Preview: 2006 BMW M5

The BMW M5 is ready to storm autobahns and interstates alike, and this time it has the most cylinders of any roadgoing 5-Series ever.

The new super saloon is the fastest roadgoing BMW ever, too, thanks to its V-10 engine, which has a maximum output of 507 hp and a peak torque of 383 lb-ft. With those numbers, it’s also the most powerful BMW, too.

With this torque and power the M5 enters the grey area between a car for everyday use and a race car. BMW has used that formula uses for its other M models to speedy results, and here the new M5 is no exception. The sport sedan should be able to do the sprint from 0-60 mph in less than five seconds, while 155 mph is the electronically limited top speed. BMW says that without a limiter, the M5 should be able to reach 205 mph.

Hooded for your protection

2006 BMW M5

The V-10 engine is utterly unlike anything else BMW offers today. The 90-degree V-10 has Bi-Vanos variable valve timing and reaches its redline at 8250 rpm. Each cylinder has its own throttle, a feature typical for racing cars. Throttle control is fully electronic and specific for each cylinder bank.

This engine is the first of its kind to reach such high revs in a production car. Compared to the eight-cylinder installed in the last M5, performance has been boosted by more than 25 percent. The new M5 passes the magical 100 hp per liter of engine displacement hurdle with ease. The exhaust system is made of seamless stainless steel and ends in four tailpipes, a special feature of the M vehicles.

Teamed to the V-10 is the seven-speed SMG gearbox, which makes BMW the first car manufacturer to use a seven-speed sequential transmission. This is an updated version of the six-speed transmission in the old M5. The seventh gear should reduce engine speed and torque gaps, with the new SMG gearbox changing gears 20 percent faster than before. Furthermore, the driver can choose from eleven options of the SMG’s Drivelogic function. For instance, six of them can be pre-selected in the sequential mode (S mode). The spectrum ranges from dynamic to very sporty. In this S mode, shifting is always manually done. The driver can also activate Launch Control function, in which the SMG Drivelogic shifts gears a faction of a moment before the maximum engine speed is reached. The gearbox opens the clutch for a split second to prevent the M5 from swaying out of control should excessive drag torque reach the driven (rear) wheels.

Brainy beast

The new M5 is equipped with a slew of new technology. One of them is the most powerful CPU for any engine management system in the car industry worldwide.

BMW tested its M5 at great length on the Nürburgring in Germany. The suspension of the 5-Series has not been lowered, but been specially tuned for the M5. The M5 has a variable, torque-sensing differential lock that provides stability and optimal traction, especially during acceleration out of bends.

BMW also developed a new generation of DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) for the M5.
BMW has applied a reduced-performance mode to the car, under which the engine will deliver 400 hp. On demand — by pushing the Power button — all 507 hp will be available. High-performance brakes provide maximum stopping power. Deceleration from 62 mph to 0 is claimed at 118 feet and from 124 mph less than 459 feet.

The fast BMW can be recognized not only by its four tailpipes, but also by the modified front and rear bumper spoilers and the more prominent wheel arches. Furthermore the M differs from the standard 5-Series with new rearview mirrors and special wheels.

The M5 comes with leather seats in three different colors, or, as an option, with a full leather interior. A special instrument cluster, an optional M-specific head-up display, a different steering wheel, and a redesigned center console are the other differences.

When the M5 will reach the BMW showrooms is not known yet, nor is the price.

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