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Fast mover. Image by Eric Gallina.

Fast mover
BMW has decided to bring the surreal M5 Touring to the UK; we drive what has to be the most practical supercar on the planet.

   



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#02#For many, estate cars are a necessity. A new addition to the family or a large dog demands additional space, so a reluctant decision is made to trade in the sporting two-seater for a spacious wagon. Usually that also means the sorry individual has to leave a piece of his soul at the dealership, driving off in a sedate and often mundane practical hauler. BMW's latest addition to the range fills the needs of those buyers, but doesn't make any compromises; it's the new M5 Touring.

As expected, the M5 Touring delivers blistering performance through its high-revving V10 powerplant. As featured in the M5 saloon and the M6, output is a massive 507bhp (or 400bhp without the 'Power' button depressed) at 7750rpm with 384lb.ft of twist available at a quite heady 6100rpm. To say the M5 has an abundance of power would be an understatement of epic proportions. This engine packs prodigious power and it's happy to rev to a 8250rpm redline repeatedly as it shifts through the cogs, firmly casting the driver back into the grip of the active front seat and easily rocketing past prescribed motorway limits. The Active Seat bolsters do well to grip and hold front seat occupants firmly in place while cornering and can be set at three different settings: Comfort, Normal and Sport. Each setting provides a higher degree of support, though all feel akin to someone grabbing you around the waist. It takes some time to get used to.

The M5 Touring's variable M differential lock ensures that power is evenly applied through its wide 285/35 ZR 19 rear tyres, though they have some trouble connecting if the throttle pedal is pressed forcefully without the M 'launch control' engaged. Once at speed however, power is delivered in a linear fashion and the car never runs out of steam. BMW states that the 1,955kg car can complete 0-62mph stints in 4.8 seconds while topping out at an electronically-limited 155mph, a claim that is difficult to dispute. Merging onto motorways, it's all too easy to approach three figures on the heads-up display. Given enough un-policed tarmac it seems the car could easily reach BMW's claimed 205mph, were the speed limiter removed.

Power delivery, although manageable enough when in manual mode, can be abruptly disturbed if the seven-speed SMG (sequential manual gearbox) is left to shift on its own. The transmission has five shift strategies when fully automatic 'D' mode is engaged and six for the full manual, with each setting holding gears longer. With a single indicator showing, the M5 is quick to shift into a higher gear and the change seems to take an age, whereas it will hold on to gears all the way to the 8250rpm redline in the highest setting and drops in the next ratio with a bang. We found smoother transitions could be achieved by manually shifting and gently lifting off the accelerator, with a forward motion on the gear lever to summon a lower gear and a backward slight of hand to upshift (tactile steering wheel mounted paddles can also be used). The throttle blip while downshifting is incredibly infectious and the V10 simply beckons revs, pulling with locomotive-like pace at 5000rpm all the way to its atmospheric redline. Acceleration is so effortless and the engine note such an auditory delight that it seems the M5 would also make quick work of acquiring sufficient points to have your licence suspended. Restraint must be employed to avoid such an occurrence. #p##06# For such a large and heavy car, the M5 Touring feels composed and supremely balanced in corners. Turn-in is crisp and the heavier steering is well-weighted, communicating road contortions to the driver. The suspension tuning doesn't feel any harsher than that of the 5 Series Touring I drove on the same day (on its softest settings), though cats' eyes are more readily felt through the low-profile tyres and the rear thuds over large bumps and less than smooth road surfaces when the suspension is set to firmer settings. Braking is accomplished through large 374mm cross-drilled and ventilated discs at the front and 370mm ventilated rear discs, which are highly effective in slowing the car and provide progressive, confidence-inspiring pedal feel too.

As in the saloon, a slew of technological acronyms are all part of the M5 Touring package, including Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), M Dynamic Mode (MDM), Electronic Damper Control (EDC) and an MDrive Manager, which convenes settings for power, gearbox, EDC and DSC modes, head-up display and the degree of Active Seat bolster support via the iDrive menu. These presets can then be called upon at the push of that infamous 'M' button on the steering wheel.

A refined atmosphere is found inside the M5 Touring when you're not chasing supercars, with plenty of room for front and rear seat occupants and a massive 1,650 litres of boot space with the rear seatbacks folded down. As with the entire 5 Series range, build quality is superb, with many soft-touch materials covering the dashboard and door panels, exuding quality. A large panoramic glass sunroof is fitted as standard and really lends an airy and open feel to the cabin, though wind buffeting requires it be shut or accompanied by open side windows at speed.

On our short, but involving drive the M5 Touring returned a dismal 12mpg, with the brilliant and sonorous V10 powerplant managing to guzzle a half tank of petrol in less than 90 miles! It's likely that this slight consumption matter will be overlooked by well-heeled enthusiasts who will not likely be dissuaded by the car's £67,075 price tag either. But with so much performance on tap, it's easy to see why many will be bringing their families and cheque books to BMW dealers this June. And when they drive off, they'll be confident in knowing their soul is still intact.
2007 BMW 5 Series range overview

- BMW 520d SE: £27,000
- BMW 523i SE: £28,655
- BMW 520d SE Touring: £29,010
- BMW 520d M Sport: £30,120
- BMW 525i SE: £30,300
- BMW 523i SE Touring: £30,690
- BMW 525d SE: £30,755
- BMW 523i M Sport: £31,775
- BMW 520d M Sport Touring: £32,130
- BMW 525i SE Touring: £32,335
- BMW 525d SE Touring: £32,865
- BMW 525i M Sport: £33,420
- BMW 523i M Sport Touring: £33,810
- BMW 525d M Sport: £33,875
- BMW 530i SE: £34,295
- BMW 530d SE: £34,655
- BMW 525i M Sport Touring: £35,455
- BMW 525d M Sport Touring: £35,985
- BMW 530i SE Touring: £36,375
- BMW 530dSE Touring: £36,710
- BMW 530i M Sport: £37,415
- BMW 530d M Sport: £37,775
- BMW 540i SE: £38,700
- BMW 535d SE: £39,065
- BMW 530i M Sport Touring: £39,495
- BMW 530d M Sport Touring: £39,830
- BMW 535d SE Touring: £41,135
- BMW 540i M Sport: £41,820
- BMW 535d M Sport: £42,185
- BMW 535d M Sport Touring: £44,255
- BMW 550i SE: £45,310
- BMW 550i SE Touring: £47,350
- BMW 550i M Sport: £47,870
- BMW 550i M Sport Touring: £49,910
- BMW M5 Saloon: £64,600
- BMW M5 Touring: £67,075

Eric Gallina - 15 May 2007



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2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by BMW.2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by BMW.2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.



2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.
 

2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.
 

2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.
 

2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.
 

2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.
 

2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.
 

2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.
 

2007 BMW M5 Touring. Image by Eric Gallina.
 






 

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