Many companies build high performance versions of their traditional sedans. Chrysler applies the R/T label, Ford uses the SVT team, and Chevrolet tends to use SS. But what happens when a company which only makes performance cars enhances one of their own? The result is the BMW M series.
The BMW M5 is a high-po version of the 5-series sedan. It does not look especially different, but it receives suspension and engine boosts which make it a strong performer. The handling is superlative, and the acceleration, at least with the five-speed model we tested, is terrific. Unlike many high performance cars, this one is easy to shift and drive. It is also very quiet, even when under full acceleration.
To show that the M5 is a serious performer, we need only mention that it combines a 400 horsepower engine with better-than-usual (even for BMW) handling and an easy-to-shift six-speed manual transmission.
The M5's approach to performance is a far cry from cars like the Camaro SS. It is quiet and civilized as it is thrown around sharp turns and accelerated down the track, while the Camaro is loud even at idle speeds. The M5 is also easier to drive on a daily basis, which you cannot say about ever sports car.
The price for this blend of performance and sophistication is thirst for fuel and a $70,000 sticker. Most drivers would probably be equally satisfied with the 528, at about $40,000, but for the all-out, wealthy performance enthusiast, the M5 is quite a package.
Because the M5 is essentially a modified 5-series BMW, see the BMW 540 review for more details.