Opinion: Why the M5 doesn\’t Need 600hp

Over the days since BMW ///Ms marketing teaser of the ///M5 I have thought about my expectations and how they differ from most. As an active member on forums and in doing my best to stay on top of all things in the BMW world I have noticed that many people see this next ///M5 to be unreal.

Literally unreal, I have read 600 HP and 575 lb-ft of torque blatantly speculated and thrown about like it is fact. The truth is that nobody outside Garching knows those numbers, whether they think they do or not. Even BMW ‘s notorious leakman “Scott/Herr ” has been mum on the output of the beast.

What is known are the weights and numbers of the cars competing in the “bahnburner ” segment. The Porsche Panamera Turbo weighs in at a lofty 4343 pounds. Power numbers reside in at 500 HPand up to 568 lb-ft. The Cadillac CTS-V and the whir of its supercharger crank out 556 HP and 551 lb-Ft. The Caddy tips the scales at 4250, surprisingly lighter than the Porsche. An autobahn war would not be complete without AMG throwing some flames, so the final competitor in the segment is of course the E63 Mercedes Benz. The Merc is the lightest and has the least output, although the largest displacement. 518hp/465 ft-lbs moving 4048 lbs.

Now comes the number that matters. The BMW 550i is the basis of the ///M5 and it weighs in at a relatively svelte 3946 lbs. Adding a hundred pounds just in case ///M confused Carbon Fiber and lead would make the ///M5 the lightest of the group still.

That begs the question- Does ///M need to even change the output numbers from the X5/X6 ///Ms? They come in at 555hp and 500 torques. That is 1 HP less than Caddy and gobs more torque than the MB. Does a lighter car in a more developed chassis need to have even more power than the competition?

To me it doesn ‘t, there is a point with rear wheel drive cars when too much power takes away from the rest of the experience and overall ability. For that reason I am guestimating that ///M will make the number the biggest in class but not by much. Fuel economy and street drivability are also important- remember the past model was 500 hp so even with the new car pushing 560 hp it would be a significant gain.

This is all conjecture on my part but I honestly don ‘t see the point of 600 HP in a sedan that would have been classified as a 7 Series less than a decade ago. Your thoughts are always welcomed.

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  • Drill

    I think the HP wars are nearing an end and this may be the second time we see ///M combine less output with a better/lighter chassis.

  • Erik

    Efficient Dynamics comes to mind after reading this article.

  • I am a bit confused here, are you suggesting that the M5 will only be 100lbs heavier than the 550i? I would think the added weight of the drivetrain to support this power output would be more than 100, but I could be wrong.

    I do agree that it’s time to stop the power wars and engage in weight wars.

  • JonPD

    I actually agree, think this is a tough one for ///M since the prior M5’s have been epic I would not be surprised that they will have to overcome some unrealistic expectations for the car. I admit I am one of those that hold the developments from ///M in a state of generally unrealistic expectations.

  • Roland Renno

    I’ve read the article and there are some key points that are still unsure to most of the people. Although it’s been widely speculated that the engine of the F10 M5 is basically the same as the one found under the bonnet of the X5 M/X6 M, the M5’s engine probably doesn’t use a designed gas pressure on each bank of cylinder to povoke a sound similar to the one on the X5 M/X6 M, which in turns sound like a V8 with a flat-plane crank configuration rather than cross-plane.

    BMW World

  • 03Beastcharmer

    As an owner of an E39 M5 and having done M School and spent a fair amount of time behind the wheel of an E60 M5, I agree. There is no need for 600Hp. I’d rather manage the weight and see sub 500Hp. For a street driven car, there is no need for 500hp unless your car weights 5,000lbs.

  • JRobUSC

    how is 500lb-ft “gobs more torques” than the 551lb-ft CTS-V? I’m not a math whiz but 500 is less than 551.

  • BobM

    If the new M5 has a carbon fiber roof, aluminun trunk and a few other weight saving tricks it could save a couple hundred pounds and still beat the other challangers. I guess the current test is fastest lap around the Nurenberg Ring. Should be fun to watch!

  • lava

    thats Nurburgring

  • HERR26

    For an M5 we like to think Figures are secondary amongst the many breadth of it’s talents. I agree figures bring headlines, but so does an M5. This car will bring headlines but if you want to put a figure on it start in the five-seventies…

  • goat

    The power has rarely been an issue and as you have shown power/weight should be near top of class even with the X5/X6 engine output specs. It is worth remembering that BMW engine outputs are often lower than competitors but the cars still out-accelerate even what the power/weight numbers would suggest. Conservative power reporting by BMW? Perhaps.

    So putting aside the power “non-issue”, I agree wholeheartedly that it is handling dynamics that should matter more with the M cars going forward. And, increasingly, this does mean keeping weight in check.

    Reviews show the Panamera to be a formidable handler despite the porcine weight and battleship-broad width and the CTS-V has pulled some stunning lap N.Ring times and been praised by a diverse motoring press for its handling, but I know BMW can show them all up if the marketing team lets the engineering team sell the M5 as a more hardcore pull-out-the-stops sport sedan rather than a sedan aimed at the “spec sheet” plutocratic enthusiasts who would complain about quick steering or a firm ride. I guess we’ll see…

  • @JRobUSC- I actually did not want this to get posted today, but I published it instead of keeping it as a draft. My apologies- it has been edited as it should have originally appeared.

  • Adam

    I would love nothing more than weight savings over power trips, for BMW’s and real world cars. The new Lamborghini Aventador can use 700 HP because not only is it a flamboyant exotic, but its all wheel drive so it can get away with it.

    BMW may suprise us all with the M5, could show what they plan for the future…. chassis/weight savings combined with healthy power, rather than say AMG’s approach “big engine, big power”.