You are here

Specification:
BMW M5
Engine:
4395cc, V8 twin-turbo, RWD, 591bhp, 553lb ft
Claimed MPG:
26.9mpg, 241g/km CO2
Performance:
0–62mph in 3.4secs, 155mph
Weight:
1855kg
Price:
£89,645/£101,900 as tested

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.

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.

Read more on:

What do you think?

This service is provided by Disqus and is subject to their privacy policy and terms of use. Please read Top Gear’s code of conduct (link below) before posting.