by Jared Rosenholtz
As the competition steadily improves, BMW knows it must continue to update its products with new technology and new styling. The company recently issued a facelift for its 5 Series sedan, which has now spread to the hardcore M5. Like the 5 Series on which it's based, the 2021 BMW M5 benefits from a revised interior, performance upgrades from the M8, and improvements to the iDrive infotainment system. With this facelift, the M5 is ready to enter the battle against the facelifted Mercedes-AMG E63 and Audi RS7 Sportback.
Like the standard 5 Series, BMW didn't change the exterior styling too drastically. It's still the same recognizable luxury sedan but now with a slightly larger kidney grille, revised front and rear bumpers, slimmer headlights, L-shaped taillights, and a new rear diffuser. BMW has also added some new colors to the M5's palette including Brands Hatch Grey Metallic, Motegi Red Metallic, and Tanzanite Blue II Metallic. Opting for the M5 Competition finishes many of the exterior accents in black chrome.
The most significant changes to the 2021 M5 are in the cabin where the car borrows newer technology that debuted on the M8. This includes a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which in addition to wireless Apple CarPlay, finally gets Android Auto support. The M5 also borrows the M8's M Mode button, which puts all of the systems into their most aggressive settings where previously separate buttons were available for the engine, chassis, suspension, steering, and xDrive system.
Even the base M5 includes Extended Merino Leather finished in Silverstone, Aragon Brown, or black. Buyers can also opt for a Full Merino or Individual Full Merino Leather interior for an added premium feel. Aluminum Carbon Structure trim is the standard option but several kinds of wood and black piano trim are available.
No updates have been made to the M5's drivetrain but you won't hear us complaining. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine still dishes out 600 horsepower (617 hp in the M5 Competition) and 553 pound-feet of torque. This grunt is still sent out through an eight-speed automatic transmission to an xDrive all-wheel-drive system with the ability to completely deactivate the front wheels to run as a rear-wheel-drive car. With all four wheels driven, the M5 takes just 3.2 seconds to hit 62 mph. This number drops to 3.1 seconds with the Competition but both figures are underrated. If you want to push the M5 to its limits, the car will top out at 155 mph or 190 mph with the optional M Drivers Package.
Pricing for the 2021 BMW M5 starts at $103,500 or $111,100 for the M5 Competition. This means the M5 undercuts its two main rivals, the Audi RS7 ($114,000) and the Mercedes-AMG E63 ($107,350). The RS7 is an all-new model that will arrive on the market this year while the E63 just received a facelift for 2021 with new technology, just like the M5. All three cars are powered by twin-turbocharged V8 engines with around 600 hp and all three are highly capable. The decision to go for one model over the others will largely come down to personal preference and brand loyalty.