PH Blog: M5 talks dirty

A confession. Until last Friday I'd never driven a BMW M5. Of any description. One of those weird black holes in my motoring back catalogue, only partly attributable to the fact I spent a good few years working on a Mercedes magazine and driving mainly AMGs.

So it's possible I'm a little biased. But I'm really not sure about the F10 M5.

Thank you Wales, Wiltshire and the M40 for your contributions
Thank you Wales, Wiltshire and the M40 for your contributions
And it's not for the want of trying. Just look at the thing. That's what you get after a lap of North Wales and hanging out on a video shoot with our man Harris on some very wet and soggy Wiltshire B-roads.

With the E63 AMGfresh in my mind it's been a good chance to compare the new M5 with a rival that matches it pretty much blow for blow on every line of the spec sheet. Never have AMG and M squared up to each other on such equal terms before.

It's a fascinating contest too, the German megasaloon equivalent of Impreza versus Evo or MP4-12C versus 458 Italia. And who's to complain at two 500hp-plus V8 heavyweights representing their respective manufacturers at the top of their games.

So what is it about the M5 that's left me, seemingly alone among every one of my peers, a bit cold? I will be exploring this in more detail, trust me. There may even be a 'Tell Me I'm Wrong' in it. Stuart already has.

Reserve fuel light on, needs a clean - PH is done!
Reserve fuel light on, needs a clean - PH is done!
In a nutshell it feels to me like the M5 is just trying a bit too hard. The E63 feels self-assured and confident in its own skin - it makes a 525hp E-Class seem an entirely sensible proposition. Availability as a wagon (as previously noted, it is officially acceptable to refer to Mercedes estates as wagons) is another point in its favour.

In comparison the M5 feels overwhelmed with pent-up aggression. And a little exhausting to be around. Its size and bulk - it's nearly 100kg more than the E63 saloon - are real limiting factors. So I'm not sure. There's so much to be impressed by. But to like? Not sure about that one.



Comments (216) Join the discussion on the forum

  • vinnie83 17 Sep 2012

    amg master said:
    dont think the m5 is manual and not every one who drives amg,'s are old men.just because someone likes the amg more does'nt mean the m5 is a bad car.i had a c63 amg and a m3 and i liked the amg more.
    I had an E55K AMG when I was 23 and loved it! (although everyone did think it was my dad's car).

    I must admit to not having owned an M5, but taking the slightly less well aged E-class looks out of the equation, and having spent a lot of time in my cousins E60 M5 - I'd choose the E55 again - but at the time the looks weren't dated.

    I haven't driven either the new M5 or E55 however, so cannot comment on one vs. the other.

    I don't think the M5 is really a young persons choice of car either though - most owners probably are 40+ for both models.

  • Behr 16 Sep 2012

    Okay so I'm all geared up to look at buying the new F10 M5 as a secondhand bargain. I think "hmm, how about looking for reviews on PH". So I find this thread.

    After reading the 'blog' that started this thread and all of the promises of a proper PH review herein throughout this thread - WHERE the hell is it? Were there not promises of a great review mentioned?

  • j123 26 Jan 2012

    "So what he is saying is, bad points can actually be good points, because they add some character..."

    Wip, Please tell us how/where does he say that bad points can be good points...bringing character?

  • Mr Whippy 26 Jan 2012

    j123 said:
    This from Sutclifs (don't much care for spelling it) latest blog on the new M F10's:

    "So although M Division’s engineers did ‘everything we could to reduce the car’s weight during the engineering process’ they knew they had one hand tied behind their back on this occasion.

    The result will be a hugely more refined M6, no doubt, and a gigantically rapid one, too, if the latest M5 is anything to go by. But whether it’ll contain the agility and slightly crazed response of the previous model – which I ran for six months way back when and, irritating gearbox aside, fell for in a very big way – is another question.

    I suspect that, one day, maybe in 10 years, the V10 M cars might just end up being remembered with more affection than those that replaced them – even if they were a little bit on the mad side to drive, had rubbish touring ranges and were virtually impossible to park."

    Even Steve is rather clearer and more articulate on this subject than the PH lot. j
    So what he is saying is, bad points can actually be good points, because they add some character... something anyone who owns cars for longer than five minutes before making their judgement, will actually determine (and which most magazines on tests won't achieve)


  • j123 26 Jan 2012

    Derestrictor said:
    I've tried to find SS's long term e63 pieces but they appear to have been forgotten.

    It is that combination of the idiosyncratic and lunacy which marks them out; you have to be a bona fide refusnik to deny these things their place in The Pantheon.
    It kind of ironic but maybe your seemingly purposeful uncommunicative- yet well written, to most I'd say, prose, is rather like the obfuscation of the journalists and bloggers we both critique. Kind of artful and potentially effective the way you meet confusion with confusion; if only most were smart enough to see it. Yes as we dismiss the old and embrace the new their place is often forever lost. j

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