The arrival of the new BMW M5 and BMW M5 Competition sees the high-performance sedans from BMW returning to the stage in even sharper form.

Stylistic fine-tuning for sharper looks.

As on the BMW 5 Series range, the updated BMW kidney grille drops down further into the front apron and its chrome surround has a one-piece design framing both elements of the grille. M-specific double bars and an M badge are present and correct. The front apron has bolder contouring and larger air intakes at the sides, while the expansive central air intake is hexagonal in shape and incorporates the oil cooler and the radar sensor for the Active Cruise Control (ACC) system. The new L-shaped light tubes searing in narrow streaks towards the kidney grille add a dynamic flourish to the newly designed LED headlights. The new option of BMW Individual lights Shadowline adds a dark-tinted accent to the Adaptive LED Headlights and BMW Laserlight. The aluminium bonnet, the front side panels with the signature M gills, the streamlined M exterior mirrors and the roof made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP) join the BMW kidney grille’s double bars as hallmark design features of the performance models in the BMW 5 Series range. The thinner walls of the M-specific twin tailpipes create a greater sense of high-tech precision. The muscular rear apron with large diffuser has also been restyled, as have the three-dimensional LED rear lights, whose precise light graphic provides a fresh take on the familiar BMW L shape.

TRACK mode for an undiluted M feeling in the BMW M5 Competition.

In the BMW M5 Competition, keeping the M Mode button pressed then confirming the prompt in the central display engages the additional TRACK mode. This mode is designed exclusively for use on race circuits and deactivates all the comfort and safety functions of the driver assistance systems. To focus the driver’s attention even more intently on the road ahead, the audio system is also muted and the central display switched off. The result is an ultra-pure distillation of M feeling. The instrument cluster switches to M View, while the Head-Up Display dispenses with readouts from the driver assistance systems. Automatic activation of the hazard warning lights in response to emergency braking is suppressed and the collision warning system is also deactivated. Pressing the M Mode button again exits TRACK mode and returns to the ROAD setting.

Imposing power from high-revving V8 engine.

The V8 unit under the bonnet of the BMW M5 and BMW M5 Competition goes about its business in racing-car-derived, high-revving style – i.e. with imposing muscularity and supreme power delivery. The BMW M5 generates its maximum output of 441 kW/600 hp at 6,000 rpm, while the BMW M5 Competition’s 460 kW/625 hp also comes on line at 6,000 rpm. The duo’s peak torque of 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) arrives as low down as 1,800 rpm and is sustained at this elevated level all the way to 5,600 rpm in the BMW M5 and an even higher 5,860 rpm in the BMW M5 Competition. The engine characteristics can be changed at the touch of a button from the basic EFFICIENT mode to SPORT and SPORT+, resulting in even more willing response to movements of the accelerator. The BMW M5 sprints from 0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.4 seconds, putting it firmly into super-sports car territory. And it only requires 11.1 seconds to power to 200 km/h (124 mph) from rest. The BMW M5 Competition completes both tasks a fraction more quickly: 100 km/h (62 mph) is up in 3.3 seconds, 200 km/h (124 mph) in 10.8 seconds. The top speed of the BMW M5 and BMW M5 Competition is 250 km/h (155 mph) – or 305 km/h (189 mph) with the optional M Driver’s Package specified. The flap-controlled dual-branch exhaust system of the BMW M5 and the M Sport exhaust system on the BMW M5 Competition – likewise with a dual-branch and flap-controlled design – produce the soundtrack to match. A more understated engine note can also be summoned with the M Sound Control button. The eight-speed M Steptronic transmission fitted as standard enables extraordinarily short shift times and fast, precise responses to every nudge of the accelerator. The Drivelogic rocker switch on the gear selector allows three modes to be chosen for efficient, sporty or dynamically intense track driving – the latter involving extremely rapid gearshifts. The driver can use both the selector lever and the shift paddles on the steering wheel to intervene manually.