BMW M5 up Aamby Valley

Like the BMW M5. It looks so mild, so usable, so practical, nobody will ever believe it munches supercars for lunch and sportscars as a digestive. It has four doors, it seats five people and has a massive boot. With 552bhp and 680Nm, this latest concoction of a hybrid monster with the body of a family sedan and the consciousness of a supercar seems to have outdone every one of its predecessors. Now, we never bother mentioning figures in stories. That’s what the spec box is for. But in an era of insane power figures, the M5’s make for such phenomenal reading, its specification-sheet should be chained inside a padded cell.

On the road, though, it does nothing that will put you in an asylum. With all the safety nets on, the M5 goes about some very difficult tasks like straightening tight hairpins and bringing very distant horizons together very quickly with the effortlessness of your dog fetching the stick you tossed off. The interior hides no clue to this machine’s extraordinary intent. There’s an ‘M’ badge in the steering, and a light engraving on the headrest that you won’t notice till you are told.

But once started, the car behaves like that barman who you visit every day, but who still never understands the words, “the usual”. You have to select stuff like steering intensity, suspension intensity, the revs at which you want the seven-speed automatic transmission to shift. Which is fine.