2002 Best Sport Sedan/Wagon

02 02x AllstarBMWM5

BMW builds the world's best sport sedans, so it's no wonder that the company's ultimate sport sedan, the M5, once again breezed to victory, despite competitors that are more formidable than ever.

The M5 takes the BMW sport sedan traits and magnifies them. BMWs are known for their smooth, free-revving engines that devilishly whisper into the driver's ear: "Take it all the way to the redline." This one's a mechanical jewel, a 4.9-liter V-8 that spins out 394 horsepower at 6600 rpm, 104 horsepower more than the 540i's engine, on which it's based.

Strong straight-line performance is characteristic of all BMW sport sedans, but the M5 storms down the road. Sixty mph comes up in less than five seconds, and the governed top speed of 155 mph is some 30 mph shy of its true capability.

Likewise, chassis development and suspension tuning have long been a strength of the breed, but here again is a new level of excellence. Starting from the lofty plain of the 540i, the M5 is lowered and fitted with firmer springs and dampers. Aluminum hardware and low-friction mounting points complete the slick setup, but what's amazing is the way this suspension manages both sports car cornering and a cosseting ride.

Outside, BMW's sporty and purposeful styling ethos is turned up a notch, with meaty shadowline wheels and more aggressive lower bodywork that is seemlessly integrated. Inside, the familiar, well-crafted cabin adds a new dimension of luxury without compromising function.

A BMW sport sedan, only more so, the M5 is the best of a breed of throughbreds.

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