Upholding the traditions of so many of BMW Motorsport’s specials, the styling of the BMW M5 is anything but overblown. Its extended side sills and modest bootlid spoiler are typically understated.

Adding a note of visual purpose, trademark quad exhaust pipes poke out from under a deeper rear valance. At the front, larger and wider air ducts feed 10 radiators.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The M5's exterior styling is typically understated

Which brings us to the rather controversial contents of the BMW M5’s engine bay.

Under the bonnet you'll find a 4.4-litre all-aluminium 90deg V8 fed by two twin-scroll Honeywell turbochargers packaged between the cylinder banks. The engine runs direct injection working at up to 200bar of pressure, as well as Valvetronic variable valve lift and double Vanos variable camshaft timing, improving performance and efficiency.

Making 552bhp between 6000rpm and 7000rpm and revving at up to 7200rpm, it offers 10 per cent more power than the model it replaced and – they say – has the high-rev fireworks and throttle response of one of BMW M’s finest. Uprate your M5 with the Competition Pack and your M5 puts out 565bhp, while a limited run Competition Edition has its output boosted to 592bhp - same as the M4 GTS.

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This V8 also produces 502lb ft between 1500rpm and 5750rpm – 30 per cent more torque than the last M5, accessible over a band of revs three times as wide. But if that’s not enough, the optional Competition Package grows power by another 15bhp and makes that 502lb ft available over a slightly wider rev range

The F10 M5 is also 30 per cent more fuel efficient than the old V10 and, fed from an 80-litre fuel tank, should contribute to a 50 per cent improvement in cruising range.

What’s particularly interesting – revealing, even – is how few of the regular 5 Series’ active chassis systems have been developed by BMW M for this car. There’s no variable-ratio electro-mechanical power steering system here, no rear-wheel steer, no active anti-roll bars – very little of the gadgetry, in fact, that BMW claims makes the standard 5 Series so much more effective to drive. Make of that what you will.

Instead, the M5 uses electro-hydraulic power steering and a strong, light, robust but simple suspension. Like the standard car’s chassis, it’s made up of double wishbones up front and multi-links at the rear. There’s a wider front track than standard, as well as forged aluminium chassis members, progressive rate springs and adaptive dampers.

Sheer mass is the only minor disappointment on the spec sheet; our test car weighed in at 1975kg with fuel.

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