I’ve done quite a few blasts from one side of Europe to the other in my time, sometimes stopping only for comfort breaks and to refuel, but last weekend’s 800-mile dash back from Pau in the south of France to the UK in the new BMW M5 has to be the most pleasurable and painless one yet.

Believe it or not, what surprised me most about the car was not its mighty performance (which you could pretty much take for granted) or its ride and refinement (which are now very impressive) but its touring range. For a car with 552bhp and the ability to get from 0-62mph in 4.4sec to also be able to cover a good 500 miles on a tank of fuel is quite remarkable, I think.

One of the biggest complaints that owners of the outgoing E60 M5 had about their car was its thirst and poor range. With a 70-litre tank and a combined fuel economy figure of 19.1mpg, the V10-engined M5 would be looking for a fuel station after 250 miles, maybe 300 at a pinch.