dates : 15th August 2004
19th August 2004
Production of the BMW M5 gets
underway this month at the company’s Motorsport division in
And many enthusiasts believe this fourth-generation M5 will be
the most spectacular car yet to carry the famous "M"
badge. The public had its first glimpse of the new M5 at this year’s
Geneva Motor Show, where it was announced as a
But it was clear to anyone seeing the new machine that this
was as close to a production road going version as you are
likely to get. Testing in snow-bound Europe ensured a certain degree of
privacy for the new M5 before the public was shown the
"teaser" model in Geneva.
But anyone who heard the exhaust note of the new performance
sedan would conclude that something "very different
indeed " was happening here.
A look beneath the aluminium bonnet will confirm the suspicion
that the V8 engine used to such good effect in the past two
generations of M5 has been consigned to history.
Instead, at the heart of the matter is a V10 engine, developed
directly from the V10 BMW that powers the Williams Formula One
car. The M5 will be the first four-seater sedan to use a petrol
And like all performance BMW engines of the past few decades,
this engine has been built along classic motorsport lines,
ignoring the current trends towards superchargers and
The naturally-aspirated V-10 has a 90-degree V-layout and uses
four valves per cylinder, and some very special parts, such as
crankshaft, conrods, pistons and cylinder linings, to allow it
to rev very high.
Displacing five-litres, the motor is said to spin to eight
thousand two hundred and fifty rpm which by five-litre
standards makes it a real "screamer".
Power output is said to be three hundred and seventy five
kilowatts, which is the same power levels that Mercedes have
extracted from their supercharged five comma five litre V8
used in the SL 55.
In its initial testing, BMW claim zero to one hundred in four
comma seven seconds, and zero to one hundred and ninety in
under thirteen seconds.
The M5 comes without the standard German-Government Approved
250 km/h top speed limiter.
As the car is a limited edition along the lines of Porsche, it’s
allowed a sports car designation, and top speed is rumored to
be over three hundred and twenty kilometres per hour!
Power delivery for the M5 will, as usual, be through the rear
wheels, as BMW insists that this is the classic layout that
gives its cars special, driver-orientated feel.
A choice of paddle shift SMG or manual gearboxes will be
available, and both are seven-speed devices.
To ensure that power is applied to the road a very advanced
limited slip differential has been developed for the car.
Obviously all the suspension and braking components on the new
M5 have been beefed up to handle the extra power.
And those beautiful 10-spoke wheels are nineteen inches in
diameter, fitted with 225 by 40 series Michelin tyres at the
front, and massive 285 by 35 tyres at the rear.
The more brutal styling treatment of the M5 gives the basic
5-Series shape a real sense of purpose.
BMW Motorsport has reworked nearly every panel on the car, in
the interests of saving weight, housing the wider rubber,
providing cooling to the mighty V10 engine and creating a
slippery shape, yet with lots of down-force.
Most noticeable change is at the front, with a much deeper
air-dam incorporating a massive radiator air intake and
ducting for brake and oil cooling.
The rear end features the now traditional quad exhaust set-up
for M-division cars, and the entire rear bumper is new. It
also features a rear extractor duct to keep the rear axle
On the side of the car, the traditional M oval vents give
notice that is a very special 5-Series. And the door sills
have been extended to balance the deeper front and rear
Another attractive M-feature is the sharkfin aerial mounted on
the roof, while door handles and wing mirrors are subtly
changed to enhance the M5’s clean, mean look.
Inside the cockpit, there is a much sportier version of the
elegant 5-Series interior.
The familiar, if rather unwieldy I-Drive system is used, but
with an additional M-Drive function. This can also be
activated on the steering wheel.
At the touch of the button, the suspension is stiffened up,
the throttle response is sharpened, a Head-up display is
activated and shift modes on the SMG gearbox – if specified
– are switched to full performance settings.
A number of Dynamic Stability Control menus are also on offer,
ranging from conservative to extreme, allowing the driver to
slide the car around.
The numerous leather trim options are all exclusive to the M5,
and a number of combinations will be on offer after the car is
launched at the Paris Motor Show in October.
The M5 is not expected here in South Africa until the first or
second quarter of 2005.
But when it arrives there will be a long waiting list for the
Car Torque is