Second Look: The 2018 BMW M5 scales new heights in performance

Oct 26, 2017

The BMW M5 has long been synonymous with certain high standards of automotive performance. The arrival of the redesigned 2018 model makes it clear this model has the goods to remain one of its segment’s most compelling choices.

The 2018 M5 has sharp looks in its favor, but its constituents prize performance above all else. With a more powerful engine, lighter curb weight, and a new transmission, the M5 is built to create memorable moments when you’re behind the wheel.

Second Look: The 2018 BMW M5 scales new heights in performance

The 2018 BMW M5 raises the sedan’s game when it comes to performance.


Returning for its sixth generation, the M5 lineup will include a limited number of First Edition models. Fifty of these cars will be produced for the U.S. market, and they’ll feature Frozen Dark Red Metallic paint jobs and interior badging that highlights each sedan’s production number.

BMW’s all-new M5 is expected to hit dealerships in the spring of 2018.

Second Look: The 2018 BMW M5 scales new heights in performance

No need to shout. The M5’s sheet metal telegraphs the car’s performance abilities while keeping things tasteful and refined.


True confidence doesn’t need to assert itself at full volume from the rooftops, and it is this thinking that guides the look of the new M5. The car’s sheet metal eschews flashy theatrics for a subtler design motif that reflects poised assurance.

BMW’s signature kidney-shaped grille is bordered by wide headlights in front, and the sedan’s hood is made of lightweight aluminum etched with handsome character lines that fan out toward the windshield.

The current M5 has a wider track than its predecessor, and for the first time in the model’s history, the sedan’s sloping roof has been crafted from robust-yet-featherweight carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP).

In back, the 2018 asserts its performance chops with a redesigned rear diffuser, an M rear apron, and an M rear spoiler. Nineteen-inch gray alloy wheels are standard, and 20-inch black wheels are optional.

The overall look is one of mature elegance.

Second Look: The 2018 BMW M5 scales new heights in performance

Ergonomics are king within the M5’s cabin. The car’s controls and switchgear are easy to see and easy to reach.


Even the most engaging performance can eventually grow wearisome if a car’s interior ergonomically falls flat. The M5’s cabin provides the driver with comfortable accommodations and easy access to controls. All gauges and switchgear are within the driver’s line of sight, and a head-up display allows you to keep an eye on things without ever lifting your gaze from the road.

Heated leather seats are standard, and power adjustment and a pneumatic backrest are on hand to help you achieve an amenable seating position. With their meaty side bolsters, the M5’s seats are designed to keep you snug during tight turns.

The M5’s touchscreen display features gesture control, and this feature allows you to govern certain functions with simple hand movements. For example, spinning your fingers in a circle allows you to raise or lower the volume on the car’s stereo.

BMW’s M5 seats up to four passengers.

Second Look: The 2018 BMW M5 scales new heights in performance

The 2018 model is the first M5 to come with all-wheel drive, and this feature helps the sedan remain stable and secure in challenging situations.


The current M5 is the first in the model’s history to offer all-wheel drive. The sedan’s all-wheel drive directs power to the front wheels only when the system detects that the rear wheels aren’t sending torque to the road. Additionally, this setup is unique in that it’s the first BMW M xDrive system that allows the driver to toggle between all-wheel drive and two-wheel drive.

The M5 is the first of its kind to be offered without a manual-transmission option. The previous model’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission has been replaced by an all-new eight-speed automatic. The transmission delivers fully automatic shifting, but you can also shift the gears yourself via paddle shifters on the steering wheel or a gear selector located on the center console.

Under the hood, a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine kicks out a hearty 600 horsepower and 553 lb.-ft. of torque. This bests the previous model’s output by 40 horsepower and 53 lb.-ft. of torque. Remarkably, peak torque sets in at just 1,800 rpm, and it remains constant up until 5,700 rpm.

All that power reaps big rewards in acceleration. The 2018 M5 sprints from 0-60 mph in a scant 3.2 seconds, giving it bragging rights as the quickest M5 ever.

Second Look: The 2018 BMW M5 scales new heights in performance

The BMW M5 isn’t without strong competition. But it’s a top choice, built to satisfy shoppers standing at the crossroad of luxury and performance.


The M5 allows you to customize performance in a plethora of ways. The engine offers a basic Efficient setting, along with Sport and Sport Plus settings for heightened throttle response. The car’s steering and suspension start with an easygoing Comfort setting, stepping things up with caffeinated Sport and Sport Plus settings for those seeking the keenest feedback.

Inner-vented brake discs with 6-piston fixed calipers apply braking force to the M5’s front wheels, while discs with single-piston floating calipers help the rear wheels grind to a halt. Carbon-ceramic brakes are optional, and BMW says they offer improved braking performance, better fade resistance, and heightened thermal stability.

There’s currently a rich array of choices on tap in you’re in the market for a vehicle that melds luxury and high performance. Exceptional sports sedans like the Porsche Panamera have done a good job of reminding buyers that the M5 isn’t the only game in town.

We haven’t yet gotten behind the wheel of the new M5, but its upgrades are clearly designed to raise this model’s stock in what has become a hotly contested segment.

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