AWD Supersaloons

Ever Since I was a kid, I wanted a BMW M3. I had a poster of the E36 M3 on my bedroom wall which was replaced by an E46 M3 and later an E93 M3. After saving some money, I was lucky enough to buy the E93 M3 when I was 23 and still remember the noise that monster V8 used to make. A few years later, I drove my friend’s E60 M5 and was blown away by the amount of power the V10 was producing. I thought I had found my next car until I saw an F10 M5 at a car meet. This car had a new body style which I liked a lot better and had much more horsepower and torque which was appealing. Long story short, I bought my first F10 M5 shortly after and I’m so glad I did. The previous owner installed a full Meisterschaft Titanium exhaust which made this M5 sound truly amazing. My new M5 was also equipped with a $4200 Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system which I thought was a waste when you have a V8 engine combined with the sound of a Meisterschaft full exhaust. My only complaint was the power delivery. Those 295 mm rear tires were smoking with every hard acceleration and were not providing the grip needed to take off. I heard rumors that BMW was working on an AWD or as they call it M xDrive. You would be able to select an option and make it RWD if you decided to make it tail happy. Mercedes Benz had also stepped it up and added AWD to their E63s AMG which is a direct competitor of the M5.

The BMW M5, which is a high-performance super saloon, debuted over thirty years ago and very quickly became the benchmark of its class. This is the fastest, most comfortable super saloon I’ve ever driven, 0-60 in around 3.2 seconds which is very close, if not faster, than most supercars out there. I’ve seen this number as low as 3.0 seconds (with proper drag tires) which proves that BMW always underrates their engine power.

For the sake of comparison, McLaren 675LT does 0-60 in 3.0. Acura NSX does it in 3.1 seconds, Audi RS 7 in 3.3 seconds and Mercedes Benz E63s in 3.2 seconds. This is very impressive. What’s more impressive is the quarter-mile numbers. Ferrari Enzo and the brand new Nissan GT-R does a quarter mile in 11 seconds flat. The new F90 BMW M5 does the quarter mile in 11.1 seconds, which is the same speed as Porsche GT3 RS, Ferrari 458 Italia, AMG SLS Black Series and Porsche 991. This is insane considering those cars are mostly two-seaters and built for the track, while you can take the M5 to the grocery store and haul five grown people in it, all while feeling super comfortable.

BMW is no longer offering manual transmission or DCT in the M5. The brand new transmission is an eight-speed automatic which doesn’t sound sexy at all. The engine sound, which came with the F10 M5 (through its speakers), is also gone. The F90 sounds much more like a V8 and not a V10 sound pumped through F10 speakers. The new chassis however, is very playful and fun. I remember I always kept my F10 suspension on comfort since the sport was very rough on most roads.

Comparing an F90 M5 to E63s AMG would be difficult because these super saloons have many things in common. They both have an AWD capability, twin-turbo V8, which produces around 600 bhp, super-fast transmission and four doors. While their AWD capability is great for snow, it was mainly designed to help with traction since that was the number one complaint of the previous generations. M5’s V8 twin turbo produces 617bhp (competition model) which is slightly higher than the 604 that E63s produce. M5 is also 25 kg lighter which means you need to accelerate and stop less mass. This is thanks to the lighter and stronger roof which is made out of a contoured carbon fiber. With a lower center of gravity, 553 lb-ft of torque would propel you 0-60 in 3.1 seconds. This is supercar stats and you’re doing it while sitting in a luxury, comfortable sedan. M5’s engine sound is pumped through the speakers to give you that ultimate driving experience. However, it’s a bit higher pitch than the AMG which produces a lot of crack and pop.

Both cars’ ability to switch to AWD make them so much more usable and not a garage queen. I remember getting stuck with my F10 M5 when there was less than a half-inch of snow on the ground. I had to invest in some snow tires to be able to drive it around in the winter.

These cars are definitely meant to be driven on the autobahn or a proper track. That’s where you can take advantage of “DSC Off” or at least “MDM” mode (M Dynamic mode) to enjoy the full power without the computer cutting you off. I highly recommend leaving the stability control on if you’re driving in the city, wet road, or haven’t experienced this much power in the past. I learned this the hard way.

E63s gives is a bit of an extrovert feel and is definitely louder, especially on hard accelerations. The M5 is more refined and the ride is smoother which is quite enjoyable. It’s also sharper on corners and hugs the road so much better. M5 gives you an average of 26.5 miles per gallon which is better than the E63s 23.5 trip average. One thing Mercedes and Audi do very well is their interiors. I especially like the new optional interior lighting feature which comes with most Mercedes Benz vehicles. The massage chair in the E63s is also a bit better than the one that came with the M5. If I had to choose, I would go with the M5 because of the smooth ride and better cornering, but the best way to pick between them is a test drive to see which one you like best.

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