With so many operating modes for the steering, damping, engine, gearbox, four-wheel drive and stability control, this M5 takes some getting to know.
If you find a particularly complex driver-configurable experience a turn-off, this is not the super-saloon for you. But even if you do approach it with a degree of scepticism about the amount of button fiddling you’ll need to do to really enjoy the car – and several testers did – the M5 is ready to dismantle your cynicism a piece at a time.
In addition to the Comfort, Sport and Sport+ settings for many of its systems – with which BMW M regulars will be familiar – the M5 adds three new ones for its drivetrain: 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD. The last of those only works with the stability control system deactivated completely.
Even so, you can, in short, have as much or as little four-wheel-drive security at play in the car’s handling mix as you want. And, moreover, if you want to combine a drift-happy rear-drive set-up with Comfort suspension and steering, unlike in an E63 S, you can: there’s little sense of prescriptiveness about the set-up combinations.
But having created a super-saloon with an unprecedented dynamic range, and handling more malleable than almost any other performance car we can think of, BMW’s masterstroke was to make a greater feature of the M5’s ‘M1’ and ‘M2’ driver preset buttons, to be found on the spokes of the steering wheel.