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BMW M5 Competition review: flat-out in the 617bhp bruiser

Published:07 August 2018

It's a bit of an animal: we've driven the new 2018 BMW M5 Competition
  • At a glance
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5
  • 5 out of 5

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

► BMW M5 Competition review
► We test the maxed-out M5
► Georg Kacher’s first drive

For most people, the BMW M5 is one helluva sports saloon. We can’t recall many people complaining it lacked poke or poise, but BMW’s gone and given us a made-over Competition spec model anyway. 

Last week we drove the M2 Competition, but the fast four-door is a different kettle of fish - you can choose from regular M5 or M5 Competition spec from now (little brother only comes as a Comp now).

CAR lives with the last BMW M5

What does the new BMW M5 Competition give me that the regular M5 doesn’t?

It adds a bit more power, for starters. Max output climbs by 25bhp to an eye-popping 617bhp, the 0-62mph time slices a tenth off… yep, these are marginal gains, alright. Torque is unaffected, at a treestump-pulling 553lb ft from just 1800rpm. Short on grunt it is not.

The new 2018 BMW M5 Competition review by CAR magazine

BMW says revised dampers makes the ride a little firmer for better body control when you’re on it and the electro-traction nannies are reconfigured for slicker handling. There’s also a fruitier exhaust.

So it’s little bits here and there - but they add up to a not-insignificant £6500 premium. Make that £8595 if you go one step further and choose the M Driver’s package that unties the digital shackles of a 155mph v-max to make a 190mph top speed.

How does it drive?

The 4.4-litre V8 turbo was hardly short on muscle before, but now it’s just rampant. Thwack all the settings up to aggressive and throttle response is uncannily brutal, the exhaust note loud and proud. 

It's the 2018 BMW M5 Competition review by CAR magazine

We like that you can still turn it down from 11, turning the M5 Competition into a more subtle, subdued kind of cruiser. But this is hardly what you’d call a Q car…

If we’re being honest, we’d struggle to spot those 25 extra ponies: when 0-62mph takes a scant 3.3 seconds, you can understand the marginal gains. It feels brutally rapid in a straight line.

And the handling?

More subtle tweaks to the chassis hardly transform the handling, but the Competition pack tightens everything up nicely. Turn-is improved, it feels more grounded and inspires plenty of confidence as you pile into a series of B-road switchbacks. It’s still a heavy, big car (kerbweight = a lardy 1940kg), but the laws of physics have been tamed with deft accuracy by BMW’s M engineers.

The new 2018 BMW M5 Competition interior

We love the way you can flick between RWD and AWD at the touch of the button. The 4wd is in fact the key to the M5’s split personality, letting you play brute or suit card with nonchalant ease.

When powering hard out of second-gear corners, or when not lifting through a set of challenging third-gear esses, all-wheel drive is a big safety bonus.


The new 2018 BMW M5 Competition is one helluva super-saloon. We already rate the regular M5 very highly and this addition just adds more drama, more finesse, more outright muscle to make it even better. It’s heavy, it’s pricey (nearly £100k), but for the discerning few, this makes the maximum M5 even better. 

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Price when new: £96,205
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 4395cc 32v twin-turbo V8, 617bhp @ 6000rpm, 553lb ft @ 1800rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Performance: 3.3sec 0-62mph, 155mph (190mph with Driver’s Pack), 26.1mpg, 246g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1940kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm):


Other Models

Photo Gallery

  • It's a BMW M5, Jim, but not as we know it
  • The new BMW M5 Competition price? A cool £96,205 in the UK
  • A badge for discerning M cars fan: the BMW M5 Competition boot
  • BMW M5 Competition interior: a very modern Beemer cabin
  • Choose from a regular M5 or this, the new 2018 BMW M5 Competition

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel