The BMW M5 is one of the most practical performance cars on sale. It’ll sprint from 0-100km/h in almost three seconds flat yet has a cabin packed with high-tech kit, a big boot and enough space inside for five adults.
The M5 tries its best to stand out in the company of the Mercedes E63 AMG and slinky Porsche Panamera. It’s wider, lower and more aggressive than the standard 5 Series and comes with a bunch of new creases and intakes. Fire up its 600hp 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine and there’s even a special valve that can adjust its vocal range from a neighbour-friendly rumble to a much brasher bark.
This split personality extends to its clever four-wheel-drive system – a first for any M5. In four-wheel drive mode it’ll blast noisily from 0-62mph in just 3.1 seconds with barely a squeal from the tyres. That’s 0.1 seconds faster than the E63 and enough to give some two-seater supercars a run for their money.
Stick it in rear-wheel-drive mode, however, and this BMW trades outright speed for the ability to cloak any race track in the world with a cloud of tyre smoke at the merest prod of the accelerator pedal.
Once you’ve finished doing your best impersonation of Lewis Hamilton celebrating a Grand Prix victory, you’ll be just as impressed by how easy and relaxing the M5 is to drive. It’s based on the uber-high-tech 5 Series so comes with the same spacious interior, intuitive infotainment system (with a special performance-oriented display layout) and a quiet, comfortable cabin that’ll help you while away hundreds of motorway miles with ease.
There’s even more space in the back seats than you get in the Mercedes E63 and easily enough room to bring three tall friends long for the ride. Almost every surface you’ll poke feels solid and built to last, and there’s enough room in the boot to carry a few golf bags.
So it’s fast, practical and – thanks to a raft of safety systems carried over from the 5 Series – safe. It’ll even steer for you on motorways and brake automatically to help avoid crashing into obstacles ahead around town.
Unfortunately, this four-door supercar’s Achilles’ heel is its price. Even without any optional extras (such as carbon ceramic brakes), it’ll set you back nearly 100,000€. That’s around €10,000 more than an entry-level E63 and nearly double what the already rapid 5 Series 540i xDrive costs.
So, should that put you off? Well, not necessarily. If you’re looking for a supremely fast sports saloon that’s comfortable and relaxing on the daily commute and ready to pull fighter-jet G forces on an occasional trackday then it’s pretty much in a league of its own.