From £89,705
We rated the new F90 generation M5 as best in class - did we think the same after three months with it?

Why we’re running it: To ascertain if so much power and four-wheel drive are assets or unnecessary excess. And, well, because it’s a BMW M5

Month 3Month 2Month 1 - Prices and Specification

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Life with a BMW M5: Month 3

Is it too much to expect supercar pace and executive class comfort from one car? We’ve been finding out - 29th August 2018

What’s it like to run a supercar? What’s it like to run an executive car?

It’s possible that both of these questions can be answered by explaining what it’s like to run a BMW M5. We’ve had one for a few months, in which time we’ve covered 10,000 miles.

You might well suspect that the BMW M5 isn’t like a supercar at all, despite the fact that it makes 592bhp. It hasn’t needed a service, nothing has fallen off, I haven’t grounded it on a speed ramp, nobody has tried to race me away from traffic lights and people haven’t called me rude names just for having the temerity to be driving it.

Which is a bit of a result for a car that costs more than £100,000 in this specification and does 0-60mph in 3.3sec, and so especially given the sternness of use our M5 has received.

It’s a car, see, that has been put into more articles and videos than any other long-term test car in recent memory. We picked it up in north Wales, after a quick stint on track at Anglesey, and immediately threw it into a E63/Cadillac CTS-V group test (which it won), then drove it to MIRA, where it went through our gruelling road test mill.

That’s where we recorded the aforementioned 0-60mph time, as well as being impressed as it sailed past 100mph in 7.5sec, through a standing quarter-mile in 11.5sec and a standing kilometre in 20.8sec. It lapped our dry handling circuit, in damp conditions, in 1min 14.5sec, which is about the same time as we once put a Lamborghini Murciélago around it in the dry.

Since then it has been straight-line tested for video against several rivals including a 600bhp Seat Arosa diesel (on our YouTube channel and well worth a look), and twin-tested against an Alpina B5.

Some of our testers preferred the B5’s easygoing way of doing things over the M5’s rather more sporting gait, and there are plenty of occasions when I’d feel the same. But hey, if you’re going to lose a twin test, it might as well be against a car that’s all but the same, right?

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The M5 has done all of this while keeping intact what I’d consider to be its more important role: that of executive car –a role the 5 Series does so well that

We had no other issues. In the US, M5s have been recalled to update software that can stop the fuel pump working, as has happened to one UK car I know of. There’s no British DVSA recall, but BMW’s UK head office took the car back about halfway through our loan to check it over and carry out a software update. No hardware was changed. So if you’ve got an early M5 and that update hasn’t been done by a dealer, it’s worth chasing.

The only other time the BMW needed to be stopped was when fuelling it which, at around 23mpg, was once every 350 miles or so. But drive sedately, settle on motorways a lot as I quite often do, and you can coax 28mpg out of it, along with 375 miles from a tank of fuel.

Which is pretty darned good for a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, even if you’re not asking a lot of it, and well into genuine executive car territory. It is a reminder that there are very few cars which can do both things with quite the same purpose as the M5.

Second Opinion

I’m sad that we’re already saying farewell to the M5. What an impressive, multi-talented bit of kit it is: a comfortable cruiser and an engaging B-road weapon all rolled into one. That’s not to say it’s without fault — its ride is a touch jiggly at lower speeds, for instance — but for the most part it’s sehr, sehr gut. It’ll also do 0-60mph in 3.3 seconds – in the wet.

Simon Davis

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Love it:

PRACTICALITY The M5’s 550-litre boot is supplemented by the fact that the rear seats split and fold.

BRAKES Carbon-ceramic discs and pads show no wear and retain brilliant stopping power.

DRIVING POSITION Massively adjustable seats mean that the memory pre-set function is extremely handy.

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Loathe it:

IMPRACTICALLY HUGE KEY It’s a smart key, so can tell me stuff such as how much fuel is in the car – but I’ll know that when I get in.

CAR’S WIDTH This 5 Series is extremely wide. Parking cameras, which show door openings, are very handy.

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Final mileage: 14,982

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Time for some new rubber - 15th August 2018

Good intel from my favourite tyre place: valves like this look cooler than rubber ones but tend to corrode themselves to the rim after a couple of years, making replacement difficult. Anyway, our M5 has a new pair of Pirelli P Zeros on its rear rims, owing to the fact that although it’s four-wheel drive, a rear-drive mode is available.

Lt bmw m5 tyre valve

Mileage: 12,375

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Transporting an entire Autocar back catalogue - 15th July 2018

Imagine a pile of magazines at shoulder height. Then multiply that by nine. That’s how many copies of Autocar you can fit in a BMW M5, using all of the boot, the rear seats, front passenger seat and respective footwells. I’m guessing it’s half a tonne, maybe more. But the suspension, albeit heavily compressed, coped admirably.

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Bmw m5 long term autocar magazines

Mileage: 12,124

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Never mind Alonso & Co in a Toyota: our M5 came away from Le Mans as a winner - 4th July 2018

The M5 has been back to BMW, at the request of the people there. Just want to give it a onceover, they said, and update some software.

Usually, we prefer to go to dealers for the full ownership experience but, well, they asked. And it’s their car, after all. Kindly, they repaired a windscreen stonechip, and replaced the two wheel centres we think had been nicked, and gave the rest of the car a once-over.

Wouldn’t usually, lads, but y’know: it’s a 600bhp super-saloon so we thought we’d just make sure things were fine. Which they were, and the next day the M5 was taken straight down to Le Mans, in the hands of my PistonHeads colleagues. (I can’t believe they actually put a sticker on it, but there you go. It’s a thing. It has come off cleanly enough.)

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What’s good about it, though, is that it’s useful to get another set of hands and feet into the car, to give a second opinion. Knowing Le Mans, I know what the trip will have been like: supercars and sports cars everywhere, but although our PH correspondent asks “is the M5 too subtle?”, it apparently still garnered quite a lot of attention on the PH campsite, despite a Ford GT being parked next to it.

Quite rightly. I reckon that if you’ve got a Ford GT (or equivalent), you’re probably in the market for something like an M5 as a daily driver too. Which is a job it performs well.

“Brakes are fantastic”, although it’s “hard to measure out the throttle properly when pulling away”, which are both accurate. It has developed, though, a “screech under braking from the front right at slow speeds in stop-start traffic”, which I’d just begun to notice too.

There’s plenty of pad all round on the £7495 carbon-ceramic brakes, which are usually slightly less refined than iron rotors, but not this much. There’s nothing obvious, so I’ll stick the front corner on a stand and take a wheel off, to check the inside of the disc to see if a stone or bit of grit is stuck in there.

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The good thing about second opinions, though, is that they don’t always agree with the first ones. PH is less impressed by the interior than I am; not that keen on the trim around the door handle or that the forward centre console lid is sometimes rattly, which I hadn’t noticed. I’ve had a play and think I’ve worked out why. It’s possible to unseat the lid from its runners very easily, but you can either push it back on or, if you close the lid, it re-seats it anyway.

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Where we do agree is that it sounds “a little tame from the inside” (true), and it’s annoying that the electrics and stereo don’t turn off when you turn the ignition off (also true, even after you open the door and shut it behind you. Apparently, the latest BMW X2 remedies this). And we all like the way it drives.

I have a bit of a beef with how wide the M5 feels, both parking it and down narrow lanes, but in France “you can still place it nicely on narrow roads”. It’s also “very comfortable for the whole journey” and “road noise is minimal even on the worst bits of the M25” but that there’s “noticeable tramlining on UK roads after being on the smooth roads of France”.

These last bits are the interesting ones. The UK has particularly poorly surfaced roads, which is why a lot of car companies come to sign off vehicle dynamics here, but how a car behaves still tells you a lot about where it was developed, and who it’s meant for.

than the new The M5 is really very good in the UK and copes with our potholed, heavily crowned and narrow roads pretty well. But it’s even more brilliant elsewhere.

Love it:

ENTERING ADDRESSES So many different ways to input an address to the nav: say it, scroll the knob, use the knob as an input pad or tap it out on screen.

Loathe it:

HAND SIGNALS If you make flamboyant hand gestures, there’s every chance you’ll change the media volume, which has a motion sensor.

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Mileage: 11,583

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Life with a BMW M5: Month 2

The mystery of the missing roundels - 27th June 2018

I don’t know how or when or why it happened, but the BMW roundels on the centre of our M5’s front wheels vanished. I thought somebody had changed the wheels while the car was out on a test, or they’d fallen off, but apparently not: is nicking roundels a thing? Anyway, BMW kindly replaced them: they cost £15 each from a dealer.

Mileage: 8990

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The humble car key doesn't get more useful, or complex, than this - 13th June 2018

The M5’s key can do all kinds of things from inside your house that it would be just as sensible to do from an app on your phone. Such is the array that, inevitably, it needs charging, but so little do I use the extras that I don’t tend to realise until it has been as flat as a bean for who knows how long. It still locks and unlocks and starts the car, though.

 bmw m5 2018 longterm review key

Mileage: 8778

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A 900-mile return trip to the M3 CS launch and N24 race? Be rude not to take the M5 - 30th May 2018

Among the blinding greenery of the Rhineland, there’s an isolated ribbon of Tarmac that flows between the sleepy spa town of Bad Neuenahr and the altogether less somnolent village of Nürburg.

It’s well surfaced for the most part and the setting is completely bucolic. Ideal, say, for a Mercedes E300 cabriolet: stick the dampers in Comfort, Bob Seger on the radio. Not a worry in the world.

The funny thing is that above a certain level of commitment, this same stretch becomes an utterly brutal examination of a car’s dynamic repertoire. There are second-, third- and even fourth-gear corners of capricious profile and camber changes where you wouldn’t expect.

One sequence isn’t unlike the infamous Corkscrew at Laguna Seca, for pity’s sake, and there’s a bend whose exit is not only blind but also concurrent with an unfavourable surface change and a vicious compression on the nearside. You’re spat out of it at the top of third gear.

It was mainly along this marvellous stretch that the new BMW M3 CS made a convincing case for itself as the most engaging device in M division’s current portfolio. But it was a close-run thing.

Why? Because our M5 long-term test car could also be found in that precise neck of the Adenauer Forest during the same weekend of the Nürburgring 24 Hours.

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For outright zip, ultimately it failed to match a car some 400kg lighter and with a significantly lower centre of gravity, and nor was it quite so confidence inspiring when the Armco loomed. But it was arguably the greater feat of engineering purely for its astounding body control and the fact that it was actually enjoyable to punt along a road that could have been bespoke-laid for a Lotus Exige.

As you may have surmised, our long-termer was the steed between home and a gruelling race weekend during which BMW launched its latest M-badged road car, and therein lies the true appeal of this M5. Some back-road fun sandwiched by substantial highway blasts resulted in around 900 miles and an overall fuel economy of 21.4 mpg, for a total expenditure of roughly £260.

No, this 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 was never going to set records for frugality but, if the car impresses on more tortuous routes, it’ll blow your mind on a derestricted autobahn. How fast? An indicated (and restricted) 164mph, at which point your estimated time of arrival goes into free fall with that engine still pulling damnably hard.

Perhaps of greater significance is that proceedings remain serene enough that you’d barely have to raise your voice to be heard by those in the back. More prosaically, the M5 simply makes things easy on this kind of trip.

You can angle the headlights for Continental duties at the touch of a button and the head-up display converts your speed and speed-limit icons into km/h. It is comfortable, it is spacious, the Harman Kardon sound system is very good and you don’t worry about leaving the thing in a strange corner of an unfamiliar town after a mammoth day in the saddle.

It is quite stocky, though, with a track width that’s more or less equal to that of a Lamborghini Huracán Performante. It means there’s now a small nick on one of the alloy wheels, inflicted by the ghastly width restrictors on the top deck on the Eurotunnel trains.

Every time I’m lucky enough to drive this car, three things occur to me. The seats are set too high, the body control is simply a touch close for everyday driving, even for one of our Top 10 super-saloons, and, God, how I wish they’d made a bit more of the wheel arches.

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But while it takes me a little time to get onto the M5’s wavelength, once there I’m pretty much smitten.

Richard Lane

Love it:

CRUISE MISSILE No surprise that a 600bhp saloon with massage seats can seemingly condense international travel, but it’s a lovely sensation all the same.

Loathe it:

TOURING RANGE ‘Loathe’ is strong, but if the 70-litre fuel tank was just a little bigger, you’d easily manage 450 miles between cruising fill-ups.

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Mileage: 9130

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Life with a BMW M5: Month 1

Best seat in the house - 9th May 2018

The steering column, seat back (lower and upper), under-thigh support, head restraint, plus the usual seat options – forward, back, up, down – all adjust electrically. There’s so much adjustment that I have resorted to using the memory function. Then there’s heating, cooling and massage too. I’ll bet the seat weighs more than I do.

Mileage: 3360

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Bmw m5 2018 longterm review seat memory

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Welcoming the M5 to our fleet – 2 May 2018

I can’t remember a car that has been busier on its arrival on the Autocar long-term test fleet BMW M5. With decent reason, I suppose; it’s a new M5. They are rare and we want to see, as quickly as possible, just how good they are.

From the moment it was collected from north Wales, the M5 was being used in a group test alongside a Mercedes-AMG E63 S and a Cadillac CTS-V. It won. Then it was videoed alongside an E63 with two different testers — me included. It won again. (Albeit with a lot of love for the AMG, I’ll be honest.)

Since then, we’ve videoed it alongside an Alpina B5, photographed it alongside the B5 for a super-saloon feature and, just two weeks ago on these pages, it was subjected to a full Autocar road test. Four and a half stars, my lovely. Four minor demerits; otherwise spot on.

Some of the highlights, then? The 592bhp four-wheel-drive 4.4-litre V8 saloon hits 60mph from rest in 3.3sec. Then there’s the 7.5sec it takes to reach 100mph, a standing quarter mile in 11.5sec at 125.1mph and a standing kilometre in 20.8sec at 159.1mph.

So even over a standing kilometre, the M5 is no more than seven-tenths behind a Ferrari 458 Speciale. It’s that fast.

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 bmw m5 2018 longterm review chasing amg

Comfortable, too — for the most part.

Carbon-ceramic brakes also made the list, at £7495, and an M Sports exhaust, at £1100. The brake package is probably what provides a slightly oversensitive pedal at times — we’ll see if that improves with miles — and the ’zorst adds a welcome edge to the turbocharged motor, which otherwise resorts to relatively convincing speaker augmentation for some of its excitement.

Aural excitement, anyway. It relies on deploying 592bhp in great unhurried strides to deliver the visceral excitement. The engine is terrific. Less overtly V8ish than a Mercedes-AMG it may be, but there’s no arguing with the amount of oomph it provides or how it delivers it through the eight-speed automatic 'box.

It’s even capable, if you’re careful, of 28mpg, although 23mpg is more likely and 7.5mpg is possible on a track. I suppose owners don’t take M5s there that often, although they should, because it’s a great way to find out that BMW’s new super-saloon is unsurpassed in its dynamic abilities.

I’m looking forward to exploring those more as we find many, many more jobs for the M5 to do.

Second opinion

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I love this car. I struggled at first to see why a 5 Series needed to be so hardcore but, after 400 miles, I just couldn’t get enough of its near-supercar steering and body control, plus its intoxicating acceleration, given the practical package and effortless delivery. Brilliant!

Steve Cropley

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BMW M5 prices and specification

Prices: List price new £87,940 List price now £89,705 Price as tested £101,900 Dealer value now £91,000 Private value now £89,000 Trade value now £87,000 (part exchange)

Options:Premium Package (including soft-close doors, massage seats, ceramic finish for controls) £1995, Comfort Package (including steering wheel heating, seat heating all-round) £1195, M Sports exhaust £1100, carbonfibre engine cover £1025, carbon-ceramic brakes £7495, M seat belts £260, carbonfibre/aluminium-look trim £495, Apple CarPlay £235, online entertainment £160

Fuel consumption and range: Claimed economy 26.2mpg Fuel tank 68 litres Test average 23.1mpg Test best 28.4mpg Test worst 7.5mpg Real-world range 345 miles

Tech highlights: 0-62mph 3.3sec (tested) Top speed 190mph Engine V8, 4395cc, twinturbocharged, petrol Max power 592bhp at 5600-6700rpm Max torque 553lb ft at 1800-5600rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic Boot capacity 530 litres Wheels 9.5J (f), 10.5J (r), 20in Tyres 275/35 (f), 285/35 (r), ZR20 Pirelli P Zero Kerb weight 1930kg

Service and running costs: Contract hire rate £1000pm CO2 241g/km Service costs none Other costs new tyres, £450 Fuel costs £1501 Running costs inc fuel £1951 Cost per mile 20 pence Depreciation £12,900 Cost per mile inc dep’n £1.51 Faults Precautionary ECU update

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 bmw m5 2018 longterm review prior driving

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Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

Join the debate

Add a comment…
DammyBaby012 25 September 2018

How can I create a music site

Good contents
antnotdec1 24 September 2018


Surely you’ve driven enough modern BMW’s and MINI’s by now to know that one press of the Stop button kills the engine. A second press kills the stereo and powers down. As someone who went bad over a new 2 series coupe still blaring my questionable music when opening the door. 

Deputy 24 September 2018


Somehow these guys manage to wangle a job at Autocar, get a free BMW M5, yet still know very little about the cars they get given!  I had a 5 series hire car for 2 days and realised you needed to press the button twice to power off!  Still, a better review than most of the ones involving a single days playing in Portugal/Spain etc.

Peter Cavellini 6 September 2018

Not unusual to be....

 This Car had an abused life, first, who the heck loads a Car up with half a ton ( his words, not mine) of old Car Mags?!, why not hire a Van, or borrow your mates estate, no one have a Q8?,plus, if your buying a Car like this you know it’s not going to be a walk in the Park, there’s bound to be something go wrong, it shouldn’t, you’ve payed a lot for it,but, it’s par for the course these days, not many Cars like this at this price don’t have issues.

Luap 24 September 2018


Peter Captain Obvious Spam Your Name Everywhere Cavellini, just shut up, please. Thanks.