by Gerhard Horn
Still fresh from a facelift it received last year, the 2022 BMW M5 is the familiar high-performance midsize sedan we know and love, and it remains one of the segment's benchmarks. While there is a new and even more powerful M5 CS, the regular M5 provides more power and performance than most will ever need. Its twin-turbocharged V8 produces 600 horsepower to enable the heavy sedan to cover the 0-60 mph sprint in just 3.2 seconds. If that's not enough, you can still get a Competition version that throws in another 17 horses. Although it isn't a visceral sports car that communicates freely with the driver, it flawlessly switches between mile-munching luxury sedan and tire-shredding M car depending on your mood. Then again, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S possesses the same duality of character and its interior is a more exciting place to sit, while the Audi RS7 cuts a dashing figure and is also brutally quick. While past M5s like the E39 may have strolled their way to easy victories against the best of the rest, two decades have passed and the 2022 M5 has its work cut out trying to maintain its edge.
Having received a comprehensive facelift last year, the BMW M5 continues into the 2022 model year without any major changes. Last year, the sedan received fresh styling tweaks and some upgrades to the suspension of the Competition mode. All these new changes last year explains why BMW hasn't messed much with the 2022 model.
See trim levels and configurations:
An M5 should be aggressive but understated. It should fly under the radar of the greenies, but car nerds should be able to spot it from 100 yards away. It's a tricky balance which BMW has messed up before. The E60 was too shouty, and the pre-facelift model looked depressed - like it had a diesel under the hood. The facelifted model is absolutely spot on. The new face is upbeat, featuring larger kidneys (not X7 large, thank goodness), LED headlights, and daytime running lights that shoot upwards in a vivacious manner. The bumper has more angular lines and black inserts, while the rear has slimmer, smoked LED lights and a restyled bumper and rear diffuser. The signature quad tailpipes remain. The base model gets 19-inch M double-spoke bi-color wheels, while the Competition model gets 20-inch forged bi-color alloys. A moonroof can be added at no extra cost, but then you'd lose out on the standard carbon fiber roof. In addition to the larger wheels, the Competition Pack adds M Shadowline lights and black-chrome trim on the tailpipes.
Did you know that the dimensions of the current 5 Series mean it is around the same size as the E38 7 Series and just under two inches shy of the Banglified E65 model in terms of length? It's a big car with an overall length of 196.4 inches and a 117.4-inch wheelbase. It has a width of 74.9 inches without the mirrors and 83.7 inches including them. The standard M5 stands 58 inches tall, while the M5 Competition is slightly closer to the ground at 57.8 inches.
The most shocking figure on the spec sheet is the curb weight. Both the standard car and the Competition weigh 4,345 pounds. At its heaviest, the E65 7 Series weighed in at 4,497 lbs, and that particular model had a V12 under the hood.
Alpine White is the only non-metallic option available and won't add anything to your bill. 11 metallic options are available, ranging from understated to "look at me; I need some attention." The more dignified no-cost metallic options include Black Sapphire, Brands Hatch Grey, Donington Grey, and Bluestone. On the wild side, you have Snapper Rocks Blue, Marina Bay Blue, and Motegi Red. The $1,950 options include Tanzanite Blue II, BMW Individual Aventurin Red, and Alvite Grey. Our favorite is the pricy ($3,600) Frozen Bluestone, which works beautifully with contrasting 20-inch black alloy wheels and red or blue brake calipers.
Throughout its life, the M5 has been powered by six, eight, and ten-cylinder engines. Now, near the end of the internal combustion era, BMW has found the perfect combination - a V8 with two turbos bolted onto it. Just like BMW promised it would never build an M SUV, it went ahead and turbocharged an M model. The F10 was the first turbocharged M5, and we'll never forget that relentless surge of power the first time we launched that sucker off the line in 2011. Like everyone else, we wondered, "where the hell do you go from here, Bimmer?".
As it turns out, the answer to that is to upgrade the 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 to give it 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, or 617 hp in the case of the Competition. Crucially, you also add all-wheel drive because 550 hp going to the rear wheels only was already verging on absolutely bonkers. The current M5 has AWD because it needs it and because it enhances the driving experience, but more on that later. All-wheel drive is the golden standard in the segment these days, with competitors like the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, Porsche Panamera, and Audi RS6 all sending their power to all four corners of the car.
Thanks to the added traction provided by an additional set of contact patches, the M5 can get from 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 3.2 seconds. Add the Competition Package, and it will get there in 3.1 seconds. Or that's what BMW claims. The M5 has been independently tested numerous times, and it turns out BMW was underquoting its own car. A smooth launch results in a sub-three-second sprint time, and the M5 will happily do it all day long. Our fears that turbocharging and AWD would ruin this automotive icon were unfounded. Without the M Driver's Package, the top speed of the car is limited to 155 mph. Include this $2,500 package, and BMW will remove the limiter, allowing the vehicle to go all the way to its natural top speed of 190 mph.
Both the standard M5 and Competition use the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. The torque is rated at 553 lb-ft in both cars, though the Comp's torque band is 170 rpm wider. In the standard M5, you get 600 hp at 6,000 rpm, and in the Comp, it's 617 hp, also at 6,000 rpm.
It's a beautifully tech-rich engine, sinfully hidden underneath a chintzy carbon fiber engine cover. Remove it, and you can spend a full day exploring the innards to see how BMW managed to nearly remove turbo lag from the equation. In short, the M5 has cross-bank exhaust manifolds, reducing the distance exhaust gases have to travel to the turbochargers. Along the way, the gases are cooled as well, resulting in a further boost of power. The M5's engine also has an additional engine oil cooler and transmission oil cooler for track driving.
It's mated to an eight-speed ZF transmission, which we were skeptical about at first. Like the seven-speed used in the M5's predecessor, dual-clutch transmissions were invented to reduce shift time. Fact is, ZF's eight-speed provides shift times that are just as fast, if not faster. Some road testers miss the neck-snapping jerking every time you grab a new gear. Call us old-fashioned, but we kind of like not being kicked in the back when we shift from second to third.
Like the engine, suspension, and AWD system, the gearbox also has its own driving modes - efficient, sport, or track. All of them do exactly as they say, with efficient providing effortless, rapid shifts. The sport setting will hang on to gear to provide instant access to the torque band while race dials it all the way to 11. In the gearbox's fiercest setting, you still get a little bit of that kick feedback, most likely engineered into the 'box to make it feel more like an old-school dual-clutch. The new BMW M3/M4 also ditched the dual-clutch setup in favor of the eight-speed automatic, and in both cases, the car is all the better for it.
There's a lot to unpack here, so let's start with the main criticism against the M5. The exhaust note is simply too soft, but that's okay because the 4.4-liter twin-turbo doesn't sound particularly good. A magical exhaust note plays a massive role in a performance car, and it's particularly relevant in an M5, so we're a little disappointed with this compared to previous iterations.
As part of the M5's 2021 facelift, BMW fitted new shocks and recalibrated the damping. Not to make the M5 more hardcore, but rather to soften it up a bit. In this mode, it feels more like a normal 5 Series - comfortable, effortless, and luxurious on all surfaces. But since this is an M5, we're more interested in the dynamic stuff. The M5 has an annoying number of modes, but luckily you get two M switches on the steering wheel that immediately set the car up in one of two pre-programmable modes, allowing you to choose a mid-point and a hardcore setup that suits you.
The various modes include Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ for the suspension and three modes for the M xDrive AWD (4WD, 4WD Sport, and 2WD). The latter is more commonly known as drift mode. In all the years that the M5 has been around, this is the first time you have to press a button to make it RWD. After that, you select how much stability control you want, which means if you tinker enough, you can find the perfect setup for your driving style. We prefer the engine and gearbox in Sport, suspension in Comfort, the AWD system in 4WD Sport, and the dynamic stability control either on or partially off depending on road conditions.
It's genuinely remarkable that BMW managed to make a 4WD system that feels like rear-wheel drive. You'd expect it to understeer, but it doesn't, and it's remarkably willing to get its tail out in 4WD Sport without things getting too lairy. 2WD mode is a bit of a gimmick as with that much power available, you either have to be a real pro or it'll eat you for lunch. There's no practical real-world application for it other than bragging rights.
Once classified as a trim, M5 buyers can now specify the Competition Package. It does more\ than just up the power to 617 hp as it comes with a model-specific Track mode, firmer engine mounts, a stiffer suspension setup, 20-inch alloy wheels, and an M Sport exhaust. The latter unleashes a bit more of the V8 fury, but it's still a bit muted for our liking. These changes make the M5 less forgiving on-road and a little more suited to track use, particularly in the everything-off Track mode, which even blanks out the infotainment display and turns the audio system off. The digital instrument cluster and head-up display both go into M View, only providing track-related information.
The M5 isn't going to win any eco-conscious awards in the USA, but it's at least on par within its segment. According to the EPA, the M5 and M5 Competition will consume 15/21/17 mpg city/highway/combined. The 2022 Audi RS6 Avant and RS7 come with similar EPA-estimated gas mileage figures of 15/22/17 mpg, while the 2021 Mercedes-AMG E63 S is only marginally better at 16/23/18 mpg.
The BMW comes standard with a 20.1-gallon tank, resulting in an estimated driving range of 341 miles.
It's hard to believe we live in an era where a 5 Series has a base price of more than $100,000 in the US, but this bitter pill goes down a lot easier once you hop inside. As mentioned earlier, the current M5 is now the size of an old 7 Series, which means it has loads of space. The quality also justifies the high asking price, not to mention the long list of standard features.
The interior is basic 5 Series, but with the obligatory go-faster bits included. This includes a set of beautiful, power-adjustable front bucket seats with just the right amount of side bolstering and cushioning. BMW interiors also have a habit of feeling familiar. Everything is exactly where it should be, and you can easily adjust the temperature on the four-zone climate control without taking your eyes off the road. The Competition takes the M theme a step further with seat belts featuring the M colors.
Space and light are two of the most essential elements of luxury, and the BMW M5 offers both in spades. The windows and doors are large, making visibility, ingress, and egress easy. As alluded to earlier, the 5 Series has grown over the years and is now the perfect size. Front passengers get 41.4 inches of legroom and 40.7 inches of headroom. The rear legroom is ample at 36.5 inches, and the headroom is more than enough at 38.5 inches.
The rear center seat is wide enough to accommodate Slenderman, but the driveshaft tunnel means there's virtually no legroom. You could put someone there for a short trip, but the M5 works much better as a four-seater.
BMW is very good at making subtle changes to its M models. Apart from the model-specific shifter and M buttons, you get the famous M colors stitched into the steering wheel and subtle M badges in the front seatbacks. The seats are clad in Merino leather as standard. The good news is there's no reason to go above the no-cost selection, as the three available color combinations already cater to a broad audience. You can go full Black or choose Aragon Brown as the dominant seat color with black inserts. If you don't have small kids, the Silverstone and Black combination looks sensational.
To unlock the upgraded full Merino leather interior, you have to add the $3,350 Executive Package, which adds front and rear heated seats, front-seat ventilation, and a massage function for the occupants up front, in addition to other extras like soft-close doors. Other than the cost of the Executive Package, the full Merino leather cabin requires another $3,500 for the fancier Silverstone, Aragon Brown, Black/Midrand Beige (M5 Competition only), and full Black interiors.
For the price of the Executive Package plus another $5,000, you can upgrade to BMW Individual upholstery, available in Smoke White/Black and Tartufo. The latter options can add as much as ten weeks to the waiting period, however.
Complementing the plush leather upholstery is a variety of trim inlay choices. Those that don't cost extra are Fineline Ridge wood, Aluminum Dark Carbon Structure, and Aluminum Carbon Structure. An Individual Piano Black finish for the BMW M5 will cost $1,080. For the same price, the most divisive option is Plum Brown wood. A SensaTec-covered dashboard is standard and, overall, this is an exceptionally high-quality interior.
The unofficial job description of all BMW M5 generations has essentially been "practical supercar slayer" and this hasn't changed. That's why it has a large, practical 14 cubic feet of cargo capacity. That's enough space to take an entire family of four on an extended week-long sideways vacation. The rear seats fold down in a 40/20/40 split, increasing the cargo capacity on those odd occasions you need to carry something big.
Interior storage space consists of dual cupholders in the front and rear and large door pockets. In the front, it has a neat storage space underneath the center console, conveniently housing the wireless charging mat. The storage space underneath the center armrest is also ample for loose items like wallets and keys.
The new BMW M5 is packed with features, including a few the Germans typically leave on the options menu. You get remote start, keyless entry with push-button start, ambient lighting, power-adjustable heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, four-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview and side mirrors, a power trunk lid, a digital instrument cluster, and an M-specific head-up display. The Connected Package Pro is standard on M5 models. It includes Active Protection and Active Driving Assistant. Combined, these two features consist of auto front seatbelt tensioners, auto-closing windows and moonroof, fatigue alert, post-crash braking, lane departure warning, front collision warning with pedestrian detection, city collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, auto high beams, and speed limit information in the head-up display.
The larger 12.3-inch touchscreen display comes standard with BMW's Live Cockpit Professional, which includes another 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. This includes connected navigation and iDrive 7.0. BMW iDrive is one of the better infotainment systems out there, allowing you to navigate smoothly via a series of logical main menus and sub-menus. You can also navigate it via the touchscreen or buttons on the steering wheel. BMW's gesture control is a bit of a gimmick, but we do get a kick out of avoiding a phone call via an overly dramatic and aggressive hand swipe. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as are Bluetooth connectivity, HD Radio, and SiriusXM. A 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is included as standard, but you can upgrade to a 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins Diamond surround-sound system for an additional $3,400. Be aware that ticking this box will also require you to part with $3,350 for the Executive Package.
So far, the 2022 BMW M5 sedan has yet to be recalled. However, the 2021 model was recalled once for obscured images from the rearview camera. The 2020 M5 suffered two recalls relating to the rearview camera and another one for a transmission wiring harness that could short circuit, leading to a loss of propulsion. Despite these issues, the latest M5 certainly doesn't seem to be saddled with the serious reliability concerns of the V10-engined E60 model.
Both the BMW M5 and regular 5 Series come standard with a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, including drivetrain coverage and roadside assistance. As a bonus, BMW includes a three-year/36,000-mile maintenance plan.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS has conducted a safety review of the BMW M5, but in this case, it's acceptable to take a glance at the standard 5 Series' safety ratings. The NHTSA doesn't have any reviews of the 5 Series, but the IIHS gave the 2021 model top scores of 'Good' in all crashworthiness categories. Elsewhere, the LATCH system's ease of use only received an 'Acceptable' rating but both the headlights and the crash avoidance systems performed very well.
The M5 comes standard with lots of safety features. You get the usual rearview camera, traction and stability control, ABS brakes, pre-tensioning seatbelts, and six airbags, including curtain airbags for both rows. The M5 also ships standard with the Icon adaptive full LED headlights.
On the driver assistance side, it boasts fatigue warning, post-crash braking, fuel cut-off, crash preparation, lane departure warning, active blind-spot assist, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, front collision warning with pedestrian detection, city collision mitigation, dynamic cruise control, park distance control front and rear, and speed limit information. An M-specific head-up display also makes it easier to keep your eyes on the road. Mercedes-Benz charges an additional $1,700 to include most of the driver assistance features mentioned above, but it comes with crosswind assist, a surround-view monitor, and automatic parking as standard which the M5 doesn't have.
You can further elevate the safety levels by adding the $1,700 Driving Assistance Professional Package, consisting of the Active Driving Assistant Pro (essentially semi-autonomous hands-on driving with adaptive cruise control) that includes traffic jam assist, extended traffic jam assist for highway use, steering and lane control assistance, an evasion aid, and an emergency stop assistant.
If you intend to push the M5 to its limits on the track, you might want to consider the M carbon ceramic brakes but they go for a pricey $8,500.
The M5 will always be a highly-respected member of the automotive industry. It kick-started an entire genre of cars and BMW's respected M division. You see, it exists because a few enthusiastic engineers bolted the engine from the M1 supercar into the humble body of the E28 5 Series. What resulted was the fastest sedan in the world at the time. Obviously, Mercedes couldn't let BMW get away with that. Without the M5, the performance sedan as we know it wouldn't exist. So even if you're a Merc or Audi fan, you have to respect the M5.
Whether an M5 is good or not depends on one crucial question: Is it a supercar slayer in a comfortable, luxurious sedan body? The answer is yes. It has enough straight-line power to give an Audi R8 a headache, yet it can carry four people in sheer comfort. On a track, it's bizarrely nimble and vast amounts of fun as a result. Adding all-wheel drive has done nothing but improve the original spirit of the M5. We'll summarize by stating that the M5 could very well be the answer to that one question automotive geeks always argue about. If you had to choose one car to live with for the rest of your life, what would it be? We'd be delighted to spend the rest of our existence on this floating space rock in a BMW M5.
The regular M5 has an MSRP of $103,500. The price of the BMW M5 does not include the $995 destination and the $1,000 gas guzzler tax. Adding the Competition Package takes the MSRP up to $111,100 without other options added.
There are two M5 models to choose from: the regular M5 and the more frantic M5 Competition.
The basic luxury, comfort and safety specification applies to both models. This includes a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a Harman Kardon sound system, power-adjustable and heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, four-zone climate control, remote start, keyless entry, a power trunk lid, wireless charging, and connected navigation.
It might be as fast as a Ferrari but the M5 is also as safe as any other executive sedan, which is why it it comes with auto high beams, fatigue alert, post-crash braking, lane departure warning, front collision warning with pedestrian detection, city collision mitigation, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic detection.
Both cars use the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 sending the power to an intelligent AWD system via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The torque output for both cars is rated at 553 lb-ft but while the regular M5 has 600 hp, the Competition gets 617 hp. In addition to the minor power boost, the Competition also gains a more vocal M Sport exhaust system, a model-specific track mode, firmer engine mounts, 20-inch alloys, Individual Shadowline lights, and unique trim for the exhaust tips and side mirrors.
There are a few packages worth mentioning, not the least of which is the $3,400 Bowers & Wilkins surround system upgrade. However, this can only be added in conjunction with the Executive Package. The Driving Assistance Professional Package retails for $1,700 and adds adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist, and a few semi-autonomous features like steer assist and lane-keep assist. The $3,350 Executive Package adds a parking assistant, a surround-view camera with 3D view, a drive recorder, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a massage function for the front seats, soft-close doors, and a power rear window sunshade, and manual rear side window shades.
There's also the M Driver's package for $2,500, which ups the top speed to 190 mph and includes a one-day high-performance driving class. A moonroof is a no-cost option, as are red and black brake calipers. Track enthusiasts should definitely go for the fade-free M Carbon Ceramic brakes ($8,500).
It depends on how much track driving you do. If your M5 isn't going to see much track time, or none at all, go for the regular M5 and add the Executive Package for all the additional comfort features. You still get the ridiculous performance, but the regular M5 is more suited to daily driving.
If you're a track regular, the Competition is a must. The firmer ride will be a small sacrifice. If you will use it on the track, it's worth investing in the carbon ceramic brakes. The standard brakes can take a beating, but the carbon ceramics will remain fade-free. Regardless of which model you choose, all M5 configurations make a strong case for themselves.
The world is split into two groups - those who dig wagons and those who think they look like hearses. Since most automotive enthusiasts seem to fall into the first category, the Audi RS6 is a proper rival to the M5. First, Audi must be feeling quite smug. It has been right about quattro all these years, waiting for its German rivals to catch up. Its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with mild-hybrid assistance delivers 591 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque. By comparison, the Audi is down on power but has an additional 37 lb-ft of torque. The Bimmer is faster to 60 mph (3.2 seconds vs 3.5), but both top out at 190 mph. In the BMW, you have to attend class for a day, while the Audi requires the $9,000 ceramic brakes to unlock its true top speed.
Being a wagon, the Audi is more practical. Its 30-cube trunk easily beats the BMW's 14 cubes. Although Audi has spent more time developing AWD, the BMW's system feels more sorted. You can switch the BMW between 4WD and RWD, but the drift mode isn't suited for road use as we mentioned earlier. The RS6 brings something fresh to the table with its stunning exterior. To our eyes, it looks a lot better than the Bimmer. Then again, looks aren't enough of a reason to win a battle. We recommend a test drive in both before you buy and that's not a cop-out - it's just how good these cars are at the moment.
It's fascinating that two completely different manufacturers came up with the exact same recipe for the blistering executive express. Both have twin-turbocharged V8s and AWD that allow you to disengage the front axle. On paper, the E63 has the M5 beat. Its hand-assembled twin-turbocharged V8 produces 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of torque. That's just three horsepower more than the BMW, but you will notice the additional 74 lb-ft of torque. Still, the claimed performance figures are incredibly close. The BMW sprints to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds, while the Mercedes takes 3.3 seconds. At the top end, the BMW is faster (with the M Driver's package included), but only because the Merc is limited to 186 mph.
Dynamically speaking, this battle has historically been one-sided, with BMW often coming out on top. The current cars are too close and modern AMGs can go around corners as effectively as they accelerate in a straight line, however. Both are talented enough for us not to base a verdict relying on ride and handling. So, we have to turn to less exciting aspects to separate the two. The BMW has a bigger trunk (14 cubes trumps 13.1 cubes) and a complimentary maintenance plan. We refuse to make this call based on practicality and logic. In fact, we won't even make a call because you already have. Allow us to explain. If you're in the 30 to 50 age bracket, the E39 M5 and 2003 E55 came along during those highly formative years where you wish you could afford one, but you could only read about them in magazines. Back then, you chose one, and you will defend it to the death. And that's most likely the one you'll end up buying once you've made enough money.
The most popular competitors of 2022 BMW M5 Sedan: