Since its introduction to the U.S. market almost three decades ago, the BMW M5 has become a modern classic, favored for its relentless dedication to providing a thrilling driving experience. Five generations of this midsize luxury sports sedan have been offered over the years. The one thing all M5 models have in common is their balance of premium amenities and blistering performance.
2013 to Present: BMW M5
The BMW M5 is the high-performance variant of the 5 Series luxury sedan. The most current generation of the M5 was launched in 2013. With its sharp reflexes and quick acceleration, this iteration of the M5 offers everything that has made this enduring model a treasured choice for enthusiasts with money to spend.
BMW's M5 is a high-performance premium sports sedan with seating for five passengers. Its exterior bears hints of its performance prowess. An assertive chin spoiler swoops low to the ground in front, and the car's sizable wheels and performance tires are visible in profile. The rear view reveals a spoiler and quad exhaust pipes.
Look under the hood and you'll find a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 offering a massive 560 horsepower. The standard transmission is a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual. A six-speed manual is available, and buyers can add this option at no additional cost.
Given the potency of its engine, it's not surprising that the M5 has a gift for rocketlike acceleration. It dashes from zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. The automated manual transmission charms with smooth shifts and quick responses to manual inputs. A number of engine, suspension and transmission settings are offered, and this allows you to tailor your driving experience to suit your preferences. Still, ride quality remains quite firm, and this will be especially noticeable if your travels take you over uneven pavement.
While the M5's handling indicates it has a lot of sports car in its genetic makeup, its cabin is heavily weighted in favor of luxury. Power-adjustable seats offer loads of comfort, and high-quality materials such as leather and aluminum are in plentiful supply. Rear passengers enjoy a roomy second row, and the sedan's trunk is enhanced with split-folding rear seats.
As befits its luxury-car status, the M5 comes generously equipped. The list of standard features includes a sunroof, an adaptive suspension system, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column. Standard technology features include a navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity.
Optional upgrades include soft-close doors, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, ventilated and massaging front seats and four-zone automatic climate control. Active safety features such as lane departure warning and blind-spot monitoring are also available.
For the 2014 model year, the M5 got a minor styling update, a new steering wheel and a new optional Competition package that brought unique 20-inch wheels, a unique exhaust system, chassis upgrades and an output increase of 15 horsepower. The list of available features was expanded to include adaptive LED headlights and a collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection.
Satellite radio and keyless entry and ignition - which were previously optional - became standard on all models for 2015. To commemorate the model's 30-year anniversary, a series of 30 numbered special-edition sedans was rolled out.
In 2016, the previously optional power trunk lid became standard on all models. The sedan's Bluetooth functionality and USB port benefited from revisions.
The BMW M5 should be cross-shopped against models such as the Audi RS 7, Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, Porsche Panamera, Jaguar XFR-S and Cadillac CTS-V. Each of these picks provides a thrilling and distinctive driving experience, so we'd recommend taking a test drive before making a buying decision.
Earlier BMW M5 Models
The first generation of the M5 was available in limited numbers in the U.S. and available only for the 1988 model year. It features a five-speed manual transmission and a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine. The sedan was only available in black, and the list of standard features included leather upholstery, air conditioning, power seats and cruise control. Heated front seats were offered as an option.
In 1991, the M5's second generation was launched in the U.S., and it ran until 1993. A five-speed manual transmission was standard, and this M5 features a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine.
Model-year 2000 saw the introduction of the third-generation M5. It offered a big power upgrade relative to previous models thanks to its 4.9-liter V8, and a six-speed manual transmission was standard. This generation lasted four model years, with production ending in 2003.
The fourth-generation M5 was launched in 2006. A 5.0-liter V10 brought added power, and a seven-speed sequential manual gearbox governed the proceedings. Standard features included adaptive headlamps, leather upholstery, heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity and a navigation system. This generation ended production in 2010, and the model went on hiatus for a couple of years until the current generation was launched in 2013.