2013 BMW M5 Sedan (4.4L V8 Twin-turbo w/opt. 6-speed Manual)
Driven On 9/5/2012
This rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
BMW traded the M5's all-out performance for a more well-rounded, less precise but more luxurious approach. The twin-turbo V8 is fantastically fast, while the new dual-clutch gearbox is a vast improvement. Somehow this heavier, more powerful package is also more efficient.
PerformanceEven though the M5 has become more of a luxury super sedan than a pure sport sedan like in the past, it's still one of the fastest four-doors in the world. And despite the extra weight it's carrying, it handles just as well.
Thrusty twin-turbo V8 has a bit of turbo lag, but builds nice power from 3,000 rpm to redline. No-cost six-speed manual is precise but has long throws. M-DCT would be quicker.
Firm, confidence-inspiring pedal, always linear whether at the track or around town. Hardly any nosedive. Short stopping distances considering this car weighs almost 4,400 pounds.
Good feedback through the wheel. We actually preferred the Comfort setting, as Sport and Sport Plus made the M5 feel heavier and more resistant to change direction.
The M5 understeers more than you'd think it would. But it's very forgiving when it reaches the limit. It's like the best-handling 7 Series ever. Except it's a 5.
Efficient and Sport mode mapping blip the manual M5 for you on downshifts. Exorbitant amount of driveline lash at low speeds. Sport Plus mapping is too abrupt, clutch isn't linear.
ComfortThere are some oddities with the new M5: We expected it to be more of a driver's car, but it doesn't handle as lithely as it should. Yet the suspension is on the harsh side. The seats, though, are plenty comfy and the interior is hushed.
Very wide and cushy front seats, nice compromise between comfort and lateral support. The optional cooled front seats make a lot of noise but do little to ward off swamp back.
There isn't a dramatic difference in plush level between the suspension's three modes. Even the softest, Comfort, is a bit jiggly on the highway. Sport Plus is just plain hard.
The M5 would be a quiet car if it weren't for the high level of flap/slap from the performance summer tires. The engine is super-smooth and relatively subdued at highway speeds.
InteriorThe M5 would be a quiet car if it weren't for the high level of flap/slap from the performance summer tires. The engine is super-smooth and relatively subdued at highway speeds.
HVAC controls are fully displayed on center stack, no fumbling through iDrive to find them. But even the stereo functions, which are iDrive-dependent, are easy to learn.
Pretty easy to get in/out of the front seat with good head clearance. Getting into the rear is fine, too, as the low seat height means you drop in, missing your head on the roof.
Excellent front headroom, elbow room is fantastic especially with the dual center armrest. The low rear seat gives generous headroom but you end up with the high knee effect.
Thin A-pillars and a good view over the hood. Good-size second rear side windows. Large, upswept C-pillars give a significant blind spot. Excellent (and large) rearview camera.
Narrow door pockets, no front bin and small center armrest bin. Awkward-to-access seatback pockets. Deep but narrow trunk has large opening. One cupholder up front, zero in back.
ValueIt's difficult to argue that a $100,000-plus car is a good value. Compared to the Cadillac CTS-V, it's not. But the M5's value comes from a solid reputation, superb build quality and a racing heritage.
Build Quality (vs. $)
This is a well-built machine. It feels incredibly solid, there's tight stitching, padded leather, everything has a high-quality feel…even a high-qualilty smell.
Our M5 test car had $15,900 in options, including leather and executive packages. If it were our M5 we would pass on most of those fluffy, "executive" niceties.
You're paying for a lot of car. Base price is $91,795 (including $895 destination and $1,000 gas-guzzler tax) and $107,695 as-tested. That's pricey no matter who you are.
The EPA rates the M5 six-speed manual at 15 city/22 highway/17 mpg combined. We averaged 15.1 mpg during our driving. Not exactly efficient dynamics, but better than the old M5.
The M5 has a 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, with identical coverage for the powertrain. Corrosion is 12 years/unlimited miles.
Owners will be loving the M5's free scheduled maintenance for the first 4 years/50,000 miles. There's also roadside assistance for 4 years/unlimited miles.
Fun To DriveSure, the new M5 is a bit less of a driver's machine than the previous car, but even with the increased isolation and weight, this is still a hoot to drive. High handling limits, a forceful, interesting-sounding twin-turbo V8? Yes.
This is an exceptionally nice sports/luxury sedan, lacking some driver involvement we used to associate with the M5. But wow, the power from the twin-turbo V8 is addictive.
Drive the M5 casually and it might seem soul-less. But crank up the aggression, then revel in the off-key engine note and the startling full-throttle exhaust cracks.