Forty years after launching its first street-legal sports car, BMW’s M division will introduce what’s being called its quickest, most technologically advanced model ever: the 2018 BMW M5 high-performance sports sedan. The sixth-generation BMW M5 made its world premiere recently, and although pricing has yet to be revealed, we already know much about what customers can expect when it goes on sale this spring.
Powertrain and Performance
Right up top on the M5’s performance resume is its twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. The engine is similar to the one found in the previous M5, but it’s been updated to deliver an extra 40 horsepower and 63 pound-feet of torque. With new output totals of 600 horsepower and 563 pound-feet of torque, drivers will enjoy 0-60 mph times of 3.2 seconds and a top speed that can reach 189 mph. Further, the M5’s standard eight-speed automatic transmission is all new, and it offers both a manual shifting mode and three distinct drive modes.
Also new and making a major impact on the car’s performance is the first M-specific xDrive all-wheel-drive system. This setup defaults to a rear-biased all-wheel-drive configuration with power sent to the front wheels only as needed. To appeal to traditional enthusiasts, however, an alternative mode can be set for pure rear-wheel-drive operation. Then, on the topic of multimode technologies, the 2018 M5 continues with standard multimode suspension and steering systems.
Significant suspension hardware upgrades are a further advantage for the new M5, and a key performance option is a set of carbon-ceramic brakes. These big stoppers improve braking power and reduce weight, too. BMW also indicates that a performance-increasing “M Driver’s Package” will be available.
2018 BMW M5 Design
The 2018 M5 shares the same basic shape and midsize dimensions as the BMW 5-Series, but with a look that’s enhanced by numerous sporty details. Included are aero and cooling features like a large front intake, prominent side skirts and, at the back, a rear diffuser, apron and spoiler. A hallmark styling cue of all M vehicles, side vents, or “gills,” also are standard, as are 19-inch polished aluminum-alloy wheels (20-inch black or black-polished aluminum-alloy wheels are optional). In either case, slightly wider tires and wheels are used in the back to further optimize handling and performance. And though not explicitly mentioned by BMW, the M5 will almost certainly provide the striking LED adaptive headlights offered for the regular 5-Series lineup.
Advanced materials are another highlight of the car’s design, which saves weight with an aluminum hood and front side body panels, as well as a new carbon-fiber reinforced plastic roof.
In the cabin, the M5 has a strongly horizontal dashboard with premium stitching and a particularly wide design for its center stack and console. Emphasizing that appearance is a landscape-style standalone touch screen for the car’s infotainment system. Next, supporting the car’s performance positioning, power-adjustable and heated racing-style seats are standard in the front row. Two individual seats are standard in the back, for an overall seating capacity of four. Also standard inside is a multi-function M steering wheel with shift paddles.
Infotainment and Safety Technology
BMW also raises the bar for M5 safety technology. For the first time, buyers can order the car with the same full complement of driver-assistance measures available for the traditional 5 Series models. Among them are adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, low-speed automatic braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keeping assistance, parking assistance and a surround-view camera.
Meanwhile, BMW didn’t focus much attention on infotainment information during the M5’s premiere, but as with the safety tech, it’s likely to offer the same top-of-the-line content as the rest of the 5-Series roster. If so, that would include the latest iDrive technology with navigation and 10.2-inch touch screen. Gesture control has been confirmed for the M5, allowing drivers to manage key vehicle functions with hand motions, and an M-specific digital instrument cluster and head-up display will be onboard.
2018 BMW M5 First Edition
Finally, for the big-time Bimmer enthusiasts, BMW will offer a limited-production M5 First Edition. Four hundred will be manufactured in total, but just 50 will be imported for U.S. drivers. Each will show off an exclusive Frozen Dark Red Metallic exterior finish and high-gloss black accents that include the car’s grille, M side vents and tailpipes. Piano Finish Black interior trim distinguishes the cabin, which features a commemorative plaque and standard M sport seats. Optional here is full-leather Smoke White upholstery that’s set off by red contrast stitching.
As with the standard 2018 M5, the First Edition is likewise expected this spring at a price that’s still to be determined.