2021 BMW M5 review: Ahh, that’s better

The BMW M5 is still an edgy-looking sedan.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

The BMW M5 gets the same small changes as the other 5 Series models this year, including new headlights and taillights, and a larger multimedia touchscreen. Probably, however, the most important changes are the ones you can’t see. The M5 Competition has new suspension hardware that makes it significantly more comfortable without sacrificing sharpness.

Like it

  • Strong V8 power
  • Well balanced chassis
  • Excellent interior
  • Lots of standard technology

I do not like

  • Steering numb
  • Touchy ceramic brakes

To give you some context, the previous M5 Competition was so stiff that it made this sports sedan almost unlivable on a day-to-day basis. Even in the suspension’s default Comfort setting, you might feel every little bump and smudge. It was kind of a nightmare.

Compared to a standard M5, the Competition has 10% stiffer front and rear springs, the rear anti-roll bar is stiffer, the front tires have increased negative camber for better cornering grip, and the body is lower than 0, 2 inches to the ground. For the 2021 competition, BMW adds new shock absorbers and the damper control system is recalibrated, all with the aim of softening the ride quality.

Does all this work? Oh my, yes. Rolling on the freeway expansion joints no longer upsets the entire frame and you won’t grind your teeth upon encountering a rogue pothole. Even with the larger 20-inch wheels and the competition’s summer tires (the standard M5 gets 19), the ride quality is much better than before.

None of this is to the detriment of balance. In fact, as the default Comfort setting finally works as advertised, I have no hesitation in calling up Sport or Sport Plus for a little more stiffness in the right circumstances, like hitting a super smooth California canyon road. The M5 Competition stays flat when cornering, and the active all-wheel drive and electronic rear limited slip differential send power quickly where it’s needed most. It’s great.

I still don’t care much about the M5’s steering, which seems to be a common complaint with today’s BMW high-performance cars. Sure, it’s heavy and straightforward, but I think many people mistake the weight for communication, and while the M5’s steering has the former, it lacks the latter. The optional carbon-ceramic brakes are also a little touchy, with hard-to-modulate features that can cause jerks when climbing a driveway or parallel parking. These brakes also add $ 8,500 to the M5’s bottom line. If you’re not planning on stopping your M5 aggressively from high speeds on a regular basis, like on a track day, maybe skip this add-on.

The M5’s powertrain is unchanged for 2021, which is fine; it was solid the whole time. The 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 delivers 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, although competition models see a small increase to 617 horsepower. The eight-speed automatic transmission works flawlessly with this engine, eliminating timely shifts quickly and smoothly while largely fading into the background. You can choose your own adventure with the steering wheel mounted paddles, but the transmission programming is so good on its own that I never really find the DIY controls necessary.

Even the M5 Competition is still fast as hell, capable of accelerating to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds. Top speed is electronically adjusted to 155 mph on both Competition and standard models unless you indulge in the luxury of the optional M Performance Package, which leaves the limiter at 190 mph. Fuel economy is unchanged for 2021, coming in at 15 miles per city gallon, 21mpg on the highway and 17mpg combined with premium gasoline.

Moving inside, the M5 updates to BMW’s latest iDrive 7 infotainment technology, bringing a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch center touchscreen. The iDrive menu structure initially has a steep learning curve, but I like that the main display responds quickly to inputs. wireless Apple CarPlay is Android Auto they’re standard, thank goodness, and it’s relatively easy to switch back and forth between this smartphone mirroring technology and BMW’s main iDrive menus. A wireless phone charger keeps your devices active even on the go.

IDrive 7 technology is housed on a 12.3-inch central display.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Overall, the interior of the M5 is very nice, with soft leather surfaces and refined metal accents. The seats are comfortable and supportive and the rear seat passengers have ample head and leg room. I highly recommend adding the $ 3,350 Executive package, which gives you parking sensors and a parallel parking assistant, 360-degree camera coverage, heated and cooled front seats with massage, heated rear seats, soft-close doors and a few more. goodies.

Interestingly, BMW no longer positions the Competizione as a separate model in the M5 range as it does with other M cars. Instead, you select the $ 7,600 Competition Package option. The standard M5 costs $ 104,495 to start (including $ 995 for the destination), so an M5 Comp technically starts at $ 112,095.

Competition from the M5 Competition, ahem, is mostly limited to the Mercedes-AMG E63 S. and on the way Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing. But there are a number of alternatives to consider in BMW’s portfolio. First, there is the file M8 Gran Coupe, which looks great, but is ridiculously expensive; a competitor specification is $ 143,995. Then there is the upcoming M5 CS, which is lighter, even more hardcore, and has great gold accents, but starts at $ 142,995. If you’re looking to save some money, the standard M5 is probably just as good 95% of the time. And on the same line, honestly, the $ 77,795 V8 engine M550i that’s really all you need.

You are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to BMW’s big and fast four-door. And now that the M5 Competition isn’t as stiff as a board, that choice is harder than ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *