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First Look: 2021 BMW M5 Gets Refresh, Same Power, Small Price Hike

The 2021 BMW M5 is good news for those who don’t like change.

Aaron GoldWriterManufacturerPhotographer

Hot on the heels of the freshly-updated BMW 5 Series comes news of the updated 2021 BMW M5. Short version: If you're averse to change, you're going to love the 2021 model. Like the rest of the 2021 BMW 5 Series lineup, the M5 gets a refresh rather than a complete redesign.

The biggest alteration is to the front and rear fascias. The grille gets bigger, though BMW hasn't quite grown it to Lexus proportions (but if the 7 sedan, X7 and 4-Series are any indication, it's only a matter of time). Inside you'll find a bigger (12.3-inch) touchscreen, and a new beige-and-black two-tone fabric combo for the Competition model. Wireless Android Auto is now standard, as is Apple CarPlay and navigation.

Pop the hood and it's 2020 all over again: You'll find the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 staring back at you, delivering the same 600 horsepower in the basic M5 and 617 hp in the Competition model. There's the same eight-speed automatic transmission, and the same rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. Top speed is once again 155 mph, with the optional M Competition Package raising it to 190 mph.

On the chassis side, the Competition model gets new shock absorbers with a recalibrated damper-control system, the goal being to refine the highway ride. A new, optional Track mode shuts down intervention from the driver-assistance system, and it also kills the stereo and the center-stack display screen in order to minimize distractions.

Speaking of Track mode, accessing the M5's various driving modes is now done with a single button rather than separate ones for engine, chassis, suspension, steering, and all-wheel-drive settings.

Aside from a couple of new paint-color choices and high-gloss paint colors for the brake calipers, that's pretty much it. Oh, except for the price, which is of course higher: The M5 goes up $800, to $104,495 (including a $995 destination fee), while the M5 Competition's sticker is hiked $1,100, to $112,095.

We have mixed feelings about the M5, which we invited to our 2019 Automobile All-Stars competition (and yes, it really is an honor to be nominated) but failed to make the winner's list. To quote contributor Ronald Ahrens, we found it to be "authoritative, fast, composed, heavy, and without much soul." Sounds like that won't change much for 2021, but we'll hold out hope that the new Track mode will let the M5 Competition loosen its tie a bit. We'll report back as soon as we can after the 2021 BMW M5's on-sale date arrives shortly, in August 2020.

2021 BMW M5 Specifications
ON SALE: August 2020
PRICE: $104,495 (base)
ENGINE: 4.4L twin-turbo DOHC 32-valve V-8/600 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 553 lb-ft @ 1,800-5,690 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
LAYOUT: 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD sedan
L x W x H: 196.4 x 74.9 x 58.0 in
WHEELBASE: 117.4 in
WEIGHT: 4,345 lb
0-60 MPH: 3.2 sec (est)
TOP SPEED 155 mph (190 mph with M Competition Package)