You don’t have to be an astrophysicist to know that the term “launch” has always been used when firing rockets or space shuttles into space. But “launch” couldn’t be a more apt word to use for the unveiling of BMW’s ground-bound new missile.

And BMW did just that when they unveiled the all-new sixth-generation M5, the super sedan in the Bavarian carmaker’s midsize 5 Series line with a tradition of always being the fastest four-door sedan of its time.

Rocket launcher

How super? It takes 11 seconds to reach… 200km/h. The more down-to-earth benchmark of 0 to 100km/h is obliterated in 3.4 seconds, although foreign magazines have clocked the new M5 in the same acceleration run in 3.2, and even 2.9, seconds. (BMW has always been conservative in its claimed performance figures.) The BMW M5 is a rocket in every sense of the word. And it seats four passengers in utmost space, comfort, and luxury. Try that in your waist-high supercar.

This level of power comes from a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 generating 600hp and 750Nm of thrust, er, torque. This powerplant is mated to a new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic that has been geared for racecar-like performance with incredibly short shift times.

Now with all-wheel-drive—but with a Rear-Wheel Drive Mode

A first for a BMW M model (with the exception of the BMW M X Series SAVs) is the fitment of an M-specific all-wheel-drive system, the M xDrive. When the engine is first started, the new M5 will be in all-wheel-drive mode with Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) switched on. The driver is then able to vary the handling characteristics of the car by activating various driving dynamics modes, including a rear-wheel-drive mode with no DSC. In this 2WD mode, the new BMW M5 allows accomplished drivers to enjoy a truly pure form of high-performance driving (read: do spectacular drifts and burnouts).

Switching to the M Dynamic mode (MDM, 4WD Sport) gives a further major boost to the car’s Nurburgring-tuned handling agility. Yet more drive torque is now directed to the rear axle, while the amount of permissible rear wheel slip is increased. This lets drivers put the new M5 into controlled drifts and enjoy its playful handling. While doing so, the onset of oversteer is noticeable in good time and the linear increase of the sideslip angle means that the vehicle remains stable even when driving at the limit.

The precise, agile handling that drivers have come to expect from previous M5’s has been further optimized for the new car. Individual driver needs for configuring the vehicle include M xDrive, the eight-speed M Steptronic with Drivelogic, the M-specific Variable Damper Control (including three modes: Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus) with electronically controlled shock absorbers and M Servotronic steering (including three modes: Comfort, Sport, and Sport Plus).

The M5 comes with M compound brakes fitted as standard. Being significantly lighter than conventional cast iron items, these have the distinct benefit of reducing unsprung mass. At the front, the braking force is applied to perforated, inner-vented brake discs by blue-painted six-piston calipers featuring the M logo.

M carbon-ceramic brakes are also available as an option on the M5. These are instantly recognizable from the gold-colored calipers with M logo (six-piston calipers in front) and are 23kgs lighter, which means a further reduction in unsprung and rotating masses. This offers many benefits, including improved driving dynamics and increased riding comfort. The M carbon-ceramic brakes provide even better braking performance than M compound brakes, as well as further improved fade resistance and even higher thermal stability. What is more, they withstand wear exceptionally well.

The tires (20-inch seven-double-spoke wheels in Bicolor; front: 275/35R20, at rear: 285/35R20) have been specially designed for the M5.

Spotting the alpha 5

The exterior of the new M5 features special design elements, most of which are functional instead of just visual. They include, among others: a completely new front apron with large air inlets to enhance cooling for the engine and the brakes, the sculpted aluminum hood with M5-specific contours, the wider M-specific aluminum front fenders with their characteristic “M gills” and M5 designation, the contoured self-colored Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) roof to lower the car’s center of gravity and reduce weight, and the M-specific aerodynamic side mirrors.

Then there are the M rear diffuser and the lower bumper trim, both with a BMW M5-specific design, as well as the M rear apron, the M rear spoiler and the complete covers for the side sills, which further underline the high-performance appeal of the new M5.

The new BMW M5 can be ordered in a variety of exterior colors, some of which are exclusive for the M5. New additions to the spectrum include Marina Bay Blue Metallic, an intense shade of blue. Matte finishes such as Frozen Dark Silver and Frozen Arctic Grey can be specified as options.

M-specific interior

The new M5 sets the benchmark for the latest technology in performance sedans. This includes the Navigation Professional and BMW iDrive 6 systems as well as an M-specific Head-Up Display. Drivers will find that everything in the cockpit, which features an M leather steering wheel equipped with multifunction buttons and shift paddles, has been designed to enable a dynamic driving experience.

The new M5 is trimmed with Merino leather as standard. The driver and front passenger settle into M sports seats with electric adjustment and an embossed M logo in the head restraints. Aside from electric adjustment for the seat depth, there is also pneumatic backrest width adjustment to deliver optimum lateral support, which is particularly important during high-g cornering.

The new BMW M5 retails for P14,790,000, breathtakingly expensive for any four-door sedan, but incredibly inexpensive for any car that can run—or outrun—those Italian exotics.

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