2018 BMW M5 offers the best of European performance sedans
If you're ready to spend over $100,000 on a new car, you have a lot of great options to choose from. Truthfully, there really aren't any bad options at that price range.
If your choice is a mid-size sport sedan, your options are very good. The Europeans have been refining their sedans for decades and BMW has often led the way in performance, leading to the current M5 model. Based on the same platform as the less-expensive 540i and M550i, the M5 is the top of BMW's mid-size sedan family.
Outfitted with a 4.4-liter turbocharged 32-valve V8 engine, the M5 is rated at 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That's good for a zero-to-sixty time of 3.2 seconds. Engine power is delivered to all four wheels through an electronic 8-speed automatic transmission and BMW's "M xDrive" AWD system. This special system gives you the ability to disconnect the front wheels to deliver a proper rear-wheel-drive experience.
On the road, the M5 is an outstanding grand touring car. I took it up to Seattle and back and the M5 has enough power and smoothness to get you into trouble if you're not careful. I avoided trouble by using the adaptive cruise control to keep to the posted speed because it's so easy to find yourself zooming past traffic without really realizing that you're speeding.
Inside, the M5 is both sporty and comfortable. The optional Executive Package seats are fully adjustable, heated and ventilated. There's an excellent massage system that not only works on your back, but which rocks your hips to keep those joints from stiffening up on a long drive. Add in a little heat and you can step out of the M5 as relaxed as when you got in.
As you would expect, the M5 comes with state of the art tech, including surround-view camera and active park distance control. The standard audio infotainment system includes a Harman Kardon sound system, navigation, and every convenience. The system is complex, so it will take some time to get fully conversant with the M5, but when you do, everything is at your fingertips.
The test car came with BMW's fabulous carbon-ceramic brakes. This four-wheel disc system gives you the same kind of brakes you'll find on cars racing at Le Mans. This option alone adds $8,500 to the price tag, but if you plan on taking your M5 to the racetrack, it's worth the money.
The bottom line on the BMW M5 is that if your dream performance car has four doors and a trunk, there aren't really any better options than this.
2018 BMW M5
Base price: $104,595
Price as tested: $129,795
Type: Midsize sedan
Engine: 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 (600 hp, 553 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 15/21
Overall length: 196 inches
Curb weight: 4,370 pounds
Final assembly: Dingolfing, Germany