What is it?
The BMW M5 Competition Package is the fastest M5 yet and, along with similarly specified versions of the M6, the most powerful road car BMW has ever built.
It sees the standard car fitted with a range of performance-enhancing parts and a new engine calibration that boosts the power figure by 15bhp to 567bhp. While peak torque remains unchanged, it is available over a slightly wider range of engine speeds.
Resultantly, the 0-62mph time is reduced by 0.1sec to 4.2sec and the 0-124mph time is shaved by 0.2sec. Top speed remains limited to 155mph.
The bigger changes concern the chassis. The springs and damping rate has been increased by 20 per cent, and the anti-roll bars are 15 per cent stiffer. The car sits 10mm lower. The Active M Differential has a standalone control unit, the ESP’s M Dynamic mode allows a greater angle of slip and the steering has a new map to make it 10 per cent more direct than the standard car. An active flap in the exhaust increases noise at high speeds.
Visual changes are limited to a design of 20in alloy wheels specific to the Competition Package, black chrome tailpipes and gold brake callipers.
What's it like?
A more focused version of one of the world’s best supersaloons. Criticisms of the BMW M5 are relatively few, but we found the standard brakes suffer from fade when pushed hard on track. Not so with the carbon ceramics fitted to our test car - another £7,395 option - which are able to stand up to abuse lap after lap. And that’s no mean feat when hauling 1945kg from 155mph.
It’s harder to see the stark benefits of an additional 15bhp on a car that develops 552bhp out of the box. Turning the throttle map and gearshift settings to their most ferocious, and 4.2sec to 62mph is believable. The car remains hugely muscular, through to around 5000rpm, when an extra surge pushes the needle to the 7200rpm redline that little bit quicker.
The chassis? Without a back-to-back comparison, it’s hard to tell if the revised suspension calibration has made a significant difference. What is clear is that the big M5 remains a brutal performance tool up to the limit, but wonderfully controllable beyond it.
Despite the DSC’s M Dynamic mode receiving a new map, it is too eager to activate, which substantially slowed progress through some of Estoril’s slower bends. Interestingly, the system’s warning light was flickering when accelerating well into three figures, although it didn’t appear to affect straight-line pace.
Should I buy one?
If you regularly push your M5 hard, or use it on track days, then yes. In practice it is far harder to see the evidence of the other modifications, although none of them harm the rounded appeal of the M5.
BMW M5 Competition Package
Price £80,205; 0-62mph 4.2sec; Top speed 155mph (limited); Economy 28.5mpg; CO2 232g/km; Kerb weight 1945kg; Engine V8, 4395cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 567bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 501lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic