I've seen press photos of the M time and time again, but I was absolutely floored when I approached this M37S in the parking garage the other night. Admittedly, I thought there was a technological glitch; my key fob kept flashing the lights on what I swore (from a distance) was a Jaguar XF. An odd mistake, perhaps, but the two are similar -- swoopy, midsize luxury sedans that help redefine each brand.
Admittedly, I'll give the nod to the M37S. Both interior and exterior design teams have hit the ball out of the park; the cabin fits and feels as good as it looks. I was just as enthralled with how the car drove-sure, the VQ is aging without grace, but it's more than happy to dish out considerable power, and the seven-speed automatic is impeccably smooth. Concerned about fuel economy? The econ mode does a great job with not only providing the accelerator pedal with weighted resistance, but it also dramatically changes the transmission's behavior -- I rarely saw the tachometer sweep above 3300 rpm while accelerating up to 45 mph.
I will side with Joe -- the adaptive steering rack can feel vague and non-linear. Apart from that, I have no complaints. If you're in the market for either a 5-series or an XF, take a good hard look at the M; chances are you'll be as impressed as I was.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer