Perfection. It’s an impossible concept to live up to for any car. Yet in this revised BMW M5 Competition we may just have that. The BMW M5 has always been positioned as a supercar in sedan’s clothing. But not since the E39 M5 has BMW produced a car that feels as cohesively good as this revised M5 Competition.
It starts with the 617 hp under the hood. It’s a gaudy number and only 10 shy of what the mythical McLaren F1 produced from a BMW sourced V12. But what makes this M5 so good (and perhaps where it’s predecessor didn’t deliver as well) is its ability to drive smaller and deliver engagement at almost any speed. And that’s made even more impressive when you realize that this car is roughly the same size as a 7 Series from a decade ago.
This revised 2022 BMW M5 Competition is in many ways the end of the road for the ultimate four door BMW. At least in it’s current petrol powered formula. While there will be another M5 and it will once again redefine performance for a four door sedan, it will have the added weight of a hybrid system. While it will undoubtedly have more performance it will also go further yet from that simple and effective formula first seen in the E28 M5.
The 2022 BMW M5 Competition – What’s New
But before we go full requiem lets talk about what this revised M5 brings to the table. There are two key areas that have changed; ride and performance. While we never had issues with the first version of the F90 M5, BMW heard plenty of feedback that the ride was too harsh. But how do you address that complaint given that this is an M5 – a car that can and should go from the office to the track in one afternoon. M engineers went to work and revised the dampers allowing for more travel and ultimately a more comfortable ride. But crucially they also increased shock rates by 10% which helped to maintain the precision and feedback the M5 is known for. The result is a car that is slightly more comfortable yet no less affective.
Add to this the gorgeous aluminum sub-frames, aluminum forged control arms and tons of bespoke suspension components and it’s no surprise how effective this car is on track.
An M5 As Daily Driver?
We’ve driven this generation M5 in many scenarios from the track to the winding roads of Southern California. This time we had it on home turf and decided to head up to the northern reaches of Michigan (the Midwest’s own version of the wine coast) and some of the best roads within 1,000 miles.
The 2022 BMW M5 is incredible on the track and the smooth roads of Southern California – this we know. And despite the concerns we had about M adding xDrive and an automatic, we were quickly made believers of this new M formula. Perhaps believers isn’t a strong enough word. We were ready to go door to door singing the praises of this new M God. But that was on the track and in the optimal conditions of Palm Springs. What is it like to live with as a daily driver? Could it deliver the same excellence when faces with kids, commutes and road-trips? And is this truly the best M5 since the E39 (as we had unabashedly proclaimed)? Let’s find out.
For an enthusiast the 2022 BMW M5 is as close to daily driver perfection as you could imagine. Comfortable, confident and scary fast any time you need it, the M5 seemingly does it all. The revision to the suspension sorted the last bits of trade-off making this the most forgiving yet more rewarding M5 since the E39.
The Q-car or sleeper is a car that defined by a high performance sedan with an unassuming exterior. It’s this brief that the M5 has attempted to achieve in every generation. And here in 2022 with the LCI revisions and the Competition package, the M5 has achieved it.
With 0-60 under 3 seconds there’s no question the revise F90 can make your eyes bleed with acceleration. But the M5 can also be a docile daily driver that can commute with semi-autonomy and total comfort. The trunk is as big as ever and the backseats are as inviting as any 5 Series.
More than perhaps any car, the electrification of the driver controls (throttle and steering specifically) have allowed M engineers to create proper disparity between comfort and sport settings – something LCI has subtly furthered. This suits no car on earth more than the M5 enhancing its ability to be all things to any situation.
The 2022 BMW M5 is headlined by the absolutely gaudy 617 hp figure. While shy of the legendary McLaren F1 by 10 hp, the M5’s twin-turbo V8 out produces the F1 by 79 lb-ft. While unchanged since its launch in 2018, that 553 lb-ft is really the defining factor of the M5 in many way. The broad range of the power-band combined with the engine’s shocking ability rev (for twin-turbo high capacity V8) creates one of the most impressive power-plants we’ve ever tested.
Much like the best M5s (the E39 certainly included) this F90 M5 is a master at doing anything and everything with excellence. That means everything from the daily commute to 2.8 seconds to 60 when necessary. Yes this is electric car territory with all the sound and furry of a petrol engine. A big part of that performance is down to the excellent xDrive system which we found to be fairly invisible in most circumstances. And while it can be switched off entirely, M engineers have designed the torque split in a way that you’ll very likely not need to given its rear wheel drive characteristics. It turns out that xDrive isn’t the enemy we thought it was.
Despite a torque converter auto and all wheel drive, the 2022 BMW M5 Competition still feels surprisingly more tactile and immediate than the previous car. While it loses out to the E60 in steering feel it’s immediacy of power and even turn-in blows that car away.
But what we keep coming back to is the engine’s ability to rev quickly – all 4.4L of it. Like the new M3 and M4, BMW has focused on fitting this car not with monstrous turbos but ones that can react quickly and feel more linear in power delivery. The result is a redline that comes up much quicker than you’d expect and car that feels almost instinctive in the way it reacts to throttle inputs.
Another surprise was the the M5 overall efficiency given the gaudy power figures. Overall we averaged 16.5 mpg in most city driving. Better than an E90 M3 and shockingly not far off from the 1M in our garage. However it was on the highway where it really surprised us returning 24.6 mpg cruising at long stretched of 65 mph. As that speed inched upwards we saw it fall to 21.6 – still respectable given how the there are many smaller M cars that have had trouble achieving close to that.
Should I Buy One?
Our test car came very well equipped at $136,045 and included such options as the Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System and M Carbon Ceramic brakes. While options like that aren’t even a viable on the Tesla Model S Plaid, that car’s performance is in another league for roughly the same money. Comparing apples to apples is simpler and that’s where BMW has a distinct advantage of being more driver focused and yet just as comfortable as the AMG E63 and Audi RS6.
What’s clear is that if you want the ultimate petrol powered executive transport capable of basically anything, nothing quite matches to what the M5 delivers. The reality is that BMW has once again carved out their niche with a real performance sedan that defies logic and physics. But more importantly (and this is key), the revised 2022 BMW M5 Competition is utterly rewarding to drive.
This revised 2022 BMW M5 Competition is an M5 in the best tradition. All the comforts of a luxury spec M550i with a hardcore M edge. This is what an M5 was always meant to be. And for the first time since the now mythical E39 M5, BMW has unequivocally nailed it.