Drives: F80 M3
Join Date: Mar 2005
F10 M5 Squares Off Against Other V8 Supercars-in-Disguise (Road & Track)
F10 M5 in Review of V8 Supercars-in-Disguise (Road & Track)
Check out Road & Track's
recent review of five V8 supercars in disguise. Each features supercar perfromance, raucous V8 engines and four doors.
Highlights regarding the F10 M5:
The Audi's V8 sounds more cumulonimbus than Days of Thunder, and once up to banked-oval speeds, we're surprised to see the M5 scream past it. The BMW's twin-turbo V8 sounds nothing like any of the others; the Bavarians' ingenious, patented crossover exhaust manifold gives each exhaust pipe an evenly spaced pulse of air, so the wail coming from the tailpipes sounds more flat-crank Ferrari than cross-plane Ford.
Still, thanks to the world's most difficult-to-activate launch control, plus the double whammy of turbo torque and two-wheel drive, the BMW is a torment on the drag strip. Road Test Editor Robin Warner has a visible eye twitch as he tries, for the 20th time, to get the big Bimmer off the line cleanly. On his fastest pass, the M5 takes off with only a whiff of rear wheelspin. Moments later, the dual-clutch slams itself into second gear, lighting up the rear tires and laying 225 feet (We advise you, dear reader, to always measure your burnouts like a professional —Ed.) of black stripes on its final approach to 60 mph.
Warner is furious. I'm laughing hysterically. But the M5 does the deed in just 3.8 seconds.
"If this test was based solely on drag-strip consistency, this car would lose outright," Warner huffs.
We were always sure which way the BMW would go, because the answer was always sideways. The M5's suspension is oversprung and underdamped, and without question, the engine makes more power than the chassis can handle. On a bumpy back road, trying to escape the E63, the M5 is like that little black cat trying to outrun Pepé Le Pew. Driving the M5 fast is serious, countersteering, palm-sweating work.
It's also serious fun, and that's the decisive factor in crowning the BMW the winner. With its neutral behavior at the limit, the manic M5 is a mother to control, but it's also a more multidimensional tool for the advanced driver. It's giddy on the street, a riot on back roads, and the most throttle-steerable on the track.
Is the M5 perfect? No. We've had an unusually volatile relationship with the M5 and its siblings (M6, M6 convertible, and M6 Gran Coupe, all of which share mechanical bits with this car). Sometimes we love these things. Sometimes they drive us nuts.
The manic M5 is a mother to control.
Yes, that sounds schizophrenic. But it's honest. Meeting the M5, you love how the hydraulically assisted steering is old-school-BMW communicative in normal driving, then hate how numb it gets at the limit. You love the steering's heft but lament that it makes the BMW feel like it weighs as much as two Panameras. The exhaust spits out a crazy howl, but the car's stereo famously plays pretend engine noise through its speakers. Which admittedly sounds good, but then you kind of resent the fact that you love its pandering.
Back and forth. The M5 is blazingly fast and yet miserable to launch. It's delightfully tail-happy, but we don't always appreciate the ping-pong the rear end wants to play with the curb. The list goes on.
Consistent "good" marks may win some tests, but not this one. These are supercars, and supercars, whether sedan-shaped or not, should infuriate almost as much as they exhilarate. With Ferrari Enzo performance now available from a handful of four-doors, speed has truly become a commodity, and anyone can build it. What's important is that a car makes us feel things. Happy, angry, horrified, giddy—all at the same time. That once was the purview of 200-mph stock cars and unusable exotics. Now it's available at your local luxury-car dealer.
Catch the full review at Road & Track