I simply love the BMW M5, if for nothing else but just the sound of a V10 flying past you on the highway, I think I always turn off the stereo just to hear one go past. The M5 is an amazing car, and a true pioneer of modern day large Sport Saloons (sedans).
With that sort of reputation behind it, BMW decided that it was time they expanded the appeal of the M5. In doing so BMW have brought out the BMW M5 Touring, the first time BMW’s award-winning V10-engine will be mated to a five-door model. So if you thought wagons were slow, than a 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds should change your mind!
The V10 puts out a maximum output of 373kW and peak torque of 520 Newton-metres. I am not the only one who loves the V10, since its introduction to the BMW M Family in 2005, the V10 has received seven prizes in the annual worldwide Engine-of-the-Year Awards.
The M5 wagons chassis is designed for supreme driving dynamics and is coupled with the Sequential M Gearbox (SMG) putting the M5 touring in the same class as the Audi RS touring cars. If your thinking fuel consumption is compromised for a V10 with such excellent performance figures, how does an average fuel consumption in the EU combined test cycle of 15L/100 km and a highway figure of just 10.6 litres/100 km sound? A lot better than some of the HSV/FPV cars thats for sure!
The M5 touring follows the model below it (the BMW 530i Touring), offering a completely flat rear floor and 60/40 split fold rear seats. Luggage capacity ranges from 500 litres up to 1,650 litres with both rear seats folded flat. But don’t worry, there are going to be a few things which will set the M5 apart from the 530i touring.
For a start the modified front air dams and side-sills, air intakes on the side panels, a rear air dam as well as the now trademark M quad tail pipes, not to mention the sound of the engine! Under the metal, modifications have also been done to the suspension, steering and DSC Dynamic Stability Control system which have all been optimised to match the power of the engine and the modified centre of gravity.
To further enhance the torsional stiffness of the M5 Touring’s body, the reinforcements between the side-sills and the floor in the luggage compartment have been specially modified in accordance with the BMW M Car philosophy.
Although this isn’t powered by Lexus’ crazy eight-speed gearbox, the Sequential M Gearbox (SMG) with Drivelogic enables the driver to shift gears either manually or in automatic Drive mode, and is operated via the selector lever on the console or paddleshifts on the steering wheel.
The SMG Drivelogic system offers 11 driving modes enabling the driver to adjust the gearshift characteristics to suit their own motoring style. Using the manual gearshift functions in S-mode (sequential), the driver is also able to pre-select six of the eleven programmes. The six gears are supplemented by five automatic driving programmes in D-mode (drive), as well as a launch control function.
Gearshifts in the M5 Touring can be executed 20 per cent faster than previous sequential manual gearboxes. Ideally, one gearshift takes only about 65 milliseconds. To put this into perspective it will take a seasoned driver about 0.5 seconds to perform a manual gearshift. These extremely short gearshift times allow a very dynamic and active driving experience.
To match the performance of the M5 Touring both the two-joint spring strut front axle and the integral arm have been modified in a number of ways, aluminum thrust panel on the front axle subframe for example, ensures additional lateral stiffness.
Other improvements include the modified front axle kinematics reflecting the change in weight distribution and the car’s centre of gravity. The many functions and features of DSC Dynamic Stability Control specially enhanced for BMW M Cars may also be controlled by the driver. By pressing the MDrive button (on the M leather steering wheel), for example, the driver is able to activate the M Dynamic Mode, with the DSC response thresholds cutting in at a level specified in advance.
This, in turn, enables the driver to enjoy a controlled power slide in bends, gently counter-steering in particularly dynamic driving manoeuvres, with DSC cutting in only when the car reaches the limits of driving physics. As a further feature DSC may be fully deactivated on the BMW M5 Touring. Dear God, the Germans really know how to have some fun!
EDC Electronic Damper Control offers drivers the choice of adjusting chassis and suspension settings to suit driving conditions. By pressing the MDrive button located on either the steering wheel or next to the transmission selector, the driver can call up three different suspension settings ranging from comfort to an extremely dynamic sports ride.
The Variable M Differential Lock allows optimum traction on all kinds of surfaces, building up 100 per cent locking action when required. This enables the M5 Touring to accelerate even faster out of bends and drive smoothly on all road surfaces such as snow, gravel and ice.
The new M5 Touring, in line with its M5 Sedan stablemate, also comes standard with the P400 Performance Programme which is automatically activated every time the engine is started providing maximum output of 400 hp. By pressing the Power Button, full engine output of 507 hp is activated (you’d be interestead to note that by pressing the M power button, your M5’s power increases by about the same amount of power a Holden Barina puts out in total).
As with all M models, the new M5 Touring is also available with the special M-designed Head Up Display (HUD) system. The HUD projects directly on to the windscreen and incorporates a shift light function to prompt drivers to change up, a rev counter display, SMG Drivelogic gear engaged and road speed. Alternatively it can also project information about navigation symbols and cruise control status. It can also be supplemented with specific M data such as the variable pre-warning field in the rev counter complete with integrated Shift Lights.
The BMW M5 Touring will be launched mid-year in Europe, no reports yet if the beast will make it to Australia, but early rumours suggest that it will make a limited run to Australia towards the end of 2007.