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      09-23-2012, 06:48 PM   #1
stealth.pilot
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2013 M5 Individual - European Delivery

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We just got back from the European Delivery of our 2013 M5 Individual.

It was an epic trip:
  • 9 days
  • 1950 miles
  • 6 cities: Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, Zurich, Lucerne and Berne
  • 3 Alpine passes: GrossGlockner, Hahntennjoch, and Schillthorn.
  • Experience of pre and post-break in driving

For this group I will share my observations relative to my previous car – a 2012 550i M-Sport Dinan Stage 2 with the sportiest configuration (IAS, ARS, DDC, RWD and Michelin Pilot Super Sports). Also as context, I am a driver who enjoys a more digital driving experience. I have been a fan of EPS, IAS, ARS, DDC, etc. So I was fully ready for the innovations the M5 would throw at me and I had high expectations. I am glad to say my expectations were met and exceeded.

IMPRESSIONS OF THE M5

The sound is very sexy. There is a growl when you press the start button. During warm up the car sounds like a beast. In the Sportier settings the car sounds like that all the time. In Salzburg and Vienna I remember people would turn their heads every time I pressed the throttle. It is loud! The burbling on the downshifts sounds fantastic. This car sounds like what you expected a sports car to sound like when you were a kid, and it is inspiring.

Astonishing thrust. This thing really attacks the road. If you need to chase someone down, you need an M5. The difference in power between the M5 and the 550i Dinan Stage 2 is bigger than the power difference between the 550i and the 550i Dinan Stage 2. It is a huge difference which likely is the combination of an estimated additional 120hp (based on dynos I have seen) and the fact that the car is so much better at getting power to the ground thanks to Active M differential. DCT, and bigger tires. The thrust is just astonishing. Some magazines have achieved 0-60 in 3.6 seconds – I certainly believe it. It also means it is very easy to pass on single lane country roads in Austria, Switzerland and Germany - we must have passed ~160 cars on single lane roads. Sometimes passing 7 or 8 cars in a single maneuver and there weren’t any long straights either!

No lag or throttle delay in Sport+. When I drove the M5 in Andalucia last year I raised concerns of turbo lag. It turns out that must have been the DSC. I found the throttle response to be near instantaneous in the 2013 M5. It felt like the responsiveness of an NA engine with the low end torque of a turbo. Clearly the design which places the turbos inside the V to reduce lag is a winner. The absence of lag was a huge contrast to the Panny Turbo I test drove in July. Note -there is still lag in Effiency mode, but that doesn’t surprise me, and I would not recommend that mode.

The DCT is an engineering marvel but needs one more gear. Shifts are incredibly quick and crisp. Even in sport+ they don’t seem harsh, but they are instantaneous. It seems noticeably quicker than Porsche’s PDK, and substantially better than what you find in a Lambo or Ferrari. The M-HUD offers shift lights which make shifting with such a precise gearbox an incredible delight. It is a precision instrument, which can be driven with extreme precision thanks to the M-HUD shift indicator light. However, at higher speeds I missed the 8th gear of the 550i. I think an 8th gear would be useful.

Superb handling in mountains and on the autobahn. Despite the traffic, I was executing high speed corners and overtaking maneuvers on the Grossglockner – basically on the side of a mountain. To do this I had to put the car in Sport Plus mode for Steering and Suspension, and Sport for engine, with transmission in D2. The amount of control in the switchbacks was superb. The car felt like a small car – in fact it was cornering better and faster than my 2004 M3 on the side of a mountain. The car also feels very stable in high corners. The highways in Austria and Switzerland curve a lot, and I was taking medium to high speed corners at 120mph+, in fact in Germany I hit 150mph on a gently curved section of autobahn. This is partly driven by the suspension and the bigger tires, but also the steering which provides enough weight and feedback to give you more confidence at those speeds. But contrast the 550i never inspired the same degree of confidence required to corner at those speeds.

The steering is sublime. I am as you all know a big advocate of electric steering. The M5 has hydraulic steering, however it has contextually variable assist and 3 modes – comfort, sport and sport+ which vary the amount of assist and the amount of feedback. Comfort and Sport are both comfortable at low speeds unlike previous M cars. In all modes there is more feedback than in the 550i, however the amount of control and feedback in Sport and Sport+ mode is very impressive. Again it trumps my 2004 M3 – the feedback almost seems exaggerated in Sport+ mode so you know exactly what is going on. The variable assist is a feature of EPS which is integrated very well in the M5 hydraulic setup. In Sport mode, I found it very comfortable around town and parking lots, yet had the firmness and stability needed for precise cornering in the switchbacks on the mountain side. Very impressive.

M Dynamic Mode in combination with the M DCT is really fun. The car is most responsive in this setup, instant response, gets power down very effectively, some wheel slip or fish-tailing if you aren’t careful, and ability to powerslide in a controlled way.
The car is not limited – I hit 162mph and it still had plenty of accelerating power at that speed – traffic prevented me from exploring further.

Ride quality is not up to 550i standards, but surprisingly good around town. Since my GF was working, I took my parents with me who are used to driving a Lexus GS460, and they thought the ride quality was very good. I thought it was comparable to Sport mode around town, although once you exceed 100mph even comfort mode is not as good as the 550i in any mode. That may be the price for more road feel and control at high speeds.

The brakes could be better. They are very good in the sense that you can brake hard and the car will track straight without any issues. There is excellent precision in braking. However I feel it needs bigger brakes and more stopping power. The brakes were a key reason I couldn’t exceed 162mph – the traffic made me nervous given the brakes.

Car looks and feels much more expensive than the 550i. The individual interior is superb. I am glad I read Highyo’s quote that said that Platinum Merino with PianoBlack is a Killer combination, and Needsdecaf’s idea of sticking with a Platinum Alcantara interior to create a light modern interior. It is superb. Also the Bang and Olufsen sound system is superb. I parked the car next to a Rolls-Royce Ghost at the Park Hyatt in Zurich, and I thought the M5 interior looked better (they were both the same color combination). The car also drew a lot of looks. In Berne a bunch of guys started photographing the car. On several occasions I saw pedestrians and other drivers giving me a thumbs up. There were a lot of people staring in all cities. I found the attention entertaining, but also a little disturbing – one of the things I like about the M5 over the Panny is that it is supposed to be low profile. The only disappointment aesthetically is the absence of ceramic controls.

The new nav had routing issues I ran into several insane routing problems with the nav (like what Needsdecaf has posted with the 2011 nav). I have never had such issues with the 2012 nav, so I found this disconcerting. Hopefully it was an ED map issue, and won't recur stateside. Also I didn't find the graphics much better than the 2012 version. Seemed very similar except for the routing problems on the new one.

Overall – I love the upgrade and am glad I made the switch to the M5. I have never been so excited every time I fire up a car.

A few things I miss about the 550i:
- Highway ride quality
- Ceramic Controls
- Auto-Handbrake
- Auto high beams

Some pictures


















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Last edited by stealth.pilot; 09-23-2012 at 08:36 PM.
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      09-23-2012, 07:03 PM   #2
cmhsam
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Congrats. Looks beautiful.
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      09-23-2012, 07:03 PM   #3
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Great trip and article!!!! Thanks for sharing!
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      09-23-2012, 07:29 PM   #4
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very nice.
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      09-23-2012, 08:57 PM   #5
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Congrats. Very good review there!
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      09-23-2012, 09:40 PM   #6
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Wow, your interior is stunning! What a fantastic color combo. thanks for you well-informed review and comparison.
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      09-23-2012, 09:49 PM   #7
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Congrats Stealth, Amazing pics and write up as usual my friend!

Last edited by Rohardi; 09-23-2012 at 09:59 PM.
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      09-24-2012, 01:48 AM   #8
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great pics and nice write up. That platinum/black is the killer combo.
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      09-24-2012, 05:31 AM   #9
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Congratulations Stealth! Beautiful car. I'm glad you were able to take delivery on time. I hope you enjoy it for many years (months?) to come.
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      09-24-2012, 05:38 AM   #10
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BTW - I believe I can code auto highbeams. I will be home in a day or so and am going to attempt. I'm really surprised the option isn't there since it is camera-based. Instead of the stalk-based controls you can toggle it on/off in iDrive.

I'll let you know if I'm successful.
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      09-24-2012, 05:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wdimagineer
BTW - I believe I can code auto highbeams. I will be home in a day or so and am going to attempt. I'm really surprised the option isn't there since it is camera-based. Instead of the stalk-based controls you can toggle it on/off in iDrive.

I'll let you know if I'm successful.
Fantastic. Please let me know. I am set up for coding too. May need the new source files for 2013 though.
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      09-24-2012, 06:42 AM   #12
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Nice review . Now the wait to get mine is even harder
But at least I had a fully broken in one over the weekend here in Munich and I can tell you an unlimited M5 will scratch the 200 mark.
I agree the features missing are high beam assist (would be great if indeed they could be coded) and auto handbrake .
It also turns out the ///M Performance Carbon Interior trim has just been released. It should come in this Friday and I'll hopefully get it installed on Tuesday (day after taking delivery) ...
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      09-24-2012, 07:28 AM   #13
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Great write up and car! Thanks for sharing & many miles without problems!
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      09-24-2012, 10:46 AM   #14
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congrats!! killer combo thank u for the pictures, finally some good quality seat pictures... on platinum choice... enjoy
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      09-24-2012, 02:11 PM   #15
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congrats!! Great write up, great pictures, and WOW what a beautiful car you optioned out. Love the piano blk trim, B&O, interior and exterior color choices. How is the color in the sun? Im sure the pictures don't do it justice
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      09-24-2012, 02:19 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xtose92 View Post
congrats!! Great write up, great pictures, and WOW what a beautiful car you optioned out. Love the piano blk trim, B&O, interior and exterior color choices. How is the color in the sun? Im sure the pictures don't do it justice
The Monte Carlo Blue looks best in the Sun and at night, but doesn't look as good in shaded weather. It has a lot of xirallic content which makes for an interesting sparkle under the sun.
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      09-26-2012, 08:12 AM   #17
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Look at that RR Ghost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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      09-26-2012, 08:37 AM   #18
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Love the car and review.

In my mind i have bought loads of M5s due to all the brilliant reviews.
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      09-26-2012, 08:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stealth.pilot View Post
The Monte Carlo Blue looks best in the Sun and at night, but doesn't look as good in shaded weather. It has a lot of xirallic content which makes for an interesting sparkle under the sun.
So you'r saying MCB would not be a good choice in the North East with our gray, snowy winters? lol I sat in a MCB F10 M5 this weekend at my dealer. Looked AMAZING in the showroom, but I wondered how it would look in the winter months with out bright lights to make the color really POP.
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      09-26-2012, 08:56 AM   #20
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Great story, great photos, and great review! I completely agree on several points- the steering assist is truly impressive, both in it's ability to maintain a high level of driver comfort, and in the amazing feedback available in sport +. Agreed on the brakes also- we found their performance to be less than perfect in a performance driving environment.

Congratulations on the M5!
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      09-26-2012, 09:20 AM   #21
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Nice write up - thanks for sharing!
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      09-26-2012, 09:30 AM   #22
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Congrats and enjoy!!!
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