The first E28-generation BMW M5 appeared at the Amsterdam motor show in February 1984. In the historical roster of M-cars, it is predated only by the M1, the M635 CSi and BMW’s M5-in-all-but-name, the 1979 M535i.
The E28 needed just 282bhp to make it the world’s fastest series-production four-door. Just over 2000 were hand-built between 1985 and 1988. But close to 50,000 M5s have been built since, over four model generations.
The idea of regression may be disagreeable, but it applies to the new F10-generation BMW M5 super-saloon whether BMW likes it or not. Never before has its Motorsport division replaced a go-faster saloon with one packing fewer cylinders than its direct antecedent. Never before has it shunned a bigger, clean-revving, normally aspirated lump for ‘downsized’ turbocharging in one of its ‘blue chip’ performance saloons. Until now.
And so to the $64,000 – or rather, seventy-odd thousand pound – question: is this new M5 good enough? Is it a worthy inheritor of such an impeccable lineage? The most thorough independent assessment in the business is about to supply some answers.