Used 2016 BMW M5 Review
Edmunds expert review
Looking for a luxury sedan that can provide plenty of luxury and cabin space? What about one that can blow the doors off most sports cars, too? Well, you'll love the 2016 BMW M5. It packs up to 600 horsepower under its business-suit-like skin.
What's new for 2016
If you believe more of a good thing is even better, we think you'll like the 2016 BMW M5. That's because it takes a favorite hot rod trick of automotive enthusiasts through the generations (stuffing a powerful engine under the hood of a familiar model) to a level of performance and sophistication those early hot rodders could scarcely imagine.
To call this BMW a hot rod really doesn't do it justice, however. True, it's got the usual go-fast bits and pieces, including a twin-turbocharged V8 that puts out up to 575 horsepower, a beefed-up suspension and performance-oriented rubber for better handling, and just enough subtle body mods to add a touch of menace. But the hot rod analogy breaks down because the M5 is also a highly refined luxury sedan. Especially compared to previous M5 generations, this model puts extra emphasis on luxury, technology and interior room.
There is a minor downside to this approach, however. If you're hoping to get a supremely rewarding driving experience from the M5, you'll probably be a little disappointed. At times, the car can seem a bit aloof and disconnected. Other supersport sedans, including the 2016 Audi RS 7, 2016 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and 2016 Porsche Panamera, are more fun to drive. Still, we're talking small degrees here. Which of the above ultimately tickles your high-performance fancy will be a highly personal decision, and we're confident the slightly more civilized 2016 BMW M5 won't disappoint.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 BMW M5 is a high-performance, four-door luxury sedan with seating for five. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, summer performance tires, an adaptive suspension, adaptive xenon headlights, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors, a sunroof, a power liftgate, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, 16-way power sport front seats, heated front seats, front seat memory settings, folding rear seats and a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column. Standard electronics include the iDrive electronics interface, a navigation system, voice controls, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW Assist telematics, and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a six-CD changer, HD radio, satellite radio and a USB input.
The optional Competition package brings 15 extra horsepower via unique engine and exhaust tuning, along with black chrome tailpipes, special 20-inch wheels, and a more aggressive state of tune for the steering, suspension, stability control system and electronically controlled rear differential.
Also optional is the Driver Assistance Plus package that adds lane departure and blind-spot monitoring systems, a forward collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection, speed-limit information and side- and top-view cameras. The Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection includes an infrared camera that detects objects/pedestrians and sends images and warnings to the dashboard display screen.
The Executive package adds LED headlights with automatic high-beam control, cornering lights, soft-close doors, four-zone automatic climate control, ventilation and massage functionality for the front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a power rear sunshade, manual rear side-window shades and a head-up display.
Stand-alone options include special interior and exterior trims and finishes, 20-inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, an upgraded 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system, a rear seat entertainment system (with dual 9.2-inch screens) and smartphone app integration that includes LTE Wi-Fi connectivity and various mobile-office functions.
Finally, the Pure Metal Silver Limited Edition M5, of which BMW says only 50 will be sold in the United States, has unique exterior paint, 20-inch wheels, a special version of the Competition package that boosts engine output to 600 hp, and a standard M Driver's package that includes a one-day driving school and a higher top-speed limiter (190 mph).
Performance & mpg
The rear-wheel-drive 2016 BMW M5 is powered by a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that produces 560 hp (575 hp with the Competition package, 600 hp with the Pure Metal Silver edition) and 500 pound-feet of torque (516 lb-ft with the Pure Metal Silver). A seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters comes standard, but a conventional six-speed manual transmission is a no-cost option. All M5s feature a defeatable automatic stop-start engine function and a torque-vectoring rear differential.
The EPA estimates that the M5 will return 17 mpg combined (15 city/22 highway) with the six-speed manual transmission and 16 combined (14 city/20 highway) when equipped with the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
In Edmunds testing, a manual-shift M5 (absent the Competition package) hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. BMW says the M dual-clutch transmission is quicker still at 4.2 seconds, partly due to a sophisticated launch control system.
The 2016 BMW M5 comes standard with ventilated antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, cornering brake control, brake-fade compensation, automatic brake drying and hill hold assist. It also comes with front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, knee protection, side curtain airbags, active front-seat head restraints, a rearview camera and a subscription to BMW Assist emergency services.
Carbon-ceramic brakes are a stand-alone option, as is a night-vision camera system capable of identifying and displaying oncoming animals, objects or people beyond the range of the car's headlights. In addition, the Driver Assistance Plus package adds lane departure and blind-spot monitoring systems, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, speed-limit information, and side- and top-view cameras.
In Edmunds brake testing, an M5 with the standard brake setup took 111 feet to stop from 60 mph — an impressive, though essentially expected, performance for a sedan of this caliber.
As you'd expect, the 2016 BMW M5 will feed your need for speed regardless of the circumstances. Having 560 hp (or more) available at the merest whim of your right foot will do that. Even better, the twin-turbocharged engine spools up with little turbo lag, though full power and that sweet V8 exhaust note don't really come on until about 3,000 rpm. Not that you'll have much opportunity to enjoy the latter, as very little of the commotion emanating from beneath the hood makes its way into the hushed luxury sedan cabin.
When it comes to shifting gears, the seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission operates as smoothly as a traditional automatic in its Comfort mode. But it can also rip off blindingly fast shifts in manual mode via the shift lever or steering-wheel-mounted paddles in its Sport and Sport+ settings. The available six-speed manual transmission has an appropriately sporty feel and will even blip the throttle on downshifts.
Though all the available engine, transmission, suspension and steering settings are certainly impressive, some drivers will find it all ends up being too much of a good thing. There are more than 100 possible combinations, some of which have no noticeable effect or put the M5's capable performance into what might as well be hibernation. That said, the car's personality differs distinctly from its most sedate to its most performance-oriented settings.
With those latter settings dialed in, the M5 remains utterly composed with negligible body roll when pushed hard in fast corners. The downside to a suspension this firm, of course, is a somewhat harsh ride quality, especially on models fitted with the Competition option package — something to bear in mind if you regularly travel roads with less than pristine surfaces.
Surprisingly the steering is somewhat less than optimal, with the sportier settings only adding a weightier heft without improving feedback. The standard disc brakes are standouts, however, with abundant stopping power and excellent pedal feel.
The cabin of the 2016 BMW M5 is done up in the style you'd expect from a luxury sport sedan in this price range, with top-quality leather and just enough aluminum detailing to brighten things up a bit. The front seats are as attractive as they are functional with plenty of available adjustment to keep you both comfortable on long drives and supported during enthusiastic driving. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is thick, with contours in just the right places for both comfort and confidence. As with the regular 5 Series models, rear seat passengers have enough head- and legroom to feel as if they're not being relegated to the penalty box.
Controlling the M5's myriad of systems is BMW's iDrive system. The infotainment interface continues to improve and works well, with the control knob used to pick your way through the settings for entertainment, climate control, navigation and assorted vehicle functions on the large color display screen (driving dynamics-related settings get physical buttons located around the shift lever for easier access). The top of the knob also functions as a touchpad, allowing you to enter info such as addresses into the navigation system simply by tracing letters and numbers with your finger. One word of caution, however: The sheer number of menus and settings the system offers can be overwhelming at first and will take some time to get used to.
If the interior does have real weak spots, it would be in the details such as the shortage of small storage cubbies for things such as cellphones up front or cupholders in back. When it comes to larger items, the 14-cubic-foot trunk can be expanded by folding down one or both halves of the 50/50-split rear seatbacks.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.