Our Cars

BMW M5, VW Ar­teon, Vaux­hall In­signia…

CAR (UK) - - Contents - By Mark Walton

GOD I LOVE this BMW M5, and it’s ALL MINE FOR SIX MONTHS. I’m still in shock. I think my fel­low writ­ers at CAR are a bit stunned too – how did I pull it off? Not sure ex­actly – the keys were just there, so I took them and ran.

It’s the most ex­pen­sive long-term test car I’ve ever run for CAR. The ba­sic on­the-road price for the new M5 is £89,705, and for that you get all-wheel drive (a first for the M5) and a driv­e­train that ditches BMW’s ra­zor-sharp twin-clutch DTC in favour of a reg­u­lar eight-speed auto ’box. All stan­dard, no choice.

Of course, there are other op­tions if you want to spend more dol­lar: our car is fin­ished in Rhodonite Sil­ver paint (£1095); it has a sports ex­haust (£1100); a cou­ple of equip­ment packs, Pre­mium and Comfort (£1995 and £1195 re­spec­tively), that add things like soft­close doors and a heated steer­ing wheel; plus a few de­tails like Ap­ple CarPlay (£235) and stripy M seat­belts (£260). The price is now ap­proach­ing £95k, but tick the box that says M Car­bon Ce­ramic Brakes – go on, tick it, I know you want to – and you add a hefty £7495 to the bill, bring­ing our car’s to­tal to £102,82o.

So, I’m in love with an au­to­matic 4x4? Bet­ter ex­plain. First, it’s the mon­ster en­gine, a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that puts out 592bhp, up al­most 40bhp on the last gen­er­a­tion M5. It is a gi­gan­tic, NASA-style Saturn rocket of an en­gine that flings this nearly two-tonne saloon around as if it were made of pa­per. The stats say 0-62mph in 3.4 sec­onds and a top speed (der­e­stricted) of 190mph. But those num­bers can’t con­vey the in-gear ac­cel­er­a­tion – the shove it gives you in sec­ond gear, or the way it over­takes in third or fourth. When I take un­wit­ting pas­sen­gers out for a quick blast, they all do the same thing: yelp, gri­mace and in­stinc­tively reach for the grab han­dle. It is sav­agely quick.

I’m also in love with this switch­able chas­sis. This is un­usual for me – nor­mally I hate wal­lowy Comfort modes and Sport set­tings that are so stiff they rattle your fillings out. Nor­mally I just end up in Nor­mal.

But in the new M5, the set­tings make this my per­fect all-rounder. So it’s rain­ing and the traf­fic is heavy and I’m on my way home? Just leave ev­ery­thing in Comfort, 4x4, auto, trac­tion con­trol on. True, the M5 is rel­a­tively bland like this – it feels quick but sub­dued, the steer­ing lacks feel and there are no fire­works.

But then there are the two bright red M but­tons on the steer­ing wheel, that look like they should only be de­ployed by a fire­man. De­spite some crit­i­cism of hy­per-com­plex­ity, the se­cret to this car is spending five min­utes cre­at­ing your per­fect M1 and M2 set­tings. So if I’m in a hurry and I don’t want lurid over­steer, I choose M1, which I’ve set to be 4x4 but now with Sport steer­ing, en­gine re­sponse and sus­pen­sion, and half-way­house trac­tion con­trol al­low­ing a lit­tle bit of slip.

And if I re­ally want to let rip, slide my way home and roast the tyres, I choose M2, which I’ve set up as a nut­ter mode: ev­ery­thing in Sport Plus, pure rear-wheel drive, trac­tion com­pletely off. Now the M5 will over­steer round round­abouts like a drift car while I climb out and wave at the crowd from the bon­net. It’s three dis­tinc­tive per­son­al­i­ties in one car.

So, I’m ig­nor­ing the fuel con­sump­tion (13mpg if you abuse the M2 but­ton) and I’m lit­er­ally count­ing down the weeks, dread­ing the day it goes back. Un­til then, it’s all MINE MINE MINE!

Strained ex­pres­sion the re­sult of Mark try­ing not to look too smug

‘No, re­ally, with our M2 mode en­gaged it does this all on its own, o icer!’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.