ON THE ROAD- IAN LYNAS PREVIEWS THE NEW BMW M5 COMPETITION
The new BMW M5 Competition, ideal for track days at Mondello Park or Kirkistown, sees the high-performance saloon returning to the stage in its sharpest and most performance-focused form to date. With a high-revving, 625bhp 4.4 litre V8 turbocharged engine and a finely-tuned chassis that incorporates new dampers, the newcomer delivers the everyday usability and comfort of an executive saloon twinned with driving pleasure and exceptional on-track ability.
With its unrivalled package including newly introduced features such as M Mode and a central information display enlarged to 12.3 inches, the BMW M5 Competition is better than ever. The heart of the matter is truly the engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology. This eight-cylinder is on tap between 1,800 and 5,860rpm and the characteristics of the V8 can be altered at the touch of a button from the EFFICIENT mode to SPORT and SPORT+, the latter two further enhancing the engine’s response to movements of the accelerator. The BMW M5 Competition sprints from rest to 100kph (62mph) in 3.3 seconds, real track performance. The eight-speed M Steptronic transmission enables short shift times and fast, precise responses to every nudge of the accelerator. The Drivelogic switch on the gear selector allows three modes for efficient, sporty or dynamically intense track driving with rapid gearshifts and you can use both the selector lever and the shift paddles on the steering wheel to take control of gear changes manually. In manual mode, they can also execute multiple downshifts to the lowest available gear, for instance when braking into tight corners. Additionally, there are no automatic up shifts when the engine is revved to the limit.
The centrally controlled interaction between the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system and the Active M Differential helps to effectively channel the engine’s output to the car’s wheels and generates enough extra traction to achieve acceleration times worthy of a super-sports car. The engine’s torque is variably distributed between the front and rear wheels via the transfer case’s electronically controlled multi-plate clutch, before the Active M Differential splits it again between the two rear wheels, as appropriate. The rear-wheel-biased setup of M xDrive provides the BMW M5 Competition with standout agility. In addition, the driver can vary the distribution of power between front and rear wheels themselves, and also adjust the responses of the Dynamic Stability Control system. M Dynamic Mode holds the key to controlled drifts and entertaining handling, and offers another three modes (with DSC deactivated) which have been optimised for track driving: as well as 4WD and 4WD Sport, drivers also have the choice of 2WD mode (also automatically disabling DSC) for the traditional BMW M5 rear-wheel drive experience. A specially tuned chassis, which includes double-wishbone front suspension and five-link rear suspension benefits from experience gained in the development of the new BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe. The electronically-controlled Variable Damper Control (VDC) system offers three driving modes – COMFORT, SPORT and SPORT+. COMFORT mode focuses on everyday usability and familiar M comfort, combined with standout dynamics. SPORT mode, meanwhile, reduces wheel and body movements to create more direct contact with the road, but still has sufficient comfort dialled in. SPORT+ mode maximises dynamic performance on smooth asphalt such as race tracks, with wheel and body movements minimised.
The M Servotronic steering gives drivers the choice of COMFORT mode for greater ease of use and lightness, in town driving and on short journeys, for example and SPORT mode, where greater steering force is required and feedback through the wheel increases noticeably. The amount of camber at the front axle enhances the car’s ability to absorb lateral forces through high-speed corners, while fitting the toe links with ball joints instead of rubber mounts has resulted in highly precise wheel guidance at the rear axle. The high spring rate of the rear anti-roll bar allows the body roll that occurs through high-speed corners to be distributed with a pronounced rear bias.
Wheels and tyres- forged, bi-colour, 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Y-spoke design (front: 9.5J x 20, rear: 10.5J x 20) and mixed-size tyres (front: 275/35R 20, rear: 285/35R 20). The standard specification has been enhanced from its predecessor and now includes sun protection glass, the new BMW Individual Lights Shadow Line, split rear folding seats and galvanic controls as standard and Harman/Kardon, Head-Up Display and adaptive LED headlights are also offered as standard as well as M seat belts, full Merino leather, Anthracite Alcantara headliner and seat heating for both front seats. BMW M5 Competition customers can choose from several new paint finishes. Colour choice the standard Brands Hatch Grey, Bluestone and Motegi Red metallic finishes while BMW Individual selection of paint finishes adds new Tanzanite Blue metallic and Aventurine Red metallic shades and the Champagne Quartz metallic finish has been renamed Alvit Grey metallic. Light-alloy wheel options now also include the 20 inch M double-spoke items in polished Orbit Grey.