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Track test: BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by Richard Newton.

Track test: BMW M5 with Competition Package
Though the BMW M5 with Competition Package is the fastest BMW ever, that's not the reason to buy it.

   



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| First Drive | Estoril, Portugal | BMW M5 with Competition Package |

Overall rating: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

The headlines will tell you that the M5, when equipped with the new Competition Package, is the fastest production car BMW has ever made, but it's the chassis updates that set this car apart from the normal one - and it's well-priced too.

Key Facts

Model driven: BMW M5 with Competition Package
Pricing: £80,205 on-the-road (regular M5 is £73,505)
Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol
Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, rear-wheel drive
Body style: four-door saloon
Rivals: Audi RS 7 Sportback, Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG S, Porsche Panamera Turbo
CO2 emissions: 232g/km
Combined economy: 28.5mpg
Top speed: 155mph
0-62mph: 4.2 seconds
Power: 575hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 680Nm at 1,500rpm

In the Metal: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Only a few items differentiate the Competition Package car from the regular BMW M5. Most obvious are the bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels, which can be ordered in silver or (at a premium) in black. The exhaust tips are black too - and it's a new sport system. Of course, all versions of the M5 now come with aesthetic revisions recently applied to the rest of the line-up, including changes to the lights front and rear. The kidney grille is new as well, mimicking that from the BMW M6.

There's little to report from the interior, other than the adoption of the M6's slender-spoke leather sports steering wheel. It's far more in keeping with the driving experience than the item that went before. That's not unique to the Competition Package either by the way.

Driving it: 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

BMW may focus on that headline power figure, but in reality, the M5 was never short of a few ponies, so the increase goes unnoticed in isolation. No doubt it'll appeal to current owners of the regular car that fancy an upgrade. However, the suspension modifications are highly effective. Along with a 10mm lower ride height come new springs, dampers and anti-roll bars, all in a bid to tighten up body control. To make use of that, the DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) system has been tweaked and allows the driver more control and more slip at the rear wheels before intervening - when in the halfway house M Dynamic Mode. It does rather abruptly call halt when it feels the need though. Further tweaks have been made to the steering and the Active M Differential at the back axle.

The result? A BMW M5 that feels considerably more tied down on track than before. Don't get me wrong; the regular car is huge fun on a circuit, but it always felt a little large, heavy and, well, a little out of place, despite the M badge on the boot. After all, how many buyers will ever venture onto a track in this car? The Competition Package is certainly for those that do. The car moves all apiece in the corners, there's noticeably less body movement on the way into a curve, and it's genuinely more at home. Admittedly our test car was blessed with the optional carbon brakes, which enhances the M5's on-track capability further.

While we didn't have the opportunity to the drive car on the road, it's highly likely that the changes to the chassis will make the M5 less comfortable, even in Comfort mode, but we'll have to wait and see to what level that is.

What you get for your Money: 5 5 5 5 5

The addition of the Competition Package tips the BMW M5 price over the £80,000 mark for the first time, which is an awful lot of money in any book. However, it undercuts the new Audi RS 7 Sportback, the Mercedes-Benz E 63 S and you get nowhere near as much performance for your money in the Porsche Panamera range. If you love driving and you have your heart set on an M5 anyway then the cost of the Competition Package is a price well worth paying to have the ultimate official example. Equipment levels are more or less the same as the regular car's, which means a generous level of standard kit.

Worth Noting

Buyers of the BMW M6 Coupé and Gran Coupé can also specify the Competition Package and the changes are almost identical - though there's no drop in ride height. The prices are £6,500 and £5,500 respectively.

Summary

While acknowledging that few BMW M5 owners take their car on track often, the Competition Package makes the big saloon feel wieldier and better controlled during fast driving, and that should translate well to the road too. So long as its addition doesn't hurt ride comfort too much then it's an option well worth having.


Shane O' Donoghue - 18 Jul 2013



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2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.

2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.



2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.
 

2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.
 

2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.
 

2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.
 

2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.
 

2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.
 

2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.
 

2013 BMW M5 with Competition Package. Image by BMW.
 






 

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