M5: Early 2018 entry cited

Waiting for the M5 makes fans’ hearts grow fonder, BMW NZ says.


FAN support for the BMW M5 will not have cooled since the old model having fallen out of production last year and the next not being due here until early 2018, the local distributor believes.

Quite the contrary, suggests the brand’s spokesman for this country, Paul Sherley.

“Our local share of BMW M sales is one of the highest in the world, and M5 has always been a popular model in the range,” he says.

“We’ve seen a consistent rate of sales across the lifecycle of the current model, and see even greater interest in the new car when it launches next year.”

Comment from BMW New Zealand came after the parent finally revealed the next-generation car this week.

Identified by having larger grilles, an aggressive rear valance with a faux diffuser, and the trademark vents in the wings – plus the usual interior refinements of special logoed sports seats and a pair of bright red M buttons on the steering wheel for individually-customized driving modes – the car’s real appeal comes from it again running a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8.

But it makes massively more grunt: 441kW power and 750Nm of torque, which represents a decent increase of 30kW and 70Nm respectively, a lift that spreads over a broader rev band – especially the torque, which thumps in from 1800rpm to 5700rpm.

That much oomph promises a 0-100kmh time of just 3.4 seconds with no tyre smoking involved because, as is now well known, Munich has forgone the traditional rear-drive for all-wheel-drive.

The prospect of an xDrive M5 doesn’t seem to have been a detraction, comment from Sherley suggests. If anything, there’s optimism about what this first-time inclusion will bring.

“The inclusion for the first time of M xDrive adds a new component to the driving experience.”

Yeah, nice understatement, right?

Frank van Meel, chairman of BMW’s Board of Management had more to say.

“Thanks to M xDrive, the new BMW M5 can be piloted with the familiar blend of sportiness and unerring accuracy both on the race track and out on the open road, while also delighting drivers with its significantly enhanced directional stability and controllability right up to the limits of performance when driving in adverse conditions such as in the wet or snow.”

For all that, don’t think that BMW has built a Q (for, you know what) car.

BMW has enforced that the car defaults to all-wheel drive with its stability control fully on, but depending on the driving mode selected the driver can loosen the grip and tweak the M5’s handling characteristic, even placing it into rear-wheel drive mode only.

There are also varying stages of stability control along with three modes for the dynamic damper control: Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus which soften or harden the damper response to suit the driver and where the vehicle is being driven.

Exactly when the new model is landing is still to be determined, but suggestion is that New Zealand – perhaps because it is a small volume market – looks set to be an early recipient.

“Local specification and pricing is yet to be determined, however we would expect a local release in the early part of 2018 in line with international on-sale,’ he said.

Meantime, BMW has been releasing quite a lot of detail to whet appetites.

For instance, it says the model gets M compound brakes as standard but can be cost-optioned with carbon-ceramic brakes. These are instantly recognisable from the gold-coloured callipers with M logo (six- piston fixed callipers at front, single-piston floating callipers at rear) and are 23kg lighter.

Weight reduction was key so there’s been a greater use of lightweight materials like aluminium for the bonnet, and carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic for the roof.

The steering wheel’s M1 and M2 allow the driver to configure two individual set-ups for the M5. These include their choice of M xDrive, DSC, engine, transmission, damper and steering characteristics, as well as the appearance of M view in the Head-Up Display.

BMW will also produce 400 First Edition M5s and it would be surprising if at least several examples don’t reach us.

The First Edition has exclusive Frozen Dark Red Metallic paintwork and includes BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line trim with extended features. This means that the kidney grille, the M gills and the four tailpipes of the sports exhaust all come in high-gloss black. Thederivative also has 20-inch seven-double-spoke light- alloy wheels in black.