Advertisement
BBC TopGear
BBC TopGear
Advertisement feature
WELCOME TO HYUNDAI’S HAPPINESS MACHINE
View the latest news
Long-term review

BMW M5 - long-term review

£89,645/£101,900 as tested
Published: 30 Aug 2019
Advertisement

SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • SPEC

    BMW M5

  • ENGINE

    4395cc

  • BHP

    600bhp

  • MPG

    26.1mpg

  • 0-62

    3.4s

Battle Cruisers

Back in Report 3, I got the M5 together with Alpina’s B5. Same money, same power, slightly different philosophy. I decided that although the Alpina was the smoother-riding devourer of autobahns, I’d rather have the M5’s more sporting feel. This month I’m putting the M5 through the wringer again – this time a battle royale against the old foe, Mercedes-AMG’s E63S. And the result this time is that…

Hang about. We’ve done this twin test before and given the nod to the M5 because it handles a bit better. And it does. But that’s the advantage of long-term reports – they give you time to develop a more personal relationship with a car, to see if you fit each other properly. Much harder concept to get across than ‘handles a bit better’, but also more important in the long run.

Advertisement - Page continues below

How do the M5 and E63S reflect on each other then? Here’s what the Merc does better: noise, drama, stance, attitude, estateyness. And the BMW: torque, comfort, pliancy, stealth. Expressed another way, the Merc is more of an extrovert (theatrical cabin, too), the BMW purely focused on the driving – it rides less crashily at low speed, has a smoother 4WD system, better drivetrain and so on.

As an object the Merc is more appealing – those arches, the dual roles that a 600bhp estate fulfils. It makes me want it more. But the BMW is comfier to use and drive every day. Each morning I get into it and sigh contentedly. I noticed the E63 too much – the harder seats, lumpy ride, unsettled drivetrain. The M5’s more efficient, too (26mpg on a long haul plays 22).

But I often want it to jab at me a bit more, to remind me it’s special. In fact, I often get out of it thinking I preferred the M3 I ran a few years back. That jabbed at me. And it’s the same with the E63S. There’s a hint of loose cannon about it I love. And there’s something about a fast estate, isn’t there? It’s a very personal decision, but I think I’d have the E63S and hope it would goad me into a good mood each morning. I know it’d make me more excited just walking out of the house, seeing it and knowing the noise it makes.

Advertisement - Page continues below

Subscribe to the Top Gear Newsletter

Get all the latest news, reviews and exclusives, direct to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, you agree to receive news, promotions and offers by email from Top Gear and BBC Studios. Your information will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

BBC TopGear

Try BBC Top Gear Magazine

subscribe