2018 BMW M5

2018 BMW M5 Review

The redesigned M5 is back on the attack thanks to all-wheel drive and sharper handling.
by Calvin Kim
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

With its combination of four doors, a powerful engine and capability to take on twisty back roads, racetracks and highways with equal aplomb, BMW's M5 has been a mainstay for sport sedan buyers since 1986. But some would say BMW hasn't been keeping up with the times. Recent M5 generations lacked the athleticism of the earlier cars, and the competition keeps getting better. For this redesigned model, though, BMW is aiming to put the 2018 M5 back on top as the definitive sport sedan.

For power, the M5 relies on a retuned version of the previous car's turbocharged V8. It now pumps out 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. More notably, that power is put through a standard eight-speed automatic transmission (replacing last year's dual-clutch automatic and optional manual transmission) and an adjustable all-wheel-drive system. While BMW has used all-wheel drive for its X5 M and X6 M SUVs, this is the first time it makes an appearance on an M division sedan.

It's the 2018 M5's handling that you'll be most interested in, though. The previous M5 lacked the hard edge that made M cars unique, but this one has it. BMW says the new M5 is lighter than before and more engaging to drive. This is still a big sedan, but the revised suspension and steering calibration have brought back some of that old-school M5 mojo.

Of course, the M5 is the same well-appointed luxury sedan as the regular 5 Series. But whether there's enough luxury might be a question. Although its power and handling are prodigious, you have to know how to manipulate the dizzying number of adjustable modes for the transmission, throttle, suspension, steering, and drivetrain settings to make the most out of the car. And even with the suspension in Comfort mode, some may find the ride too harsh and the cabin too noisy.

Nevertheless, ardent sport sedan aficionados will gladly make that compromise. The 2018 BMW M5 is a dynamic return to form.

Notably, we picked the 2018 BMW M5 as one of Edmunds' Best Sport Sedans for this year.

What's new for 2018

The 2018 BMW M5 is a thoroughly pumped-up version of the 5 Series that debuted for the 2017 model year. It features a more powerful turbocharged V8 (600 hp, 553 lb-ft), an adjustable all-wheel-drive system, and a variety of changes that make it more engaging to drive than the previous M5.

We recommend

There's only one version of the M5, so getting one largely comes down to picking the colors you want. Two packages are available: the Driving Assistance Plus and the Executive. Both are worth getting if you want to burnish your M5's luxury pedigree. Apple CarPlay is oddly optional, but it's an obvious need if you own an iPhone. The carbon-ceramic brakes aren't needed unless you're planning on doing high-performance track events with your M5.

Trim levels & features

The 2018 BMW M5 is a four-door, five-seat sedan. It comes in only one primary configuration, and is equipped with a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that sends the power to all four wheels.

Standard feature highlights include 19-inch wheels, an adaptive suspension, adaptive LED headlights, a power trunklid, 20-way power front seats, a head-up display, heated steering wheel and front seats, ambient interior lighting, and a 10.2-inch touchscreen-based navigation system. For the audio system, the M5 comes with a 16-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound system. Standard safety features include front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind-spot detection and front collision mitigation.

There are two option packages. The Driving Assistance Plus package enhances the onboard safety package by adding active lane keeping assist, front and rear cross traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control. The Executive package adds a smorgasbord of luxury features such as four-zone climate control, power rear sunshade with manual side window shades, ventilated and massaging front seats and heated rear seats, wireless phone charging, an onboard LTE data modem, soft-close doors, automatic parking, and a surround-view camera system.

Finally, numerous stand-alone options that span performance, luxury and safety features are available. These include larger 20-inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, night vision, Apple CarPlay connectivity, a rear-seat entertainment system, a sunroof, and a 16-speaker Bowers & Wilkins audio system.

Trim tested

Edmunds attended a First Drive event and sampled the car, but our time with it was limited, as was the scope of interaction. So the following is only our first take on what's significant and what you can expect. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2018 BMW M5 (turbo 4.4L V8 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).


Even with the new all-wheel-drive system, the M5 still handles like a rear-wheel-drive car. Power is bountiful and catapults the car from zero to 60 mph in a claimed, and believable, 3.2 seconds. But if you don't set the modes just right, shifts can be slower than expected.


The 20-way power seats are exemplary, as is the intuitive and easy-to-use climate control system. Interior noise from the tires and wind is noticeable. The ride may be choppy for some, even in its Comfort setting.


The primary controls are intuitive, and the driving position is very adjustable. Controls for transmission, engine, steering and suspension are complex, but configurations can be saved. The two steering-wheel-mounted M buttons that recall frequently used settings are easily accessible.


The M5's everyday usability is enhanced with a 40/20/40-split folding rear seat. And while the door pockets and center console bin are only average size, they are ergonomically located and easy to reach.


The M5's iDrive system is complex and menu-driven, but using the controller is instinctive and responsive. The climate control and radio systems have enough hard keys, so you'll only need to dip into the menus on occasions. Apple CarPlay should just be standard.

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.