Since 1985 and the E28-generation M5, BMW has built its brand around its flagship M models, including the M5.
Above, you’re watching one of BMW’s most significant M cars: the all-new, F90 BMW M5. You know, the M5 has undergone some fairly significant evolution since it first emerged on the scene back in the 1980s. Back then, BMW’s premise was this: Take an engine derived from the exceedingly rare M1 and slot it under the hood of a humdrum-looking 5 Series. And bam – you have the fastest production sedan in the world (at least at the time). Through the years, the M5 evolved with the rest of the 5 Series line on styling. However, it’s engine evolved as well. It went from a straight-six, also used in the M3, to a 4.9-liter V8 in the E39 M5. The growth didn’t stop there however, as BMW shoved a 500 horsepower, 5.0-liter V10 into the E60-generation M5.
Since then, downsizing hit the M5, as with many other performance cars. The S85 V10 went with the E60, and the previous F10 generation got a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8. Remarkably, you could still get a manual transmission in that generation in the U.S. market. Now that’s gone as well in the latest F90 series. Although, the 4.4-liter V8 remains, still in twin-turbocharged form. Now, it’s chucking out over 600 horsepower…to all four wheels.
The F90 BMW M5 is the first all-wheel drive variant
Wait, what? An all-wheel drive M5? Yes, it’s true. This generation’s gone grippier by sending power to every corner of the car. On the way, that V8 fires 600 horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. While we’re there, the automatic transmission is your only option this time around. Why is there no manual? Because hardly any of you out there in the U.S. car-buying public bought one. The take rate for the F10’s manual option was less than five percent, so BMW didn’t bother to bring it back in the new model. That said, its unlikely anyone (manual enthusiasts included, perhaps) will miss rowing their own gears. The automatic in the F90 BMW M5 snaps off shifts way faster than you could on your own.
Happily, if you’re one to lament the passing of all-wheel drive in the M5, don’t despair! There is an option in BMW’s iDrive system to only send power to the rear wheels. So you can still have some tail-out action, when you so desire. Like when you’re on a track, for instance, as TFL’s Roman Mica is in today’s TFLcar video. Today, he’s taking the M5 out on the track and the road to see what’s what in BMW’s $103,000 range-topping M Performance model.
So, a big M sedan on the track – all that twin-turbo power, all those gears – is this F90 BMW M5 the best one yet, or does BMW’s ultimate expression of performance have some flaws? Watch the video above to find out! Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow on YouTube for even more news, views, and real-world, high-performance reviews!