Question: What’s better than a BMW M5? Answer: The 2019 BMW M5 Competition. Think of it as an M5 only more so. Whatever the “normal” M5 has, the Competition offers more of. And anybody who finds any M5 “normal” I have serious questions about.
The original M5, for those who need a refresher, is the byproduct that happens when one of the inventors of the “sports sedan” really decides to let it all hang out. The first M5 was a frighteningly capable car and they only got more and more potent from there on out. For one iteration, BMW’s M5 had a V10 plant residing under its broad hood – in a sedan!
Who does that? Bavarian gearheads, that’s who.
Power & Performance
At any rate, this new, even M-ier M5 carries on that fine hot-rodding tradition. And like all hot rods, this is all about that engine baby! Oh sure, the M5 Comp turns and stops like the business too, but we all know what that “M” in BMW stands for. And in this specific instance, it stands for a high-revving M TwinPower Turbo 4.4-liter V8 that generates 617 horsepower and a tug-like 553 lb-ft. of torque. All that re-tuning to optimize torque and power delivery pays off with a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of just 3.1 seconds; the 124 mph mark reached in 10.8 seconds, and the whole shebang topping out at 189 big ones.
All that is even more impressive since the M5 Comp weighs, huh, that’s funny, BMW doesn’t mention how much this thing weighs. I’m guessing north of 4,000 lbs. but slightly less than the all up displacement of the Scharnhorst.
All that Leistung is put to the Straße via an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission and an M xDrive all-wheel drive system. Yes, it’s all-wheel drive, but the M xDrive system, which made its debut in the “standard” 2019 BMW M5, distributes the engine’s torque between the front and rear wheels via a transfer case with a fully variable, electronically-controlled multi-plate clutch – and then the Active M Differential splits the torque between the rear wheels as needed.
The M xDrive system is explicitly rear-wheel biased, so this big four-door gets incredible agility and, thanks to the Dynamic Stability Control, drive torque is distributed between the front and rear axles at the press of a button. The M Dynamic mode gives you greater slip angles and “particularly fun handling,” according to BMW.
There is the option for pure rear-wheel drive that allows “experienced and skilled drivers” to bask with no control system intervention. BMW has even gone so far as to tweak the engine mounts to optimize responsiveness and cornering characteristics.
Ride & Handling
Speaking of the handling, the M5 Competition gets model-specific chassis tuning with double-wishbones up front and a five-link deal holding up the back end. An M-specific version of the Variable Damper Control system is along for the ride with Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus modes on tap. The M Servotronic steering is an electromechanical setup.
Ride height has been dropped seven millimeters over the “normal” M5 Sedan along with tweaks to the springs and dampers, increased negative camber at the front, and toe links with ball joints instead of rubber mounts for more precise wheel control at the rear. The rate of the rear anti-roll bar is firmed up, so body roll during high-speed cornering is distributed with a pronounced rear bias. Huzzah!
Stopping is taken care of with low-weight M compound brakes with six-piston fixed calipers and perforated, inner-vented brake discs at the front, and single-piston floating calipers with an integrated parking brake at the rear. Optional M carbon-ceramic brakes are there for the asking, and you should really ask.
Visually setting the M5 Competition apart are specially-designed light-alloy wheels, high-gloss black finishers on the door handles, mirror bases and triangles, exterior mirror caps and the mesh of the gills in the front flanks. The trademark kidney grille’s surrounds are also high-gloss black along with the detailing on the rear bumper cover. The tailpipes come in black chrome and both the rear spoiler and “M5 Competition” trunk logo are finished in high-gloss black.
A distinctive “M Competition” graphic is found in the instrument cluster to greet the driver as the vehicle is starting up, and to let you know how special you are (like Beemer drivers need any more encouragement in this arena).
Sadly, no word on pricing or availability, but you still want one, don’t you?
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. His forthcoming new book The Future In Front of Me, The Past Behind Me will be available soon. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.