THE 2019 BMW M5 COMPETITION: LIVING WITH A NEW LEGEND
For years, the discussion amongst most "bros" is which supercars to own in their Dream Garages. And it has ranged from luxury exotics to vintage daily drivers that would be re-tuned to their polished glory— both affording envy of all kinds. One of the cars that always comes up is BMW’s monster M-powered sports sedan, the M5. A five series model that makes no apologies for its size, weight, stance, and performance. Onlookers and owners alike know that the M5 means bizness- a vehicle that accommodates a hectic daily lifestyle as well as a powerful track car for weekend warriors looking to challenge its 4,276-pound pose.
Now with BMW introducing a refreshing version to the already legendary sedan, the M5 Competition Edition (with only 200 units produced) affords new features and increased power, perhaps making it to the Top 5 of Dream Cars within the trash talk towers among bros of all kinds.
So, what’s the difference between the current monster and its hulking alternate? Beyond the $8,000 difference in pricing, the Competition model produces 617 horsepower at 6,000 rpm versus the standard M5’s 592hp. Torque remains the same at 553 pound feet between 1,800 and 5,860 rpm. It’s faster, firmer, slicker, and of course, more expensive. Isn’t a faster machine a better machine?
A BEWILDERED AND ANIMALISTIC ENGINE
What powers this beast is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 engine - codename S63B44T4- mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission and an adaptive drive system, that can interchange between rear- and all-wheel drive at the flick of a switch. The M5 Competition has more power than the Mercedes-AMG E63 S but less torque. The additional power creates a faster 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of just 3.3 seconds and the 200 km/h mark can be reached from a launch start in just over 10 seconds – 0.3 seconds faster than the standard M5 model.
The mods to the suspension are mild but certainly offer maximizing results. The front axle is equipped with a redesigned mounting for the anti-roll bar, making the springs at the front and rear axles 10 percent stiffer than the standard M5, producing a firmer ride with a solid impact on the steering response.
YOU'LL BE LYCAN THIS WOLF IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING
With a premium price tag and modest increases in power and suspension, you’ll notice some subtle cosmetic tweaks on the outside including a small Competition label that's attached to the M5 badge on the trunk lid— a quiet nod to more power and modifications. Other visual treats include higher-volume air intakes, dramatic high-gloss black finishes on the kidney grille and door handles, plus mirror caps, fender gills, a rear Gurney lip, apron diffuser, 275/35 20-inch tires with lightweight forged alloy wheels, and four black-tipped exhaust outlets— all the markings of a tamed beast.
SUN, SPEED, AND LEATHER IS ALL YOU NEED
The inside is as gorgeous as the outside, maybe even more beautiful because it says everything. Black seat belts with a striped pattern in BMW M GmbH colors and floor mats with model-specific piping. This car company is very proud of its motorsport lineage and it shows. The M5 logos in the front seatbacks illuminate like the reaper tattoo on a back of a SAMCRO member. The front seats are incredibly comfortable and feature 20-way adjustability. Rear seating is also spacious to comfortably fit two adults. Need cargo room for the weekend getaway? The M5 Competition has a larger trunk than that of Toyota’s top-selling Camry.
There’s also extensive digital touches to the dash and HVAC controls, and HD resolution to the back-up camera. While Android Auto is not available, for OS and iPhone enthusiasts, Apple CarPlay is included. But at least there a Sport Mode for the HUD.
SET IT UP TO SHOW AND SHINE
The athletic character of the new M5 Competition really comes alive when you make the choice of selecting a drive mode that suits your personal style. The steering, suspension, and the engine each have three settings, from Comfort (where a direct connection of the chassis to the driveline can be clearly felt), Sport (which activates the damper settings perfected for harsher tarmac and curbing of a track) to Sport Plus (which lends itself to the smoother pavement and curbing of Grand Prix circuits) — all controllable by onboard menus in the center console. And if you want to get really technical, you can make adjustments that offer at least nine possible configurations to input into either one of the two steering-wheel-mounted “M” performance buttons, making your M5 Competition, truly your own M.
And did I mention the switchable sports exhaust? In its louder setting, it adds more bass and crackle to the regular M5's already muscular if not synthesized soundtrack, just in case you wanted to share your ego in the sound of musclecar speak.
Nowadays, what would a BMW be without the xDrive system, huh? While the M xDrive system offers tremendous agility and power to the ride, the system also makes it possible to program in an individual power distribution configuration. The driver is able to influence both the way the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) works and how drive torque is distributed between the front and rear axles – all at the press of a button the option of pure rear-wheel drive (2WD), which allows experienced and skilled drivers to revel in the fantasy of RWD M5s of the past— pure handling, and no control system intervention. And the way most Auto journos like it.
IS THE M5 COMPETITION A TRACK HEATHEN?
As a participant of BMW Canada’s first-ever M Festival at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, ON, I had a chance to experience the M5 Competition on a racetrack. While only as a shotgun passenger, it was still well worth it on a 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit just outside of Toronto, Canada. The Frozen Red track star of the moment was driven by race champ Gianmarco Rainmondo who's been at the wheel since he was 9-yrs-old. We even conducted an in-car interview when he wasn't busy scaring the bejesus out of my crew and I at the many, hairy turns.
The M5 Competition was fast on the track, in contrast to the M2 Competition which I drove at the same event. Most BMW M enthusiasts would agree that while lots of people take their M2s, M3s, and M4s onto a track, very few M5 owners will do the same due to size and brake prices. But people can change, right?
The M5 is considerably quicker but didn't deliver the fluid, unadorned thrills of the smaller, roughly 800 pounds lighter 2-series, proving noticeably less willing to change the vector of its considerable momentum in tighter turns. I loved being at the helm of the M2 Competition on the track and giggled like an uncomfortable man-child as Rainmondo flipped my stomach throughout the 10 turns in the M5. But it wasn’t all about the driver. The M5 Competition is a monster on the circuit— big and heavy. But once it hits its stride, with huge grip and vast reserves of traction plus torque, it consumes the pavement like a feast only a Big Bad can swallow. And you have no choice but to be deeply involved or watch while gripping onto a handrail, or two. It’s a drastically fast luxury sports sedan that propelled my colleagues and I in the fancy Silverstone Merino Leather electric seats and soft-close doors at speeds too fast to reproduce on municipal streets. While the M5 Competition is not as fun and simple as the M2 Competition on a track, perhaps that’s the appeal. It’s a challenge waiting to be taken on.
THE PRICE OF LIVING WITH AN UNDERCOVER SUPERCAR
For anyone who has purchased a BMW before, you know the brand is all about expensive options that should probably be standard. Sorry folks, the M5 Competition is no exception and maybe for good measure.
Despite a starting price of $121,000, the version I drove was loaded with another $19,000 worth of options. The most expensive was carbon-ceramic brakes, which commanded a hefty price of $9,500. If you add the $6,500 Executive package that includes many features splurging shoppers might want to have such as: sunshades, wireless smartphone charging, a surround-view monitor, and ventilated seats with massage functions, to name a few.
And if you’re just as enthusiastic as I am about Driving Assist features, you'll be looking at an additional $1,500 for the Driving Assistance Plus package, BMW's most advanced semi-autonomous drive system but not completely in line with the advancements of Tesla and Cadillac.
Comparably, the M5 Competition has more horsepower than the Porsche Panamera Turbo yet falls a little short on torque– and the Porsche sedan costs $53,000-plus more. The Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4Matic+ and the 605-hp Audi RS7 Performance are decent matches to the M5 Competition with similar horsepower, torque, and pricing but Bimmer's 5series car has a better boatload of easy and customizable options making it a supercar of its own pedigree and an ongoing topic of bromance conversations, everywhere.
Living with the M5 Competition is little different than imaginable as you become more and more aware of its capabilities and luxurious components. If congestion is bad in your city, it almost feels like a waste of $143,000. You’ll just get traffic cops paying you compliments on the trim while you're sitting in high-volume, post-rush hour with your ego playing away on your smartphone. But if you’d rather not think about it, don’t. And even if your current profession and lifestyle demand that you say “sayonara” to a lowered coupe, you could still have a rewarding drive in a blazing beast just looking for open road. Think about the fact that you’re driving around in Comfort Mode in a mild-mannered supercar that responds appropriately when you stomp on the gas pedal to get going. That's what the M5 Competition wants you to do, over and over again, like how a legend performs.