2008 BMW M5 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director
September 7, 2008

The 2008 BMW M5 has electrifying performance, but is saddled with an overdose of technology and a body in need of a few nips and tucks.

The car enthusiasts and experts at TheCarConnection.com researched 2008 BMW M5 road tests from around the Web to produce this comprehensive review. TheCarConnection.com's editors also drove the 2008 BMW M5 and added more detail and information where needed, and they've augmented other expert reviews with their own opinions where it helps you make a better car-shopping choice.

The 2008 BMW M5 is a case study in the good, the bad, and the ugly. The good? The fastest, most muscular, most precise four-door ever from BMW will rocket from rest to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, corner like a front-engine race car, and brake so hard it can bounce your eyeballs off the windshield. Blame the standard 500-horsepower V-10 engine, derived from BMW's race cars.

The bad? It's a case of technology run amok. BMW's frustrating iDrive controller for audio, navigation, and climate settings needs its own manual, and it's a dull, dry read. The technology that commands the suspension, steering, and throttle inputs offers a bewildering 279 combinations through an MDrive menu that can be linked to the steering wheel's MDrive button, which might as well be a panic button for users who can't figure it out. And BMW's semi-manual SMG transmission is only for fans of a truly harsh shift experience. The no-cost six-speed manual is a far better choice. It's a gem, with crisp throws, precise gates, perfectly arranged pedals, and surprisingly smooth clutch engagement.

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Then there's the ugly, which is, as always, in the eye of the beholder. The 2008 BMW M5's styling will not be encased in a museum like a Jaguar E-Type. TheCarConnection.com's editors thoroughly disliked our test car's optional Madeira Walnut trim, a reddish-brown wood with horizontal graining that looks painted on with a coarse brush. There is brushed-aluminum trim for the discerning buyer, though.

Worst of all? The 2008 BMW M5 costs $84,000 and is in such limited supply, few folks will even have to worry about its bad points. It's a shame more people won't have the chance to sample one, because it's a stunning performer, made all the more fascinating by its hugely obvious flaws.

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