The Truth About Cars » M5 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 18:25:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » M5 Autoblog Finds The New M5 6MT To Be Quite Unsatisfying At Nine-Tenths Thu, 11 Oct 2012 13:00:31 +0000

We haven’t had the chance to thrash the newest M5 around a racetrack yet, but Autoblog has been granted the privilege of running “nine-tenths” around both the Ascari course (in the DCT) and Laguna Seca (in the new six-speed manual variant). What do they have to say for themselves?

In his article on the new six-speed manual M5 — a variant that, like the six-speed manual E60 M5 before it, is exclusively supplied to the North American market as a concession to the BMWCCA Club Race crowd — Michael Harley is not enthusiastic about the “enthusiast” M5.

we were very involved as all four of our limbs were tasked with an individual role. The 6MT required us to become an integral part of the car – both microprocessor and hydraulic actuator – and our attention had to be diverted from the apex and exit markers to get the shifts just right. We were plenty quick in the 6MT (thankfully, gobs of torque allowed the M5 to run most of the track in third gear), but we lost precious time on a few shifts and had to really concentrate on nailing the downshift into second gear at Turn 11. It was also much more nerve racking flying one-handed through Turn One at 100-plus mph…

While there is nothing physically wrong with the manual box, rowing one’s own gears is based on a technology that peaked in the mid-1990s (think Acura NSX, Mazda MX-5 Miata or Honda S2000), and it really isn’t going to get any better…

the M5′s 6MT is a Frankensteinian adaptation to the platform incapable of handling the same stress as its dual-clutch sibling – that’s a fact…

While our enthusiast-rich blood craves involvement, in this particular situation, it became painfully clear that the computer-controlled 7DCT is the M5′s better transmission.

The guy writes like he’s Seb Vettel adjusting the fuel map in the middle of 130R or something while holding Lewis Hamilton exactly 1.2 seconds behind him to simultaneously conserve his tires and preserve the DRS distance. Is it really that difficult to drive a manual-transmission vehicle around a mostly empty racetrack? What would happen if the M5 had a regular old Blaupunkt FM radio with a knob?

we were very involved as each finger was tasked with individual control of the knob surface. The FM radio required us to become an integral part of the car — both frequency-locking quartz crystal and amplitude/quality evaluation microprocessors. It was nerve-racking trying to dial in the perfect sound for Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” while at the same time inching forward in traffic.

Mr. Harley seems surprised and hugely impressed by the fact that the DCT gets around the racetrack quicker. He shouldn’t be. That’s been true of automanual transmissions more or less since the F355 F1 first made its way into the nightmares of Ferrari mechanics. He does, however, condescend to recommend something for the throwbacks who can’t stand to have a computer changing gear: they should go buy an E39 M5 with a stick-shift.

For better or worse, Mr. Harley’s autojourno privilege is on stark display here. Many prospective M5 buyers don’t want the choice of a clutch and stick for lap time, on-road pleasure, or even enthusiast credential at the Cars and Coffee. They want it because even after fifteen or so years of automated non-epicyclic transmissions, the technology is still fragile, difficult, expensive to repair, and resale poison everywhere the buyer has a choice. The people who are considering dropping $90K on these cars aren’t all lease-and-dump trustafarians looking to make a splash in the campus parking lot. Many of them are long-time BMW fans who keep their cars a long time. The pages of Roundel are filled with one-owner M cars from the Nineties, and they are also filled with llistings for SMG or DCT-equipped M cars selling for a considerable discount from their stick-shift kin.

Your humble author was a CCA member from 2001, when he got his first new Bimmer, to 2011, when he completely gave up on the brand. During that time, I came to know the mindset of M-car purchasers. Many of them look at automanuals as expensive transmission replacements waiting to happen. They don’t care about lap time — the ones who do care are running hopped-up E36es with numbers on the door. They want a durable, exciting sedan that makes them feel like an Autobahn dominator while they commute in bumper-to-bumper traffic. They want that car to last, they want to be able to enjoy it the whole time, and they want to get real money for it when they sell.

For those reasons and many others, BMW’s decision to bring the “throwback” transmission to us here in the States is a genuine, and useful, nod to the company’s emotional core. Mr. Harley is correct — at the awesome track velocities he and his compatriots achieve, the manual falls down. In the real world, however, it stands tall.

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Review: 2012 BMW X5M Mon, 28 Nov 2011 18:14:13 +0000

If you ask a certain segment of the automotive press, it seems that BMW is rapidly losing the plot. While I agree that BMW’s latest wares are bigger, heavier and more leather-clad than ever before, I can’t say thing is a bad thing in my mind. I upset a few people when I reviewed the then-new 335is by saying “BMW is the new Mercedes”. I’m not sure why noses were “rankled”, but there seems to be a large segment of TTAC’s readership that believe BMW has abandoned “sport” for “luxury”. Maybe they are right; the M3 and M5 have been gaining weight an alarming pace and now we have the X5M and X6M, a pair of 5,400lb SUVs wearing full-on M badges. The burning question at TTAC is: should the guy responsible for designing it be committed? Or should the vehicle be put in a straight-jacket for being a totally insane machine?

From the outside the X5M looks less “M” compared to its donor model than do the M sedans. Sure there are enlarged grilles on the front, unique bumpers, and quad exhaust tips out back, but the overall form doesn’t scream “something wicked this way comes” like an M3. Helping the X5M blend into the urban jungle is the 2” hitch receiver, a first on M vehicles as is the tow rating of a healthy 6600lbs. Closer inspection however reveals the subtle tweaks to this urban assault vehicle include some seriously wide 315-series rubber out back, ginormous brakes and a plethora of radiators visible behind the large mesh grill openings.

On the inside of the X5 it will take very observant passenger to tell the difference between the go-fast model and the plebian people movers. Of course there are bespoke X5M gauges greeting the driver and the thick rimmed M steering wheel is also along for the ride. Aside from the driver’s controls however the majority of the X5M’s interior is lifted directly from the lower models. Fit and finish was excellent in our tester (as you would expect at this price) but I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed by the so-called “carbon fiber” leather trim which appears to just be black leather embossed with a carbon fiber pattern. I think some dark stained wood or brushed aluminum would be been more befitting of the X5M’s target market, but what do I know? The only toll on the interior taken by the M conversion that we observed was the loss of the third-row-seat option. If you’re a family of seven with a need for speed, you might have to wait and see if Mercedes will sell you a 7-seat ML AMG.

By now the suspense is likely killing you, after all we haven’t even mentioned the new M engine under the hood of the X5M so here we go: Turbo lovers rejoice! Squeezed under the bulging hood of the X5M beats a 4.4L twin-turbo V8 engine cranking out 555HP and a mind numbing 500 lb-ft of torque. While this engine is quite similar to the X5 xDrive50i’s 4.4L twin turbo V8, there are some significant differences, most notably the broader torque curve. The “pedestrian” 4.4L engine delivers 450lb-ft from 1750-4500RPM while the X5M’s mill broadens the torque plateau to 1500-5650 and the difference is marked behind the wheel. Power is routed to all four wheels via a heavy-duty ZF 6-speed automatic transmission, BMW’s full-tine AWD system and of course, a torque vectoring rear differential. I have seen complaints by the forum fan-boys whining that BMW didn’t put their dual-clutch M transmission under the hood of the X5M, but to me at least, the softer (and more “normal” feeling) shifts of the ZF transmission are more suitable for SUV use.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Some years ago when I heard the first rumors about the X5M, I was concerned that BMW would make their first sports SUV rear wheel drive only. I’m sure a RWD SUV would have pleased the BMW purists in the crowd, however, the X5M may just be the sports car for the rest of us. How so? It’s all about applying the power for me. While Jaguar XFR and last generation M5 I tested were a blast to drive, both spent considerable amounts of time at the starting gates spinning their wheels. 0-60 testing a two-wheel drive high-output vehicle takes a certain amount of time and finesse to get the best possible numbers out of the vehicle. The X5M just requires a heavy right foot. The same can be said for the fun-factor of the X5M when on a windy mountain road: just mash the go pedal and hang on.

The X5M is not the best handling car I have ever driven, but it is quite possibly the most confidant. The torque vectoring rear differential helps the X5M feel like a much lighter vehicle on windy roads and the permanent AWD system means it’s easy to stomp on the throttle at just about any moment without everything going pear-shaped. For those of us that aren’t Jack Baruth, this much power needs four powered-wheels. Back to the handling; while the X5M is not a 911 on the track, it is (no kidding at all) at the top end of the handling scale in general. While on a twisty road I frequent, I let a brand new Porsche Cayman S pass (because I thought I’d slow the fun down), just to see how I’d do, I tried to keep up with the light-weight Porsche. To my surprise the X5M picked up its lederhosen and danced. While the Cayman was more nimble in the tight corners common to any coastal California road, the X5M’s massive thrust more than compensated in the short straightaways. With the right driver, on a closed course, I have little doubt the 5,400lb SUV would have spanked the bantam weight Porsche.

While the X5M weighs nearly 2400lbs more than a Cayman S PDK, our 0-60 tests revealed the BMW to be faster than all but the fastest of Stuttgart’s wares. BMW’s website quotes an official 4.5 seconds to 60, but our first run on a cool 50 degree morning yielded an eye-popping 4.05 second run. Amazed, disturbed, and incredulous we spent the next 30 minutes verifying and re-verifying our numbers. After a morning where we consumed about 15-gallons of premium dinosaur we arrived at two conclusions: The first is that the X5M has a “problem” with heat soak despite the mammoth intercoolers, and the second is that BMW is totally honest about the 4.5 second 0-60 time. What do I mean? Let’s talk numbers, our first run clocked at 4.05, our next was 4.1 and by the time we had done our 25th back-to-back run our times had “ballooned” to 4.51 seconds which represents a variance of about 12%. What should you get out of our experimentation? Unless you are really pounding the snot out of the twin-turbo V8, you’ll pretty much always beat that guy in the Carrera 4S next to you. Need some crazier numbers? The old M5 needed 4.4 seconds to achieve the same speed (as does the M3 in manual form), making the X5M not only the fastest car we’ve tested from BMW so far, but perhaps the fastest car TTAC has tested period.

Because the concept of “launch control” on a nearly three-ton SUV with a regular-old slush-box is about as insane as the SUV itself is, we must go over the feature as it did make a 1/10th of a second difference in the 0-60 time. Here’s how you activate it: With the vehicle stopped, you put your foot on the brake pedal, slide the shifter over to M/S mode and then use the paddle shifter to out the transmission into M1. You then need to put the stability control into MDM mode, select the sport program from for the M Engine dynamics control (these two actions can be linked to the M button on the steering wheel). You then floor the car and a little checkered flag appears in the cluster. You then let your foot off the brake pedal and the X5M takes off like a daemon possessed Chucky doll cranking out crispy shifts like a Gatling gun (as long as you don’t lift). As if common sense wasn’t enough, the manual reminds you to not use launch control while towing a trailer. We tested the X5M with a 5,000lb trailer and trust us, launch control was not required.

Competition to the X5M can of course be found from all the usual suspects: the Range Rover Sport Supercharged, the ML63 AMG, and of course the Cayenne Turbo. The Range Rover retains some of its off-roading ability making it far less capable on-road than the BMW (and not quite the same creature). By all appearances, Mercedes decided not to tackle the X5M head on with the ML63 as it’s down on power, torque and needs almost a full second more to get to freeway speeds. This leaves the Cayenne Turbo the sole competition for the X5M if you care about handling and speed. Strangely enough however, even with the brief 30 minute test drive I was able to finagle in a Cayman Turbo it was obvious the Porsche is more of a luxury SUV than a sports SUV with a more supple, less connected ride,  a transmission more willing to upshift (and gear-hunt) and a considerably larger price tag. While the Porsche represents a more refined SUV without question, the BMW is by far the performance winner. It’s also the maddest in the bunch and if the X5M was a person it would be bound in a straight-jacket and locked in a padded cell.

OK, so it’s an insane vehicle that’s crazy fast and crazy fun, but who’s it for? This is twisted logic, so stay with me here: If you are the kind of middle-class guy that has a Porsche Cayman for the daily commute, a trailer for weekend camping which, because we’re Americans and we cannot possibly tow a 1,200lb “toy hauler” with our car, also meant buying a pick-up truck, you should save yourself the garage space and buy the X5M instead. It’s a far better sports car than a Cayman, and oddly enough the 555HP and 500lbft of torque make it one of the best tow vehicles this side of a diesel F-250. The price of this joy? $95,000. Still, that’s cheaper than a Cayman and an F-250. I’ll take my straight jacket in blue please.


BMW provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review.

Statistics as tested

0-30: 1.35 Seconds

0-60: 4.05 Seconds

1/4 Mile: 12.6 Seconds @ 111.2 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 15.2 MPG over 483 miles

2012 BMW X5M Front Right IMG_4701 IMG_4702 IMG_4703 IMG_4704 IMG_4706 IMG_4707 IMG_4710 IMG_4712 IMG_4713 IMG_4714 IMG_4715 IMG_4716 IMG_4718 X5M Twin Turbo V8 IMG_4725 IMG_4726 IMG_4728 Driver Side Interior IMG_4731 IMG_4734 IMG_4735 IMG_4737 IMG_4738 IMG_4740 IMG_4741 IMG_4746 IMG_4747 IMG_4751 IMG_4753 M Instrument Cluster IMG_4755 IMG_4757 IMG_4758 IMG_4759 IMG_4761 X5M Cargo Area IMG_4765 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 77
BMW Unleashes M5 Gen5. TTAC Gives You All The Pictures You Can Eat Thu, 22 Sep 2011 18:53:20 +0000

BMW released the fifth generation of its high-performance M5 sedan. It is also the world premiere of a new high-revving 4.4-litre V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo package.(“Twin Scroll Twin Turbo technology, cross-bank exhaust manifold, High Precision Direct Petrol Injection and VALVETRONIC fully variable valve control; 412 kW/560 hp at 6,000 – 7,000 rpm, maximum torque: 680 Newton metres (502 lb-ft) from 1,500 rpm; maximum speed: 7,200 rpm; wet sump lubrication optimised for high lateral loads, lag-free power delivery, typical M car thrust.”) Yumsville. Loads of pictures after the jump …

The car gets you to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds. Maximum torque increased by 30 per cent over the predecessor, while fuel consumption dropped by green conscience-enhancing 30 per cent.

In the gadget department, the car comes with “Head-Up Display, Adaptive Headlights for standard xenon light, High-Beam Assistant, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian detection, Lane Change Warning System, Lane Departure Warning System, Surround View, Speed Limit Info, internet usage, extended integration of smartphones and music players, real-time traffic information and apps for receiving web radio and using Facebook and Twitter.”

BMW sent me more info on the M5 than even a longtime veteran of the auto propaganda business can stomach and possibly work through. But far from me to withhold it from you. Here it is in full length.

The new BMW M5. (09/2011) P90083783 P90083782 P90083781 P90083780 P90083779 P90083778 P90083777 P90083776 P90083775 P90083774 P90083773 P90083772 P90083771 The new BMW M5, M Double Clutch Transmission with Drivelogic. (09/2011) P90083769 P90083768 P90083767 The new BMW M5. (09/2011) P90083697 P90083655 P90083654 P90083653 P90083652 P90083651 P90083650 P90083649 P90083648 P90083647 P90083646 P90083645 P90083644 P90083643 P90083642 P90083641 The new BMW M5. (09/2011) Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail ]]> 38
Piston Slap: E39 M5, Labor of Lust? Mon, 19 Sep 2011 15:56:16 +0000  

Still The Ultimate...


Jul writes:

Hey Man, I’d like to have your opinion: What do you think of the E39 M5?

Let me rephrase: What would you think about a 98000 miles absolutely mint condition, owned by an older gentleman with 3 or 4 other cars (the E39 not being his daily driver), with VANOS changed, clutch changed, and everything that could break down been changed as a preventive measure, E39 M5? … For $15K?

Wondering if I would treat myself to a potential money pit here buying this beast (that I already test drove, I’m in Love) knowing that I will not be driving it more than…5000 miles a year for the next two years MAX!


Sajeev answers:

I gotta say, E39 M5s are still the best super sedan on the planet. Sure they aren’t the top performer and lack the necessary gadgetry to spank today’s overstyled iron, but the driving experience is purer in the best BMW sedan ever made. The only flaw was the numb steering on-center. Which I quickly overlooked to fall in love with the rest of the package: I drove the finest E39 M5 (Sterling Gray with Caramel Leather) in 2002 and…well…that car completely changed my life.

Go ahead and buy it, but have about $5000 lying around for the next two years, because you could very well use it. Anything with rubber can and will fail at this age: go price a new power steering hose and see for yourself. The pixels (that always fail) on the cluster will be another few hundred. Anything that can possibly wear will do just that, even if the car sits around for most of the time. Time is not on its side, this will be a labor of love.

No wait…a labor of lust. I would buy this car, but you have been warned.

Jul answers:

Hey Sajeev,

Thanks a lot for the super quick reply man, really appreciate. As far as your answer I think we’re on the same page, unfortunately, if I want to be serious…I ride my motorcycle 90% of the time to commute but once in a while I need 4 wheels…So I guess the M5 would be driven about 2 days a week average, not enough to sit and wear all the rubber and seal components but still… As far as the pixel on the meter cluster screen they already started, it made me laugh cuz you’re right: They always do!

Oh well… I think I’m going to keep enjoying the bike and my old car and will wait a bit for a sport sedan… It’s not like I REALLY need it at the moment, but I liked entertaining the idea I think.

Sajeev concludes:

I really want you to buy this car, even if common sense demands otherwise. One thing we need to be clear on: rubber degrades just by sitting around…and once you heat cycle it a few times because you want to take the M5 on a few trips….boing! Something fails! And that’s assuming that all the electrics, leather, paint, suspension bits are like new. Which isn’t the smartest idea.

Tell me how this turns out for you.

Send your queries to . Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

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Quote Of The Day: The Ultimate Data Machine Edition Tue, 09 Aug 2011 23:47:17 +0000

The source of today’s Quote Of The Day, a BMW M Division engineer, is clearly not a native English speaker, but he reveals just where performance cars like the new M5 are going when he says:

More and more demand is from our test engineers from the referring(?) departments and they come over and 80%, 90% are only working on the electronic systems. The other 10, 20 percent are working at the car, under the car….

Of course, the M engineers aren’t developing a car from the ground up here, but it’s still amazing that the workload is so unevenly weighted towards electronic rather than, for lack of a better term, “greasy hands” work.

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Look At, But Don’t Talk To, The New BMW M5 (F10) Thu, 16 Jun 2011 14:35:10 +0000

The BMW F10 M5 has been shot at the Nürburgring, shown as a “concept,” and has generally been exposed to expectant fans the world over. But even as it was caught prepping for US market duty in Southern California, the name of the game was “look but don’t talk.” We’ve discussed the anti-social tendencies of test mule drivers before, but for some reason it always seems to surprise the folks who come across a mule on the road. On the other hand, if you saw a brand-new M5 on the road with private plates, would you expect the driver to give you the time of day? I thought not.

f10m55 f10m57 f10m5 f10m56 f10m53 f10m51 f10m52 f10m58 f10m59 ]]> 20