Full 2007 BMW M5 Review
What's New for 2007
For 2007, the BMW M5 adds a six-speed manual transmission as a no-cost option. A tire-pressure monitoring system joins the standard features list, along with a four-year subscription to BMW Assist and Real-Time Traffic Information.
BMW has a well-deserved reputation for turning out cars designed to leave enthusiasts grinning like Tara Reid at a spring break beer bust. The 2007 BMW M5 more than lives up to this venerable history, and finds the Bavarian manufacturer's M performance division at the peak of its powers.
Based on the regular 5 Series sedan, the M5 comes equipped with a 5.0-liter V10 that cranks out a dizzying 500 horsepower at 7,750 rpm and 383 pound-feet of torque at 6,100 rpm, with a luscious 8,250-rpm redline. The engine takes the car from zero to 60 in 4.8 seconds. Two transmissions are available. A seven-speed sequential-shifting automated gearbox (SMG) offers 11 different settings that govern shift point, speed and clutch slip. A six-speed manual -- a new option this year exclusive to cars imported to North America -- may be had as a no-cost option, for drivers seeking the old-school thrills only a traditional manual transmission can deliver.
The 2007 BMW M5 chassis puts the emphasis on performance, but you won't find high-tech aids like the active steering and run-flat tires seen in other 5 Series cars. Instead, it's a purist's setup with a precisely tuned, all-aluminum suspension and gargantuan brakes (14.7-inch discs in front). M5 buyers also get BMW's Electronic Damping Control, which allows the driver to choose one of three suspension settings -- Comfort, Normal and Sport. The ride, even in Comfort mode, is exceptionally well controlled. The Normal setting provides an aggressive ride and Sport is stiff enough to only be useful on a glass-smooth racetrack. In fact, the current "ring taxi" vehicle -- the one that is used to give passengers a taste of high-speed thrills at Germany's famed Nürburgring -- is an M5.
This BMW effortlessly leaves the competition choking on its exhaust fumes. The M5 is at the front of the pack when it comes to quarter-mile times, slalom speed and braking distance. Most importantly, its high-revving V10 delivers more driver involvement than the V8s found in its primary rivals, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and the Cadillac STS-V. This year's impressive new Audi S6 matches the cylinder count of the M5, but still makes less horsepower and torque, and weighs more to boot. While all of these cars are impressive in their own right, the 2007 BMW M5 is the ultimate super-sport sedan, delivering the sort of gee-whiz performance sure to excite even the most jaded enthusiasts.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
A high-performance variant of the midsize 5 Series, the BMW M5 sport sedan comes in one trim level only. Standard equipment includes lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels with 255/40ZR19 performance tires in front and 285/35ZR19 meats in back, HID adaptive headlamps, automatic climate control, Merino leather upholstery, heated and power-adjustable sport seats with driver memory, a sunroof and Bluetooth connectivity. The iDrive vehicle management system is also standard, as is a navigation system. On the audio side, buyers get a premium-grade Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound system with 13 speakers and a glovebox-mounted CD changer. Other options to consider include 20-way multifunction seats with active backrest width, ventilated seats, satellite radio and a full leather interior with Alcantara headliner. Aluminum interior trim is standard, but wood is available at no extra charge. Other options include keyless startup, a head-up display, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and fold-down capability for the rear seats.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2007 BMW M5 features a 5.0-liter V10 engine that generates a heady 500 hp at 7,750 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 6,100 rpm. Routing power to the rear wheels is BMW's seven-speed sequential manual gearbox (SMG), a sophisticated transmission that combines the control of a manual gearbox with the ease of an automatic. The SMG includes 11 shift programs as well as a launch-control mode that primes the M5 for drag strip challenges. A six-speed manual transmission is also available, as a no-cost option.
Standard safety equipment includes a tire-pressure monitor, active front head restraints, a head protection system and side-impact airbags for the front seats. Side-impact airbags for rear passengers are optional. A stability control system (BMW's DSC) programmed for performance driving is also standard, as are massive four-wheel disc brakes with electronic brake proportioning, cornering and stability enhancements. The BMW 5 Series received a "Good" rating -- the highest possible -- in IIHS frontal-offset crash testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
The driver-oriented M5 cockpit greets passengers with a dignified show of luxury and performance appeal. The multifunction iDrive interface integrates the audio, climate and navigation systems, and can also store the driver's personal settings for the car's stability control and adaptive damping systems. While its capabilities are impressive, iDrive has a steep learning curve and you shouldn't expect to master it without studying the owner's manual. Build and materials quality is outstanding in the BMW M5. Supportive seating is provided in both the front and rear, and even adults won't mind sitting in the backseat. When equipping your M5, we'd advise sticking with the standard 16-way adjustable front seats. The optional 18-way adjustable M multifunction seats are equipped with active backrest bolsters that move inward to brace the driver (or passenger) against cornering loads, but we've found this to be a gimmicky feature that can distract at critical moments.
The 2007 BMW M5 is an extremely balanced machine that can handle aggressive driving maneuvers as well as it does dilapidated highways. The electronic damping control system allows the driver to choose among three suspension settings: comfort, normal and sport. As expected, the M5 exhibits precious little body roll in sport mode, along with excellent turn-in. In comfort mode it's actually quite compliant, with the suspension swallowing all but the harshest bumps. Engine performance is absolutely outstanding as the V10 spins to its 8,250-rpm redline faster than the driver can find words to describe it. Sadly, a tinny exhaust note accompanies the experience. And although the SMG delivers expert gearchanges most of the time, it can be slow on the draw when the driver summons maximum warp speed and isn't especially smooth during full-throttle upshifts. For those who would rather take matters into their own hands, this year's available six-speed manual transmission should be a welcome addition.