2014 BMW M5

Well into its fifth generation, the BMW M5 is a high-performance luxury sedan that sits on top of the 5-Series lineup.

Based on the sixth-generation 5-Series, the M5 stretches 193.3 inches long, 74.4 inches wide and 57.1 inches tall, dimensions that make it roughly the same size as the Mercedes-Benz E63, one of its closest rivals.

Under The Hood
At the heart of the M5 is a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine that peaks at 560 horsepower between 6,000 and 7,000 rpms and churns out 502 lb-ft. of torque from just 1,500 rpms. The engine's twin-scroll turbochargers are installed in the space between the two cylinder banks, which helps make the engine more compact.

Power is sent to the rear wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but a six-speed manual is available as a no cost option. Equipped with the dual-clutch, the M5 sprints from zero to 62 mph in 4.4 seconds and continues on to a top speed that is electronically limited to 155 mph.

The M5 is 30 percent more fuel efficient than its V10-powered predecessor thanks to its downsized engine and numerous EfficientDynamics upgrades like an automatic start/stop system and brake energy regeneration. It returns 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

The rear differential's locking level can be varied from zero to 100 percent depending on the driver's demands. This works with a M-specific steering calibration and the car's Dynamic Damper Control to improve grip in both on-road and on-track situations.

Competition package
Buyers after more punch can opt for the optional Competition Package that bumps the V8's output to 575 horsepower. The increase shaves 0.1 seconds from the car's zero to 60 mph sprint.

Cars equipped with the Competition Package ride slightly lower thanks to a more responsive, track-tuned suspension setup that includes new coil springs and stiffer anti-sway bars. Bespoke 20-inch alloy wheels and a sport exhaust system that features four black chrome tips finish off the track-bred appearance.

Looking The Part
The M5 stands out from the regular 5-Series with a full body kit that consists of aggressive bumpers on both ends, side skirts, a discreet trunk-mounted spoiler and gills in the upper front fenders. A small M5 badge hidden in the twin-slat kidney grills informs other motorists that they're not looking at a regular a regular 5-Series.

The car rides on 19-inch alloy wheels that reduce unsprung weight.

Life Aboard
With room for up to five passengers, the M5's interior features a bespoke instrument cluster, full leather trim and special bucket seats. The steering is commanded through a three-spoke multifunction wheel.

The driver-oriented dashboard features a color display for the latest generation of BMW's ConnectedDrive infotainment system. ConnectedDrive enables the passengers to get directions with real-time traffic information, surf the internet on the go, change the climate control settings or pick a different radio station by either using the touch screen, the iDrive knob mounted next to the gear selector or the car's voice control system. Alternatively, passengers can manually input an address by using a touchpad-like surface integrated into the top of the iDrive controller.

Optional Equipment
The list of standalone options includes night vision with pedestrian detection, LED headlights, 20-inch wheels, an upgraded stereo system, a heads-up display, a rear-seat entertainment system, carbon ceramic brakes and the aforementioned six-speed manual transmission.

The Executive Package bundles features such as a heated steering wheel, heated seats, a four-zone climate control unit a power tailgate, ventilated seats and soft-close automatic doors.

The Driver Assistance Package adds a lane departure warning system, BMW's Active Blind Spot Detection, side and top view cameras and a speed limit information system.

Occupant Safety
The M5 comes standard with dual front, front-side and full-length side curtain airbags, electronic stability and traction control systems, active head restraints and a tire pressure monitoring system.

Key Competitors
Shopping for a new M5? You may also want to look at the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, the Audi S6, the Cadillac CTS-V and the highly-exclusive Jaguar XFR-S.