BMW has officially announced the much-anticipated M version of its current 5-series. Boasting 500 horsepower from a 5.0-liter V-10 engine with an 8250-rpm redline, this new M5 is fully 25 percent more powerful than the previous M5 and has the best power-to-weight ratio of any sport sedan. Acceleration from naught to 60 will take well under five seconds, and likely closer to four.
BMW M makes a bevy of choices available to the M5's driver. To get all 500 horsepower, you must press the "Power" button on the shifter; otherwise, the engine produces a mere 400 horsepower. The seven-speed SMG transmission offers eleven modes for shifts ranging from smooth to racing car harsh. The Electronic Damper Control (EDC) suspension can be set to sport, normal, or comfort. The DSC stability control can be set to intervene normally or allow a much higher threshold of slip. Even the steering effort can be altered. The driver controls all of this with a scary-sounding MDrive interface. Please, BMW, don't let it be anything like iDrive.
The exterior is festooned with predictable M badges and bigger bumpers, fenders, and skirts all around. At least the massive lower rear fascia better harmonizes with the enormous trunk that looks out of place on the regular 5-series. It still ain't pretty, but the modifications go a long way to undo the emasculating effects of the ridiculous headlights and the Pontiac Grand Am-inspired taillights.
The 2006 M5 will go on sale here sometime in the latter half of 2005, and while BMW hasn't announced pricing, we'd be surprised if the cars as equipped cost much less than $90,000.