet across a Tibetan plateau of a torque curve that stays level rom 1,800 rpm to 5,700 rpm.  All that grunt is taken up by an eight-speed, performance-tuned automatic that’s been tailored to lock up its torque converter as quickly as possible once the car is moving; drivers can shuffle between three separate automatic shift modes depending on how gung-ho they feel about attacking the road, or flip between cogs themselves using the shift lever or steering wheel paddles.

 From the transmission, the power flows to all four wheels, making the new M5 the first BMW M car to offer all-wheel-drive. (Before you point out the X5 M and X6 M, please note the operative word in that last sentence: car.) The AWD system is designed to generally send more power to the rear wheels—which are separated by an active limited-slip differential—than the fronts; switch over to M Dynamic Mode and 4WD Sport, and it prioritizes the rear axle even further, allowing more wheelslip—and thus, more gleeful oversteer. Should you really want to go full hoonigan, of course, you can throw the AWD system into rear-wheel-drive mode, allowing the new M5 to vaporize its tires the way past versions have been able to.

You’ll want to trust all four wheels with the V-8’s power, though, if you want to squeeze full acceleration out of this Bimmer. The 0-to-60 mile-per-hour dash will flash past in a mere 3.2 seconds, according to BMW, with the sprint to 124 mph taking 11.1 seconds. Every 2018 M5 will blast all the way up to at least 155 miles per hour; those equipped with the M Driver’s Package will keep on hauling ass all the way up to 189 mph. (Courtesy of Will Sabel Courtney)


When the time comes to stop from those bonkers speeds, the standard brakes—15.5-inch discs with six-piston calipers up front, 14.9-inch discs with single-piston floating calipers in back—should be mighty enough to handle the task with ease. But if you’re planning on tracking your two-ton German sport sedan with any regularity, BMW also offers carbon-ceramic brakes of roughly equal size. You’ll be able to tell if someone sprang for the ceramics at a glance, too; the standard brakes boast blue calipers, the fancier optional stoppers use gold ones.

On the outside, the newest addition to the BMW M family gains a few add-ons to cut down on weight and help the car breathe easier. The air intakes in front have been embiggened, and the central intake now integrates the oil cooler to better aid the car’s heat-shedding abilities. The roof is made from carbon fiber-reinforced plastic, to shave off weight up high and lower the car’s center of gravity

Inside, the new M5 offers all the usual niceties and high-tech options found in a modern-day BMW 5 Series—iDrive, a heads-up display, Gesture Control, and of course, tons of leather. But the M5 also gains a few upgrades in accordance with its high-performance mission, including aggressive-looking sport seats and a chunky M steering wheel with two buttons that let the driver bookmark his or her preferred suspension, engine, and transmission settings.