Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 BMW M5, Part 2

Exterior Design *
The Brits call them Q-cars, after the WWII's Q-ships: civilian boats equipped with hidden firepower. The Q-car s real world realization — a nice normal everyday sort of vehicle that Jolly well isn t — offers definite advantages to the points-challenged driver. Well, it looks as if B has jettisoned the M5 s Q-factor in pursuit of some bizarre, gang-related aesthetic. (Must you grab your crotch like that 007?) It s a crying shame, but there it is. Mustn t grumble.

Acceleration */*****
The new M5 is like Dr. Jekyll with an advanced, untreated case of hep C; and Mr. Hyde with a nose full of uncut cocaine. At low revs in Drive, the SMeGmatic 5 is dangerously reluctant to get its skates on. (Note to M5 drivers: do not cut across a Dodge Ram SRT-10 at a traffic light.) At high revs in paddleshift mode, the M5 takes off like it a scalded cat fired from an Abrams tank — at which point fuel consumption is nearasdammit 8mpg. In short: too much doctor, nowhere to Hyde.

Braking *****
None of that fancy ceramic stuff here — just rotors as big as a kid s snow saucer and the usual BMW mission critical-technology. Blinding binders, Bond!

Ride ****
The M5 may offer anal retentive (i.e., German) drivers 279 potential engine, suspension, shifting and traction set-ups (be sure to tell Richard Hatch s IRS case-worker if my math is wrong), but I reckon the difference between the plushest and firmest suspension settings can only be detected with both EDC lights illuminated at 10/10ths through a turn. At that point, you are WAY too busy to be pushing buttons or thinking about ride comfort. Anyway, the uber-sedan s default setting is harsh but fair.

Handling *****
The M5 handles the way Peter North — um, no, let s not go there. Instead, let s go anywhere where there s a killer corner and annihilate that bad mo fo . The only real question about the M5 s ability to negotiate the bendy bits is whether the uber-sedan was made for the N rburgring, or the other way around.

Gearbox: ...
No stars. You hear me Spinelli? Not one. The M5 s SMG gearbox is a nightmare around town and nowhere near quick enough in attack mode. (Does Cambiocorsa ring any flange?) BMW made a huge mistake inflicting this diabolical slushbox on the M5 faithful; they re going to piss-off a lot of owners who signed-up for their new car sight unseen. Anyone who doesn t wait for the six-speed that Bimmer s rushing to the US market is making a big mistake.

Audio/Video *
Bimmer s no-opposition-brooked commitment to their mouse-driven multimedia interface controller thingie seems about as sensible as you-know-who s decision to invade Russia. It s wrong I tell you. Wrong.

Toys *
Bimmer s no-opposition-brooked commitment to their mouse-driven multimedia interface controller thingie seems about as sensible as you-know-who s decision to invade Russia. It s wrong I tell you. Wrong.

Trunk *****
A big, beautiful, bounteous boot.

Overall ***/****

[by Robert Farago]

Related:
Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 BMW M5, Part 1, Part 3 [internal]