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Old 27th December 2012, 16:06   #1
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Default BMW M5 : Driven

The BMW M5 is available in India at a price of Rs. 98.90 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you’ll like:

• 560 BHP in a spacious 4-door sedan. Racetrack & family on weekends, office on weekdays
• The F10's universally pleasing exteriors look extra sweet with the ///M kit
• Individually adjustable settings for throttle, steering, suspension and gear-shifts
• Brilliant 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with a superb manual-shift mode
• Excellent dynamics; rides like it's on rails and holds flat around corners
• Optional 5 year / 100,000 kms service & maintenance package

What you won’t:

• Steering has minor vibrations at times. Lacks the involvement & feedback of the E60 steering
• No longer a high-revving, naturally aspirated V10. Enthusiasts will find the exhaust note quite muted
• No manual transmission offered on the RHD version sold in India
• Lack of spare tyre. No run-flats either
• Steep CBU pricing takes the onroad tag to well over Rs. 1 crore
• Requires an understanding of what buttons to press to get the desired performance levels

NOTE: Click any picture to open a larger high-res version in a new window.


A quick video of the BMW M5:

Last edited by Rehaan : 16th April 2013 at 11:32.
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Old 27th December 2012, 16:08   #2
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Default Exteriors



This is BMW’s latest generation of its ultimate 'Ultimate Driving Machine'.

Internationally, the M5 has only a handful of true competitors. Cadillac’s Corvette-engined CTS-V stands out as rather impressive, the mind-hammering GTR is the performance king of the hill (but you can’t really count it as a 4-seater), the barking mad Mercedes E63 AMG has a few grey hairs now, and the ghost of Audi’s RS6 is in the process of being resurrected, but only as a wagon it seems.

The M5’s 4.4 liter V8 Twin-turbo is at the heart of this muscled up 5-series. What’s different for this generation M5 is the presence of twin-turbos feeding it air. That's a first; every other M5 before has been naturally aspirated. Remember the E60? It set the bar high with a 5.0L V10 that revved up to a staggering 8,250 rpm. The BMW Sauber F1 team had a part to play in that.

Let’s compare the stats on paper. The F10 M5 has 10% more peak power, 30% more max torque and uses 30% less fuel than the E60 - thanks to the ever tightening environmental laws. Peak power is a very respectable 560 hp @ 6,000 - 7,000 rpm. More impressive yet is the width of the torque band; 680 Nm @ 1,500 - 5,750 rpm! The V8 redlines at 7,200 rpm and, needless to say, it has direct injection and variable valve control too. Engine for engine, it’s an apples to pears comparison – but the newer gen is more powerful and faster, although most feel that it loses out to the singing V10 when it comes to rhapsody.

The M5 has a twin-scroll, twin-turbo setup, meaning there are in fact 2 turbos, each of which uses the twin-scroll technology (enhanced turbo performance at low rpms). There’s even a cross-pipe across both banks to reduce turbo lag, and water cooled intercoolers to bump up the power output. 0-100 kph comes up in a claimed 4.4 seconds.

I started off this test drive a little reluctantly for a few reasons. Firstly, size-wise, I think of the new 5-series as a bit of a boat. I wasn’t sure of taking it up a 2-way narrow mountain road for fear of someone else getting too close. Secondly, 560 BHP - that’s a fair deal in a rear wheel drive car when climbing a tempting ghat with open drops at many places. Lastly, no spare tyre! I saved BMW’s roadside assistance number on my phone to help with that one. However, I’ll admit that after driving the car for a day, I completely grew into it. I felt comfortable with the M5 and, with the right button presses, the car seemed to shrink around me and lose half its weight too. These were all non-issues.

Monte Carlo blue looks absolutely stunning on the car. Everyone from elementary school kids to old ladies shopping in the Panchgani market was giving it a second look. It’s gorgeous. Even the pictures don’t do this shade justice. The more car-inclined will notice the subtle differences that this sleeper of a 5-series has over its less endowed siblings. Rippling muscle creates prominent lines on the bonnet. The front bumper is more aggressive, the side gills with the M5 badge hint at something special, and of course the four pipes at the rear which emit most of that throaty roar.

The M5 has 117 mm of ground clearance. Don’t go purely by the numbers, a lot of this has to do with where exactly the lowest components are placed on the underside of the car. Thankfully, ground clearance was never an issue across all kinds of roads in Maharashtra. We obviously took a lot of care with the 1-crore monster, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t drive her through some very broken stretches too (carefully).

Suggested tyre pressures range from 36 – 48 psi, depending on load and tyre size. We ran the review at 42 psi on the 20”ers. The double 5-spoke wheels are fairly airy, and put on display the 15.7” discs with their 6-piston brake calipers. Let me rephrase that for thought. Just the discs are bigger than the wheels you typically see on hatchbacks and C & D segment sedans in India!



It's quite a long car, yet dimensions will be forgotten once you get in the driver seat:


A tight rear end with quad pipes - this view is probably the most reminiscent of its predecessors:


The long muscular hood with a bit of a power-bulge:


Bi-Xenon projectors:


A true wolf in sheep's clothing:


L-shaped tail-lamps, just like the regular 5 & 7 series:


Don't miss the Team-BHP stickers on the front air-dam. Neat placement eh?


Cosmetic modifications make the M5 look a lot sharper at the front than any other 5-series:


The optional 20" wheels are huge, yet the view is mostly taken up by the massive brake discs:


15.7" discs at the front. 15.6" at the rear. Note the tiny video camera on the front of the wheel-arch. More on that in a while:


The duality of the M5 is excellent. It's at home in crawling city traffic as well as on the open racetrack:


Noopster's Swift next to the M5 provides an interesting size comparison (for the cars and the wheels too!):


LED Corona rings at work after a hard day of playing:

Last edited by Rehaan : 27th December 2012 at 17:17.
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Old 27th December 2012, 16:08   #3
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Default Interiors



Grab the keys to the M5 and you’ll notice that the key fob feels rather plasticy. Nothing about it says ///M either. Would have been nice to have a sporty key fob with the M logo on it. On the center console, just between the cup holders, there’s a little nook designed for you to dock the key-fob into. Neat.

When you close the door, you’ll notice the soft-closing function at work. You only need to move the door to the closed position (without slamming it shut forcefully) and you’ll hear electric motors whirring to pull the door in and shut it tight. I can’t say I think this feature is particularly useful, but it sure is nice to never re-open and shut an improperly closed door.

Switch the car on. Not only does the steering move slightly down into position, even the side-bolsters of the seats move inwards to hug you in place. The steering is fairly chunky. Small hands just barely manage to wrap around it. It’s quite a deep rim, and the gear paddles are mounted very close to the back of it. If you try to hold just the wheel at the 9 o`clock & 3 o`clock positions (without interacting with the paddles), they will foul with your fingertips. You need to put your fingers behind the paddles instead. Once you accept this, it is very natural. Paired with the beautiful gearbox, it’s a plus for any enthusiast. The paddles are perfectly positioned if you want to use them all the time. The horn is reachable and can be operated with just a firm thumb, unlike a lot of German cars. The only complaint I have here is that, when gripping the wheel firmly during extended periods of enthusiastic driving, my palms got a tad sweaty due to the material used on the steering.

The 12-way adjustable seats are the best I’ve ever sat on. I have a pretty bad lower back problem and sitting in a car for even an hour is usually a painful challenge. However, after spending 6 hours and 300+ kms in the M5 on day 1, my back actually felt better than when I first got into the car! The passenger seat has exactly the same adjustments and has 2 memory positions as well. Both the front seats are ventilated.

Despite the supremely comfortable seats, note that the firmer suspension and constant road noise (20” wheels) can induce fatigue for passengers on long trips. On concreted roads, there is a lot of tyre noise and a surprising amount of wind noise too. Even if you’re in top gear at 1,100 rpm in the M5, there’s something "busy" about it. Probably a combination of the engine note and road noise. This is an area in which the diesel powered BMW 530d beats the M5 - it's a much more relaxing car to long distance cruise in, and its just 2 seconds slower in the 0-100 dash. It costs about half as much as well. Naturally a lot of enthusiast-customers who just want a quick 5-series will find that the 530d covers almost all their needs.

Visibility is excellent. Some neck-craning is required on winding roads, but that’s expected. On the unlit and winding mountain roads, I wished that the demo car came equipped with the optional “Adaptive Headlights”. These are worth ordering if you do a lot of night driving on curvy roads, as they point the headlight beams toward the direction in which the car is turning. The M gets a fairly boat-like 12.6 meter turning circle (6.3 m turning radius). That’s noticeably wider than the regular 5-Series’ 11.95 meters. This is because the steering system is set up to accommodate much wider wheels on the M5, thereby restricting the amount they can turn at full lock. It will not do your standard 2-lane road to 2-lane road U-turn in one shot, unless you go wide on the entry.

The audio system is good, but only after you cross a certain volume. Below that, it’s ordinary. The driver can scroll through songs on the MID whilst the passenger plays with something else on the iDrive.

Strangely enough, one of the most commonly found things in a car is one of the M5's biggest advantages. The rear seat. Simply because it has one. It's not just for kids, it's the full fledged 5-series back seat which has decent head and leg room. A rare find in a 550+ bhp car.

Switching off the M5 is one of the more complicated operations. It’s just not intuitive and lacks proper feedback from the car. More often than not, you’ll be faced with a “Gearbox position P not engaged” error message on the MID. This is ironic, since the gear lever doesn’t have any mention of a “P” position at all! What you need to do is take your foot OFF the brake pedal and press the start/stop button to turn off the engine. This is stupid because the car will roll if you’re on an incline, so you need to activate the handbrake first. It's a very roundabout procedure.

Another sore point is the lack of a spare tyre. As I mentioned earlier, the first thing I did in preparation for the Mahabaleshwar trip was to save BMW’s Roadside Assistance number in my phonebook. Late nights, bad roads and highways will be the M5's natural habitat in India – and it’s always a risk when there’s no spare tyre on board.


Meaty steering wheel:


The bottom 1/3rd of the speedo and tacho is a colour LCD display ("Black Panel Display"). I really like its versatility:


Note the "M1" and "M2" memory buttons for quickly switching into your saved driving profiles:


The chunky paddles sit very close to the steering rim:


Push the little ///M gearshift to the right to engage sequential manual mode. It doesn't have a park position or button!


Brilliant 12-way seats. Sorry they're a bit dirty. The backrest can tilt forward and back in two individual parts:


Missing a pedal, but I won't complain too much. I'm glad that the brake isn't one of those massive oversized pedals:


Cameras on the front wheel arches give you a perpendicular view to the left and right. Useful when you want to look out for traffic whilst pulling out of a driveway. The yellow line marks the front edge of the car:


Buttons to close the motorized boot lid. The second one closes the boot and locks the car. Convenient after you're done unloading:


No spare tyre. I hope you like walking:

Last edited by Rehaan : 27th December 2012 at 17:42.
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Old 27th December 2012, 16:10   #4
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Default Car Settings

The Nerve-Center:


If you ever plan to get behind the wheel of an F10 M5, you should probably read this. The personality of the M5 comes down to 5 little buttons which make a night and day difference to the car’s behaviour. Each one has roughly 3 settings, resulting in 486 possible permutations of behavior. Sure, even if you discount the several combinations that are nearly identical, you’re still left with enough vastly different combinations to give the M5 a handful of very distinct personalities. It’s the kind of multiple personality disorder you’ll enjoy experiencing. If you don’t press the right buttons, you may as well be taking your Dad’s E250 out for a spin. Choose the right settings and you have granular control over the Throttle, Steering, Suspension, Driver Assist and Gearbox behavior. It took me more than a day to figure out exactly what settings I liked for a particular driving condition, but once I found them, I truly began enjoying the car.

Luckily, there are two “M” buttons on the steering wheel where you can save your chosen combination of settings. Set the car up the way you want and long press “M1” or “M2” to store those settings to that button – it’s just like the memory seat function. To activate, short press the M1 or M2 steering button to switch into that setup. If you want to switch back to the default comfort settings quickly, press the same M button again. You can even save settings with the ESP turned down, if you’re naughty like me. However, to switch to a profile with a reduced ESP setting, you’ll be required to press the chosen M button twice in order to confirm at the “Are you sure?” MID prompt. Probably a good thing, as you don’t want to accidentally press the button and have a surprise by dancing sideways off a mountain road.



Throttle:
Efficient : You can’t really have any fun in this setting, even though your car is an M5. It’s purely for laid-back cruising. Even the occasionally spirited overtaking move in traffic seems dull. I’d suggest never going lower than 'Sport mode' throttle in the city when you’re driving yourself. This is chauffeur mode.

Sport : Feels more like an M5 now. You get all the benefits and a fair deal of throttle response without the extreme sensitivity of Sport+.

Sport+ : The A-pedal gets a lot more sharp and quick with its responses, which can induce a bit of jerkiness if you’re trying to modulate the accelerator at slower speeds. Not recommended for traffic. This is for driving enthusiastically on an open road.
Suspension
Comfort : They call it comfort, but it's still very firm...significantly firmer than the regular F10 5-series. That said, it’s not a bone jarring ride at all. The ride is actually quite impressive for a car riding on 20" wheels.

Sport : This is a good in-between. The ride, though firm, is nothing to complain about, even on 20” wheels. Body roll gets noticeably reduced. Enough for you to push this barge into corners and have her stay as flat as a go-kart. Traction is more reliable too (see below).

Sport+ : Too choppy for Indian conditions. On a road like the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, it had me feeling a bit sick with the sharp vertical movements on the road’s expansion joints. In this setting, the traction control light will come on more frequently as well. Why? Because the very firm suspension tends to do a poorer job of keeping the tyres pressed firmly over rough patches on the road. On our less than perfect Indian roads, even mild disturbances in the surface will break traction, and you’ll feel the ESP cut the throttle for a split second or so. Save this setting for those rare patches of meandering black silk. It’ll be worth it then! The car feels 500 kilos lighter when you switch to this setting, body roll is extinguished and the M5 feels incredibly eager to turn-in to corners.
Steering
Comfort : Naturally the lightest setting. I’d probably pick this one for my daily drive in the city. The only difference I could tell between all the steering settings was steering weight. There was no difference in response or feedback. I’m a fan of light steerings and there’s nothing wrong with this light setting during spirited driving. However, in this case, I chose something a little heavier just to mirror the car’s true attributes!

Sport : A nice level of weight. No noticeable change in feedback. Yet again, a good middle of the road option.

Sport+ : Becomes very heavy. Too heavy for in-city driving for most people. It’s almost like the 3-series E90 hydraulic with a larger diameter steering wheel. Once in motion, it’s nice, but probably better for flowing corners than roads with very quick left-rights.
Gearbox
Auto 1 : Sloppy and oh-so-boring. I didn’t really use this setting. I guess you could switch into this mode if you’re using the M5 to bring your new born child home from the hospital.

Auto 2 : More like your typical auto-box, but with silky smooth dual-clutch (DCT) shifts you won’t even notice. It will go to the redline, but only on kick-down. Good for day to day stuff.

Auto 3 : This is like the “sport” mode you find in some sporty cars with A/Ts. It will hold the lowest possible gear right up to the redline. It does a great job of it too. When you want to concentrate a 100% on your throttle, braking and steering only – this will get the job done.

Manual 1 : I didn’t use this much. I guess it’s for people who want to shift this auto-box manually even during more relaxed driving. Didn’t make a lot of sense to me. If I’m going manual, I’m stepping up the shift-aggression setting and putting some heart into it!

Manual 2 & 3 : Difference is that, in 2 there is more of a gradual revv-match, in 3 it’s a super fast shift. Make no mistake, “gradual” is a relative term as both modes are extremely fast and responsive by any measure. These are the settings I’d highly recommend to an enthusiast. The gearbox is brilliant…more on this later.
ESP
On : This is the default every time you switch the car on, and most drivers should stick to it. Even though the yellow ESP light rarely comes on, the system is still constantly working in small unobtrusive ways.

MDM : Stands for “M Dynamic Mode”. Short press the ESP button and a persistent yellow “MDM” lights up on the instrument cluster. This mode lets you break traction and work in some oversteer if you’re heavy on the throttle whilst cornering. It’s a fun mode, and even though it does eventually rein you in at a higher threshold, it’s best not used by inexperienced drivers or on busy public roads. I switched to this mode on an empty stretch of twisties - and it was extremely easy to get the tail out. Interestingly, when I tried it on a desolate straight line stretch, acceleration felt quicker too, especially near the redline (since there’s less interference from the ESP).

ESP Off : You need to switch into this mode to activate launch control. More on launch control later in the review, but even with ESP OFF, there’s no way the car is being allowed to put down full power in the lower gears. Use this mode if you’re on a deserted and very-wide stretch of tarmac, or around corners if you want to claim insurance and buy a Mercedes E63 instead.
After driving for a day, these are the settings that I eventually settled on:
M1 : (A milder setup) Throttle: S+, Suspension: Sport (not plus), Steering: Sport+, Gearbox: Manual + Medium shifts.
M2 : (For short bursts of fun where the situation allowed it) Same as above, except Gearbox: Manual + Aggressive shifts & ESP: ///M Dynamic Mode (MDM).
* When I found some silky smooth roads, I switched the M1 profile’s suspension over to Sport+ to see what it was all about.
** These M buttons are really useful and cool.

Last edited by Rehaan : 27th December 2012 at 17:06.
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Old 27th December 2012, 16:11   #5
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Default Driving Impression

Steering


For the first few kilometers, the steering didn't impress me. There were high frequency vibrations coming through the wheel when going straight down a well-kept concrete road at Bandra reclamation. This happened even with the steering set to comfort mode. It can get irritating (think vibrating massager making your hands numb). However, after day 1, I didn’t notice the vibration issue again - probably because I wasn't driving on concrete roads after that. Despite these tiny vibrations having made their way through at times, it’s surprisingly not the most communicative steering. Yes, the steering is a hydraulic unit (unlike the plain jane 5-series which has EPS), but there’s still something artificial about it. Most people would guess that it was an EPS. Just like the rest of the car, a lot of the “feedback” has been somewhat dampened out. It's a luxury sedan at the end of the day.

The steering doesn’t really feel quick on-center, but it’s a variable ratio, so I never once had to shuffle my hands whilst coming up a twisty ghat section (barring the few times I had to dial in some opposite lock around a corner whilst in MDM mode!). What started off as a rather unimpressive steering (perhaps due to high expectations) eventually gelled well with the whole package. It wasn't full of life, but it was direct, responsive and quick enough. I had no complaints by the end of it.

Engine & Transmission


Even if you’re in “D” mode, the car will not move forward until you step on the gas. This is unlike conventional automatics where the car will lug forward as soon as you release the brakes. Being a dual-clutch transmission, it doesn’t begin to engage the clutch till the accelerator pedal is pressed. The downside of this is that the car will roll backward if you are on an incline (hill hold only stays active for a second or two after you release the brake pedal). Don’t make the mistake of thinking you are in Neutral and try to revv her up – you’ll probably end up bolting into the car in front of you.

To truly enjoy the M5, you have to either be in the most aggressive “D” mode gearshift setting, or in any of the manual gearshift modes. There’s just no other way to have fun with the M5.

Have you ever downshifted 5 consecutive times at 95 kph without busting your transmission? The M5’s 7-speed box lets you do this - from top gear to 2nd without a fuss. The 7,200 rpm redline helps. You feel like doing 60 kph in 7th gear instead? No problem, thanks to the super spread of torque from the V8. Even though there’s a lot of torque low down in the RPM range, it’s around 2,700 - 3,000 rpm where you feel the twin-turbos really begin to spool up and the M5 starts to pull like a train. When you get to 6,000 rpm, that’s when things get extreme. The road gets slurped under the big hood, and you need to remember to keep looking ahead. The car needs a lot of space to be let loose like this (hard to get on most Indian roads). With this kind of monster power and limited traction, I’m fairly sure 1st gear is highly crippled by the traction control system. It tops out at 55 kph, so it’s a fairly short ratio too. There’s no way all the power is being let through in 1st gear, even when the ESP is ‘completely turned off’. 2nd and 3rd gear are a lot more thrilling, especially near the redline.

2nd gear was by far my favourite. It’s usable from 4 kph all the way to 105 kph! Switch into third and you’ll be doing silly speeds before you know it. I stuck to 2nd on most hill climbs and descents. It was like having an in-built speed limiter; useful, as it’s pretty easy to lose track of what speed you’re doing in this car. Occasionally, even though I didn’t have to, I popped it into 1st for some extra kick in the slowest of corners, and momentarily slipped into 3rd as the road opened up on a few occasions. I’m the kind of guy who would rather do 60 in a corner than 160 in a straight line. I’m not a huge fan of high speeds. 2nd gear was perfect. It let me hug the racing line, flirt with the turbo-zone and kiss the redline on many a deserted stretch.

For more relaxed driving, this engine + gearbox combination is incredibly versatile too. Once you cross 20 kph, you can shift into 3rd. Slow speed cruising at 30 - 50 kph is easily managed in 4th & 5th gear, with the engine ticking over lazily at <1,500 rpm. 42 kph can get you into 5th. Note that the transmission will always downshift at these speeds too, regardless of what gearbox mode you’re in. This includes 1st gear, which is only engaged at speeds lower than <5 kph. The M5 actually doesn’t like shifting into 1st. Maybe it’s a longer shift pattern for the DCT, or maybe the engineers thought they’d save the drivetrain the stress of all that torque being multiplied by the 1st gear’s low ratio.

In manual gearshift mode with throttle on its most sensitive setting, lifting off the pedal produces a significant amount of deceleration, especially in 1st and 2nd gears. You don’t get this kind of directness with slushbox automatics. This also makes holding a gear when going downhill brilliant. There’s a nice pop from the exhaust when you lift off the throttle suddenly in Sport+ mode. Almost like a small well-damped valve closing. Unlike the E60, this M5 doesn’t like to scream. In fact, the exhaust note is fairly muted since two big turbos sit right along the path of the exhaust gases. The semi-muted rumble and grunt is the closest to a vocal conversation you’ll have with the F10. It seems that the car was even quieter before BMW played some tricks. In somewhat of a controversial move, the boys at Bavaria decided to use a pre-recorded audio track of the M5 engine and pipe it through the car’s audio system at times of need! Yep, you heard me right. Some of the sound you hear in the cabin is actually coming from the music system. I’m not a huge fan of this move. Surely there’s a more honest and true way to do it. That said, I couldn’t pinpoint any noise that sounded suspect.

Fuel cost might not be a big concern for people who spend crores on cars, but tank range definitely is. Nobody wants to keep stopping at the pump every hour, especially when good quality + high octane fuel are hard to find. As a result of its thirst, the M5 has a fuel tank that is 10 liters bigger (than the regular 5-series) to give it that little extra range.

As much of a hardcore true manual-transmission fan that I am, there is no denying the huge advantages the DCT provides. Being able to shift gears without ever having to take your second hand off the wheel for one. The paddles become second nature for sequential manual mode and before you know it, you’re downshifting without having to think about it. Some people might complain that the manual M5 isn’t being offered in India – the purists, y’know. But then, think about it, what about this super tech-loaded, extremely bi-polar, twin-turbo’d M5 is ‘purist’, other than the name?

///M View HUD


One of the add-ons that comes with the ///M badge is the “M-View” HUD. It’s the same impressive and useful colour HUD hardware that you see on other top-end BMWs. However, the M5 gets a different enthusiast oriented display layout. There’s a large gear number readout in the center and a small speed indicator beside it. Arching above is a set of two arcs, one for the RPM sweep and the other a set of 8 shift-lights. The animated digital sweep of the RPM meter is not something I ever took notice of while driving. The car keeps you busy enough with other things when you’re trying to work your way through the exhilarating turbo-zone right up to the redline. However, the shift lights on the HUD are excellent and useful. They grab your attention and give you enough forewarning as the 6 orange boxes light up one after the other. You need to pull that right paddle soon, or else the final two red boxes light up, the ECM cuts fuel reluctantly and the exhaust bumbles-grumbles in protest, you amateur.

The M-view heads up display is SUPERB when shifting gears manually. Without it, you really wouldn’t have a clue as to which one of the 7 gears you’re in. It’s really the perfect complement to manual-shift mode. I only wish that the HUD on/off setting could also be stored in the steering wheel M button profiles, as the HUD button itself is hard to get to. The settings led me to believe this might be possible, but I couldn’t get the same to work.

Suspension & Handling


1,945 kgs. Oh man, what a fatty. Why couldn’t I be driving the M3 instead? Beggars can’t be choosers, but surely those with good fortune can wish for even better fortune, right?

Well, I was wrong. Never judge a car by its spec sheet. The M5 can do ballet. Not because it was born to do it, but because of some incredibly talented engineers and a touch of legacy too. The electro-hydraulic dampers completely transform the car. No doubt BMW’s ‘sorted’ chassis dynamics form a great starting point too. Switch to the firmer suspension settings and her personality changes. Every corner will have her full devotion. No more cordial turn-ins with some relaxed body roll. The body shell stays flat and the M5 begins to react to turning instructions before you can complete your sentences.

As you’d expect from a car like this, road holding is excellent. If you’ve got the right setup (see earlier post), you can steer her a bit using the brake and throttle. In MDM mode, if you’re heavy on the throttle, it’s quite easy to lose the tail or just let it hang out a little. For day to day driving, the “Comfort” mode is decent (even with the 20” wheels on our test car). It’s not cushy, but it’s not at all painful either.

Braking


Well, this is starting to become a bit of a habit. Our test car didn’t have the sharpest brakes. Not because the M5 brakes aren’t great, but because the brake-lines have probably been boiled on multiple occasions – being a demo car. That said, even with the slightly soft pedal, she didn’t give us any heart-attacks. Speed was shed effortlessly, the ABS didn’t ever kick in and there wasn’t even a mild hint of twitchiness. Not surprising, since the discs are bigger than anything dominos has on their menu.

Launch Control


Unfortunately, these days driver skill has to a great extent been replaced with knowing which combination of buttons to press. When it comes to getting a high-powered RWD car off the line, it usually takes some trial and error. However, auto trannies simplify the process, and by using all the sensors and authority the car has at its disposal, launch control manages to find the perfect balance between power and traction. You'd think it should be as easy as pressing a button, but it's a fairly complex setup procedure! The end result is a crisp launch with minimal drama. In fact, the car seems to move the first meter or so rather slowly before chirping the tyres a little and then shooting off. The M5 will up-shift for you even in manual mode, as long as you still have the pedal pressed to the floor. Once everything is eventually set up (which is the hard part), even grandma could take the M5 from 0 - 100 km/h in 4.4 seconds.

To activate launch control:
  1. Warm up the car (drive 15 kms)
  2. Set Steering, Suspension and Throttle to the highest, Sport+ setting
  3. Gearshift to manual mode
  4. Change gearshift to the 3rd (i.e. harshest) setting
  5. Turn off DSC completely (LONG-press the button for 3-5 seconds)
  6. Left foot brake very lightly, just enough to turn on the brake lights
  7. Push and hold the gear shifter forward
  8. Chequered flag saying “Launch control active” appears on the instrument cluster
  9. You can take your foot off the brake now if you want
  10. Floor the accelerator (and keep it there). The car will only revv till about 3,000 - 4,000 rpm
  11. Optional: Use the cruise control to adjust the launch rpms up or down depending on the surface
  12. Release the gear-shift from the forward position, and you’re off!
  13. To prevent overworking the car, you might not be allowed to engage launch control again for a few minutes

Last edited by Rehaan : 27th December 2012 at 17:06.
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Old 27th December 2012, 17:07   #6
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Default Re: BMW M5 : Driven

Other Points:

• For more details on the F10 5-series, take a look at our official review here (BMW 525d : Test Drive & Review).

• The M-view HUD doesn’t show whether you’re in "D" or Manual mode. It always displays the gear number, regardless. In the extremely harsh Indian sun, the reflection of the HUD cut out in the dash is somewhat visible on the windshield.

• Planning to buy an M5? Like most big-wheeled sports cars, for Indian roads we’d recommend you stick with the stock sized 19” wheels, instead of the optional 20”ers.

• BMW's much loved BSI package is offered for the M5 too. Costing 5.6 Lakhs, it'll cover virtually all your service and warranty repair costs for 5 yrs / 100,000 kms.

• If the (electrically-activated) parking brake is engaged and you start accelerating, it deactivates automatically. Almost as if the Parking brake has been modified to replicate Merc’s much better implemented “Brake Hold” feature. This is probably nice for convenience (e.g. stopping at red lights, pulling the parking brake switch, and then starting off without having to release it), but since it’s not conventional "always-on" parking brake behavior, it could prove to be dangerous!

• Keyless entry and start are cool. Even the rear door handles are touch sensitive and will unlock the car when someone with the key touches them. Nifty when you want to dump bags on the rear seat before getting into the front.

• Drive the M5 with the windows down and you’ll hear a constant tick-tick-tick-tick noise every time you accelerate on a bumpy surface, or get on the throttle too soon coming out of a corner. What is that? It’s the traction control system working! You’ll be surprised at how early and constantly it kicks in, even when not driving aggressively. The ESP does a brilliant job without making itself obvious (unless you hit a bad patch of road and power gets noticeably throttled for a second or two). You'd have to be a real schmuck to get yourself in trouble when the M5 is fully armed.

• Despite the M5’s ideal octane being RON 98 (minimum 95), our entire road test was done on regular fuel, since 97 octane was out of stock! We even poured in a few more liters at Wai and Mahabaleshwar. Absolutely no problems with the fuel; however I’m sure that the engine was not performing at its absolute optimum output due to the lower octane sauce.

• Despite the high altitude, the car actually felt peppier in Mahabaleshwar. Probably because of the significantly cooler air (and rarer air doesn’t affect forced induction cars much). In Bombay however, the car seemed like it was comparatively lower on power. Not sure if it was because of the fuel at the last place we filled up, or the significantly higher ambient temperatures. We never saw an average fuel efficiency figure that was outside the 4-6 kpl range, as per the iDrive.

• You can hear 2 electric cooling pumps wind down slowly for a few minutes after the car has been turned off.

Last edited by Rehaan : 27th December 2012 at 17:13.
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Old 27th December 2012, 17:20   #7
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Brilliant review, Rehaan! Thanks for sharing this end-of-the-year treat with us. Rating review a well-deserved 5 stars.

I'm just really pleased to see this breed of automobile being officially sold in India. Fully white bill, finance options, service support & extended warranties available. The unscrupulous grey market - once the only way to buy a high performance car - can take a hike.

One spin in the M5 and you know it's an incredibly special machine. There's little doubt in my mind that the F10 5 Series is amongst the best sedans in the world. The M5 - it's uber-performance version - can play with Supercars and still offer 4-door 5-seater convenience for work & family. It's scary fast and has phenomenal grip levels; forget about enjoying it in any Indian city or the outskirts of, the M5 is simply too quick & brutal. You'll need really good roads (or be living in proximity of the Buddh track) and a high level of driver skill to extract the best of this machine.

I must add that it's sibling - the 530d - is quite a sedan in its own right. A more practical car, that 6-cylinder diesel also has more power than you'll ever know what to do with (in India) and sips the cheaper fuel too! It's priced 1/2 as much and will be as quick in any point A -> point B drive in India, including expressways.

I can't think of a better way to end 2012 than with an M5 review.

Last edited by GTO : 27th December 2012 at 17:31.
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Old 27th December 2012, 17:25   #8
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Default Re: BMW M5 : Driven

Incredible!! So this was the last "Super Saloon" that GTO mentioned for the year! Good to see BMW bringing all its significant models to India!
I wonder when the new M4 will turn up...
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Old 27th December 2012, 18:18   #9
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Default Re: BMW M5 : Driven

I am surprised you could even drive an M5 on those roads. It's meant for the fantastic twisties, track days and Autobahns, and yes it requires a certain commitment from the driver, it's a track monster disguised as road going car and has more technology built into it it's not exactly suitable for sharing mud tracks with goats and street vendors.. imho!
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Old 27th December 2012, 18:26   #10
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A terrific review of a stupendous car, Rehaan! Totally deserves the 5 stars (and then some!) that this review is getting from me. You're obviously closing the year on a phenomenal high, isn't it?!

As GTO says, it is extremely satisfying for both enthusiasts and general folks alike to see BMW's commitment in bringing an out-and-out performance car to India with financing options, comprehensive service support and BMW's very popular BSI package. And that is some commitment from the Bavarian car-maker knowing this one's not flying off the shelves like its cousin the F10 5-series.

Congratulations again on giving this incredible piece of engineering your own unique spin! Pun intended, of course!

Cheers!
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Old 27th December 2012, 18:36   #11
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Default Re: BMW M5 : Driven

Fantastic review! Looks like you've covered all points and left none to doubt. Rated 5 stars!

The car looks very promising for those who can afford it. Only thing a bit disappointing is that there is no manual option in India.
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Old 27th December 2012, 18:43   #12
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Default Re: BMW M5 : Driven

Great review rehaan. I knew this was coming when I saw the M5 cover pic for facebook. What a way to end the year!
The looks of M5 are sufficient for people to notice that this car has something massive under the hood. The best part of this review was the explanation of those five buttons without which the car can not be thoroughly enjoyed.

Rated the thread a much deserved five stars.

Last edited by dZired : 27th December 2012 at 18:52.
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Old 27th December 2012, 18:58   #13
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Default Re: BMW M5 : Driven

Superb review and detailed to the core ! Every component as explained, would make perfect sense to even an automobile non-enthusiast.

That blue shade totally adds to the car's sporty character. What other shades would this be offered in?

If you don't mind me asking, what's the top speed you did on this brute? Pretty sure, would be quite high and could have been much much higher, if the roads permitted!

Man, even when parked, this one looks soooo fast!!!

Now, this year may end! However, looking forward to a great kick-off with the EcoSport (two different extremes here, i know but, couldn't help contain the excitement)

Last edited by MetalBuff : 27th December 2012 at 19:00.
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Old 27th December 2012, 19:47   #14
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Default Re: BMW M5 : Driven

great thread.. Being in the US, such cars are common place, but I never got to read an in depth review of a hyper sedan like this from an Indian perspective, and you have covered a lot of those to great detail - like never being able to do justice to the performance, difficulty making u turns etc. Thanks a bunch! Rated 5 star!
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Old 27th December 2012, 19:51   #15
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Default Re: BMW M5 : Driven

Fantastic report, Rehaan!

Great to see Team-BHP featuring world-class reviews off late. Great going. Mighty impressed.

Next up, something which is right up your alley, a fulltoo video review
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