Horsepower: 625 hp
Top Speed: 190 mph
0-60: 3.1 seconds
Quarter Mile: 10.5 seconds
Braking Distance (70 mph to 0): 147 feet
At one point in BMW’s storied past, the M5 was their flagship sedan. Back in 1986 when the first M5 rolled off the assembly lines it was the fastest production sedan ever made. But at some point, it lost that darling status in favor of the more compact M3, which graced the covers of movies and video games for over a decade.
But then sport compacts completely fell off the public radar in favor of muscle cars and big SUVs. The M3 was certainly no muscle car, and although the M5 is far too refined to ever be called a muscle car, it is roughly the same size. Thus, you see the M5 lined up against heavy American coupes like the Mustang and Dodge Challenger, often to the muscle car’s deep and lasting shame.
Do not be fooled: the M5 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The current generation of M5 started with roughly 600 hp and a zero to sixty time of just 3.3 seconds. Seeing the potential for more, BMW gave the M5 the same treatment as they did the M2 Competition and coaxed yet more power from the big 4.4-L twin-turbo V8.
BMW advertises the M5 Competition as having 617 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. However, once placed on a dyno it becomes clear that the M5 actually has more power than BMW would like to let on: it’s over 630 hp and nearly 600 lb-ft of torque at peak engine output. You get a sense that BMW was trying to create a sleeper car in the M5 Competition, although anyone who knows what the look for would never be fooled.
If the sporty black accents covering the BMW kidney beans, side mirrors, and B-pillars weren’t already a dead give away, the Competition’s active exhaust would spill the beans as soon as the engine is turned on. The only real complaint anyone ever had for the M5 was how understated the car's sound was. Now you can turn the M5 Competition into a roaring tiger at the press of a button.
Besides the black paint and the beautiful exhaust, there are other, more subtle upgrades to tell the M5 Competition apart. The adaptive suspension has been lowered by 7 mm (about a quarter of an inch) and stiffened by 10% over the regular M5. Optional carbon-ceramic brakes can replace the regular vented discs and come with 6-piston calipers. There’s also a new anti-roll bar that further strengthens the chassis for taking corners far faster than a 4,300 lb sedan ever should.
There’s still a lot of carry-over from the M5, though. There’s still the same 8-speed automatic that can be placed in manual mode to use the paddle shifters behind the wheel. The transmission can also go from 4-wheel-drive to 2-wheel-drive at the press of a button, allowing the M5 Competition to perform some serious drifts in an empty parking lot.
The Competition is also just as luxurious as the standard M5. Automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, and power-folding heated side mirrors adorn the outside of the car, while inside the Competition has all the latest and greatest in BMW techno-wizardry.
A 12.3-inch instrument display shows anything that the driver could want and includes a heads-up display in case said driver doesn’t even want to look down. On top of the dash is another 10.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment and navigation which can be activated via “gesture control” in case you can’t be bothered to actually touch the screen.
Dual-zone climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated steering wheel and seats, as well as a 16-speaker Harman Kardon sound system are all standard features.
Which is to say there’s a whole lot of car stuffed into the M5 Competition. And starting at $110,000--$7,000 more than the regular M5--there’d better damn well better be.
There’s also really nothing else that can compare. Mercedes offers the AMG E63 S at $104,000, which will certainly provide all the creature comforts you get in the M5 (and possibly even more), but it falls a little short in the power department--604 hp, to be exact. We’ve seen the M5 Competition eat the E63 S for breakfast in a drag race, and we don’t expect that to get any better with a few curves thrown in.
We’re not even going to discuss what happened when a Demon lined up against the M5 Competition. Embarrassing doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Cadillac offers the CTS-V, with its 6.2-L supercharged V8 at 640 hp, but we expect it to have some trouble applying that power as a big, hulking sedan without AWD. The CTS-V’s interior also leaves something to be desired in comparison to the M5, although you might be willing to accept the lack of refinement with a price tag of $87,000.
Simply put, nothing quite compares. BMW has once again achieved the pinnacle of sedans with the M5 Competition such that we’re not sure if we’ll ever see a better one. At least, not until the next generation of M5 comes out.