Like its smaller sibling, the M3, the BMW M5 is a legendary nameplate that has been a benchmark sport sedan for decades. Its luster faded in recent generations as BMW focused more on pure performance numbers than feel behind the wheel, but now things seem to be back on track.
New for 2018, the sixth-generation M5 has more power going to more wheels, more technology, and one less pedal than ever before. More importantly, it’s more fun to drive than it has been in years.
ALSO SEE: 2018 BMW M5 video road (and track) test
Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8, the latest M5 cranks out 600 horsepower and 553 pound feet of torque. Those who want even more can opt for the Competition model that turns up the wick to 617 hp.
For the first time in history, the M5 can send power to all four wheels via its sophisticated new M xDrive all-wheel-drive system. Power can be shifted fore and aft to aid in traction, or the driver can choose to make the M5 a rear-wheel drive drift machine.
Buyers who prefer to shift their own gear will need a moment to weep, as it’s an end of an era. All M5s are now equipped with an 8-speed automatic transmission, and that’s it.
Like previous generations, performance is improved. The 0 to 60 mph sprint takes just 3.2 seconds on its way to an electronically limited 189-mph top speed (unlocked with the M Driver’s Package, a mere 155 mph without it).
Inside, the M5 has a dizzying number of performance settings, steering wheel controls, and even gearshift-mounted buttons to configure the power distribution. The environment is a combination of sportiness and luxury.
The 2018 BMW M5 is faster, better looking, and more technologically advanced than its predecessor. Most importantly, it brings back feel. The numb, digital feel has been replaced with a more analog, engaging experience. It’s easier to tell what’s going on with the front tires than it has been in years. The rear end is more than happy to follow along or do the work itself. An electronically controlled limited-slip differential helps put the power down and launch the car out of corners.
2018 BMW M5
On the street, the standard 15.5-inch front brake rotors with 6-piston calipers are big and powerful, but those who plan to hit the track will want to opt for the $8,500 carbon-ceramic brakes. Bonus: The carbon ceramics also shed 51 pounds of unsprung weight.
The M5 is once again a dual-purpose car. It can be a track weapon or luxury car for a night on the town. On the right days, it can even be both.
Is all of this enough for the M5 to be named the Motor Authority Best Car To Buy 2019? Check back on Nov. 12 when we reveal our winner, along with the champs from our sister sites, The Car Connection, and Green Car Reports.