Cars are getting more and more powerful, and although we're not complaining, we have to wonder when the power wars will slow down, if ever. As a result of this continual increase in power, manufacturers that would never stray from their traditional means of putting power to the ground have invested heavily in all-wheel-drive technology. One of the cars that almost certainly needs this tech is the 2020 BMW M5. Available in two states of tune, the 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 at the front of the M5 produces up to 617 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic gearbox manages shifts while output is distributed to all four wheels. A switchable all-wheel-drive system allows experienced enthusiasts to send 100 percent of the power to the rear wheels, allowing the driver to indulge in some sideways action if the mood takes them.
For the 2020 model-year update, all M5 variants now get Live Cockpit Pro, a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation cluster, as standard. Also included are features like wireless charging and real-time traffic updates. As a celebration of the BMW M5 and its generations' now-35-year-long time on the market, an all-new model, the M5 Edition 35 Years, is offered. This model is based on the M5 Competition and gets numerous unique add-ons and a bunch of additional standard features, although only 35 cars will be available for the USA. Some unique styling changes are also made for the anniversary edition model.
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The M5 is a subtly styled luxury performance sedan, but it's still fairly easy to tell that this is the big daddy of the 5 Series range if you know what to look for. LED headlights and daytime running lights flank a large pair of kidney grilles, with gaping air intakes below. The front fenders feature the trademark vents that's common to all modern M cars, with the mirrors also subtly redesigned. At the back, a diffuser-style rear bumper and a quad-exit exhaust configuration is complemented by a svelte trunk spoiler. As standard, the M5 rides on 19-inch wheels, but Competition and Edition 35 Years models get 20s from the factory.
The M5 may be a fast sedan, but there's a lot of car to carry around. Curb weight is rated at 4,370 pounds, and the physical dimensions are similarly large too. Width measures 74.9 inches across, excluding the mirrors, while length is 195.5 inches. The wheelbase is 117.4 inches. The regular M5 is 57.8 inches in height while the larger wheels on the Competition and 35 Years models make them 58 inches tall.
The M5 Edition 35 Years is offered in a single, exclusive color: the body is painted in BMW Individual Frozen Dark Grey II, a metallic finish. The regular M5 and M5 Competition get access to a lot more options, with no-cost metallic options including Black Sapphire, Snapper Rocks Blue, Donington Grey, Bluestone, Marina Bay Blue, and Singapore Gray. Other options include Almandin Brown II, Champagne Quartz II, Rhodonite Silver, and Azurite Black II - each of which costs a pretty penny at $1,950. Our favorite is the last option, a dark but deep paint finish with hints of blue in the right light that inspires images of royalty. However, the free Singapore Grey option is also very attractive in the metal. The only non-metallic color choice is Alpine White.
The output of the 2020 BMW M5 has not been changed over the previous year's model, but that's okay with us. The 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood develops up to 617 hp with 553 lb-ft of torque in the Competition model, and a still-potent 600 hp in the standard M5. Sadly, no manual gearbox is ever likely to do duty in an M5 again, but the eight-speed auto you do get is phenomenal. Power is sent to the rear wheels if you choose to switch to that mode, but the quickest way to a triple-figure speed is with the all-wheel-drive system left to do its thing. Along with standard launch control, the M5 Competition (and the M5 Edition 35 Years) can blast from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, according to the official claims, with the 600 hp regular M5 just one-tenth slower. However, real-world tests indicate a bit of fibbing from BMW, with the M5 consistently completing the sprint in well under three seconds. As standard, top speed is limited to 155 mph, but with the optional M Driver's Package (standard on the 35 model), the limiter is shifted to 189 mph.
The M5 in all its guises comes with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. The key difference between the base model's engine and the other iterations lies in power output. As standard, the motor produces 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. With thrust being sent to all four wheels, it doesn't matter if you're leaving from a dig or overtaking someone at speed, the monstrous engine is responsive to the requests of your right foot, surging forward with the kind of urgency at almost any rpm level that is sure to lock your head to the seat. An eight-speed ZF automatic transmission is the only way to shift gears, but this is not bad in any way. In relaxed driving, it shifts smoothly and cleanly, with the transmission proving almost imperceptible. When you want to go crazy, the sharper throttle responses and gear shifts are enough to break necks, and the M5 accelerates hard enough to cause involuntary bowel movements for distracted passengers or unaware drivers.
The M5 Competition and Edition 35 Years models each benefit from a slightly more powerful engine, although the torque figure remains the same between the two models. While it would likely take a back-to-back drive for most to notice the 17 hp increase, the handling of these models helps make them truly special.
Having looked at the acceleration and outright performance figures of the M5, it would be almost acceptable for the super sedan to be a pig in the corners. Not for BMW, though. Almost acceptable is a phrase that doesn't define cars with a badge bearing the most powerful letter in the world. Despite its size and sheer power, the monstrous M5 is not in the slightest way unwieldy on the track. By default, the M5 runs as an all-wheel-drive car, and one that has tremendous levels of grip and traction too. Switching to 4WD Sport allows for more playfulness and a bit of sideways action if you want it, but with the rear-wheel-drive mode, stability and traction control systems are totally deactivated, allowing for the kind of ridiculous hooliganism that the M5's more sedate F10 predecessor was somehow missing. If you choose the Edition 35 Years (or the Competition model on which it is based), you get a heap of suspension upgrades including slightly stiffer springs and retuned dampers, stiffer engine mounts, and a beefier anti-roll bar. The result is an even sharper front end and a truly sporty driver's car that feels more agile than its size would imply.
Despite its sporty image, this is a car that you want to be able to drive every day, and thanks to a brilliant adaptive suspension setup, the dual personality of the M5 comes to the fore with an impressively comfortable and compliant ride, even in Sport mode. The brakes are similarly excellent, but if you want ultimate stopping performance, a carbon-ceramic setup can be fitted for lap after lap of fade-free stops.
The M5, whether in lesser or greater format, scores equally on the EPA's testing for fuel economy. Both the 600- and the 617-hp models returned figures of 15/21/17 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles. Combined with a 20.1-gallon gas tank, the M5's estimated range with mixed driving is 341 miles per tank. The M5's closest competitor, the Mercedes-AMG E63, returns figures of 15/23/18 mpg, making it marginally more economical.
The M5's price is justified not just by its power plant but also by its clean and classy interior. German build quality is as great, as always, while standard 20-way power-adjustable seats up front provide excellent support and comfort in equal measure. Thanks to its rather large body, interior space is not at a premium, although the extended leather upholstery and other high-quality materials add up to a premium price. Infotainment is also top-notch, with a stunning Harman Kardon sound system as standard. Behind the multi-function steering wheel is a gorgeous, and brand new for 2020, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
Getting in and out of the super sedan is not too tricky, thanks to large door openings and seats that aren't too low either. Inside, the M5 seats five in great comfort. While the rear seat is not as accommodating as in something like a 7 Series, legroom and headroom are respectable even for taller individuals. Up front is where the best seats in the house are, with 20-way power-adjustability and memory functions affording both the driver and passenger supreme comfort. Thanks to the wide range of adjustments, short and tall individuals alike will find it easy to obtain the perfect driving position. Despite the large body, outward visibility is fairly good, even when you need to see out of the back.
As standard, the M5's interior is swathed in Merino leather, with choices of color schemes that include a light upholstery finish called Silverstone, a warm Aragon Brown, and the classic Black. However, you can also opt for a full Merino leather package in the same colors, which adds leather to the central transmission tunnel and the underside of the dash for $3,500. Other options include a full leather finish in Caramel/Black, Smoke White/Black, and Tartufo, all adding $5,000 to the BMW M5's total cost. However, to qualify for these, you also have to opt for the $3,650 Executive package, adding massaging and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a surround-view camera, and more. The Edition 35 Years model gets full black Merino leather with beige contrast stitching and gold anodized aluminum carbon weave on the center console, door trims, and dash. Where lesser cars get plastic on the dashboard, the M5 gets a softer SensaTec material as standard.
The M5 is a supercar slayer but despite this, you can still use it as a family car if you want to, with a large cargo area capable of holding up to 18.7 cubic feet of junk in the trunk. This is big enough to allow you to carry luggage for all five passengers with ease, and thanks to a large opening and a power trunk lid, loading is a relatively easy exercise.
In the cabin, a pair of cupholders exists for the front passengers, with another pair in the rear. Inside the front center armrests, more storage space exists, while the door pockets have space for more beverages and/or wallets and keys. The center console also has space for your phone, while a large glovebox allows you to store overflow items.
The biggest change to the M5 for the 2020 model year is the newly-standard 12.3-inch digital info display, called Live Cockpit Pro. In addition, wireless charging is also included. Other standard features equipped on the M5 include adaptive suspension, an active M differential, heated mirrors, a head-up display, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, and rain-sensing wipers. Also included are safety additions like active blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, parking sensors, forward-collision warning with low-speed collision mitigation, a drowsy driver warning, a post-crash response system, crash preparation, and adaptive LED headlights with auto high beams. A rearview camera is also standard along with cruise control, but you can add a surround-view camera and adaptive cruise control, too. Night vision, lane-keep assist, and front cross-traffic alert, as well as an emergency evasion aid are also available. Other optional extras include carbon-ceramic brakes, four-zone climate control, power rear sunshades, massaging front seats with ventilation, heated rear seats, a parking assistant, and soft-close doors.
The standard infotainment system is a brilliant piece of kit, with a 10.25-inch touchscreen and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system as standard. Working in conjunction with the excellent iDrive 7 system, you can access various settings through the screen or the rotary controller in the center console, with the steering wheel offering input functions too. The setup includes HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports, navigation with real-time traffic updates, voice control, gesture control, SiriusXM satellite radio, a 32 GB hard drive, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. If that's not comprehensive enough for you, a 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround sound system can be equipped for $3,400. A rear-seat entertainment system is available for $2,200.
Thus far, the 2020 BMW M5 has been subject to two recalls in the US, one of which was for a faulty rearview camera display and another for a transmission wiring harness that can short circuit, causing the gearbox to shift into neutral. The latter recall also affected 2018 and 2019 BMW M5 models. J.D. Power is yet to avail the current iteration with a predicted reliability rating.
In terms of warranty coverage, BMW offers three years or 36,000 miles of complimentary scheduled maintenance, as well as four years/50,000 miles of bumper to bumper coverage. A four-year/unlimited-mileage roadside assistance package is also included along with a 12-year/unlimited mileage rust perforation warranty.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has reviewed the BMW M5. However, the 5 Series on which it is based scored a 2019 Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS in their notoriously stringent test reviews, with the best possible score of Good in all tests, thanks in part to the adaptive headlights that are standard on the M5.
The M5 is heavily laden with safety features, many of which are assigned to keeping the occupants safe from crashes and some of which are there to protect the occupants and/or pedestrians if things go awry. Among the standard features are frontal and side-impact airbags, as well as overhead airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners, anti-lock brakes, and traction and stability control systems. Also included are adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams, a rearview camera, active blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning with low-speed autonomous braking, a drowsy driver monitor, a crash preparation system, and a post-crash fuel and electrical system shutoff with SOS response. Optionally available are features like a surround-view camera, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, front cross-traffic alert, an evasion aid, and a night vision camera.
The BMW M5 Sedan, regardless of which model you opt for, is a brutish but classily designed vehicle with oodles of power, fun and competent handling ability, and a remarkably well-tuned suspension setup that both minimizes body roll and keeps the ride supple. The interior is beautifully appointed with leather and more gadgetry than your local Radio Shack, and the performance overall is mesmerizingly brilliant thanks to an underrated power plant that performs far better than it is claimed to. Acceleration is brutal and when you want to let your hair down, while the switchable all-wheel-drive system will allow you to take full control and send it sideways 'round the nearest bend. Couple that with standard features like 20-way power front seats with heating, a fantastic Harman Kardon sound system, and standard ambient lighting, and you have a comfortable, capable, and fun super sedan that is worth every penny of its asking price.
Despite the 2020 BMW M5's new updates over the 2019 model, it still starts at the same base price as last year, with the regular M5 carrying an MSRP of $102,700, exclusive of a $1,000 gas guzzler tax and a $995 destination & handling fee. The M5 Competition starts a little higher, at $110,000, while the limited-run M5 Edition 35 Years has a base price of $128,995. This special model is all but fully loaded from the factory, and will likely cost no less than $150,000 in full spec.
The 2020 BMW M5 Series is available in three variants: M5, M5 Competition, and M5 Edition 35 Years (also called the M5 Edition 35 Jahre).
The standard M5 comes with a host of features, including a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 producing 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, all of which is directed through an eight-speed automatic gearbox and distributed amongst a switchable all-wheel-drive system with a rear-wheel-drive function. A 12.3-inch digital driver display is featured, as is a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. A 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is standard, as are cruise control, adaptive LED headlights, an adaptive suspension setup, and a power trunk lid. The M5 also benefits from heated 20-way power front seats paired with a heated steering wheel and dual-zone climate control, while an Alcantara headliner and leather upholstery dress the interior nicely. Wireless charging, navigation, and 19-inch wheels round off the feature highlights.
The M5 Competition gets the same engine, but power is upped to 617 hp and a number of suspension tweaks make for a more capable track missile. Distinguishing the Comp from the regular model is made possible by numerous gloss black exterior accents and a few subtle badges. This model also gets 20-inch Y-spoke wheels and an adaptive M Sport exhaust with black chrome tips.
The M5 Edition 35 Years is based on the Competition model and rides on the same wheels, but with them coated in Graphite Grey paint. This model celebrates all the generations that came before and thus needs to stand out. It also gets gloss black brakes, a rear badge delete, and a silky matte Frozen Dark Grey II paint finish. In addition, a number of the M5's optional features are fitted as standard, including four-zone climate control, massaging ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a surround-view camera, a parking assistant, and soft-close doors. You also get a unique interior trim finish, with the black Merino leather featuring beige stitching and the dash, doors, and center console benefitting from a unique gold anodized aluminum carbon finish that basically looks like gold carbon fiber. Only 35 of the 350 units allocated for worldwide distribution will make their way to U.S. shores.
The M5 may be well-specced and expensive, but it can still be further enhanced and made more expensive. The Driving Assistance Plus package adds $1,700 to the BMW M5's base price and adds adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, front cross-traffic alert, and traffic jam assist. Also available is the Executive package, a suite of features that must be specced if you want a full leather interior. This package adds a power rear sunshade and manually operated rear side window shades, quad-zone automatic climate control, ventilated front seats with a massaging function, heated rear seats, a parking assistant with a surround-view camera, and soft-close doors. Opting for this package will set you back $3,650. Individually available is the M Driver's Package, which moves the speed limiter from 155 mph to 189 mph. It also earns you a day at BMW's driving school and costs $2,500.
While we usually stray from special editions for how much value they offer in relation to their costs, the M5 Edition 35 Years is a highly attractive option for the prospective M5 buyer. Not only is it a Competition model with unique and exclusive paint, but it also gets a stellar array of optional features thrown in that you pay extra for on lesser models. In comparison, it's just as brilliant as its incredible Competition sibling on the track and the road, and also gains ventilated massaging front seats, heated rears, four-zone climate control, soft-close doors, adaptive cruise control, and all the other features included in the Executive package. In addition, you get a spectacular and unique interior, not to mention a rarity factor that few cars will be able to share. If, however, you miss out on one of these limited models, we'd certainly recommend the M5 Competition with the Executive package added.
Although we haven't yet had a chance to drive the all-new 2020 Audi RS7, we do know that its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 will produce similar power to the M5, with 591 hp, along with even more torque at 590 lb-ft. It will also use an all-wheel-drive system and an eight-speed automatic, although this system will not be able to run exclusively on rear-wheel-drive if the driver wants it. Pricing is expected to be a little higher than that of a base M5, at $120,000 versus the Bimmer's $102,700, and although we don't yet know further details like the cargo volume and the gadgets it'll get as standard, you can expect it to have a fairly large cargo area and lots of advanced tech wizardry. Nevertheless, due to its sloping roofline and hatchback-like profile, rear-seat comfort won't be that great for taller people. Overall, this is set to be an absolute monster with dashing looks and plenty of tech, and if you don't need to ever use rear-wheel-drive alone, you may want to wait for this one.
The Mercedes-AMG E63 S is very similar to the M5 in many ways. It too comes with a switchable all-wheel-drive system and a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8, although it only develops 603 hp versus the M5 Competition's 617. Nevertheless, it has far more torque with 627 lb-ft of the stuff. Supremely fast and incredibly capable, the E 63 S is a similarly subtle take on understated aggression, but despite its massive dual screens in the cockpit, the cabin feels a little old-school and the ride is oddly not as good as that in the M5. It also has less trunk space with 13.1 cubes versus the BMW's 18.7. Nevertheless, the standard features on the Merc are impressive, with the Affalterbach-born Autobahn bruiser boasting things like a surround-view camera and ventilated front seats from the factory. You can also get luxury features like a panoramic sunroof and safety improvements like full-speed autonomous braking. The decision between these two is, therefore, very close, but because of their different styles, we'd recommend taking each for a test drive before making a final decision.
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