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2014 BMW M5 Competition Package Review & Test Drive

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With virtually all sports cars available today, technology has become the ruler of their performance. After 30 years of the BMW M5 much of that can be said about the 2014 BMW M5 in more ways than one. Although technology has taken a front seat for vehicles like the new M5, the Motorsports division of BMW still has a bit of that old passion reiterated in the latest offering of the M5 as one of the fastest midsized sedans money can buy.

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The passion for the BMW M5 has always been its luxury apathy delightfully mixed with a performance persona that is undeniable and can hang with the likings of exotic and supercars sporting 2-fewer doors. Basically, it is a dual personality that no one argues with. The 2014 BMW M5 continues this tradition possibly reversing any backwards motion enthusiasts may have thought the M5 was headed in. Touting a standard 560 horsepower in the M5, and now an improved 575 horsepower in my Competition package-equipped 2014 BMW M5 test vehicle, the M5 can be summed up as one of the meanest luxury performance sedans on the road even in the performance-number-conscious world that we live in. Of course, the 2014 BMW M5 backs up its stout nature with the numbers on paper thanks to its 575 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine, 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (optional no-cost 6-speed manual) and large 20-inch wheels wrapped in a staggered set of 265/35 front and 295/30 sticky Michelin Pilot Sport rubber as part of the optional Competition Package. Also part of the Competition Package for the 2014 BMW M5, are reworking of various suspension components like the bushings, stronger stabilizers and a ride height 0.4 inches lower than the standard M5. The hydrologic steering rack was also tweaked for a better feel and the M Dynamic mode seems to let you slide out a bit more than on a non-comp package M5.

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Performance is where it begins and ends with the 2014 BMW M5. The luxury part of the M5 is sometimes an afterthought that supports the idea of the normal BMW 5 Series has already beaten into the minds of enthusiasts and the common Starbucks stockholders – who want their cake and can eat it when they darn well please. The BMW M5 is more than just the top-of-the-line 5 series, it is an extension of that BMW Motorsport passion in the confides of what the current 5 Series serves up in its plush cabin, luxurious seating for 5, enough iDrive gadgetry to help launch the next fortune 500 company’s interactive website, and the looks to leave no questions asked as to what type of vehicle is bearing down on you with 4 LED-lit halo ringed running lights.

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To get right into the meat of things, the 2014 BMW M5 is all of what you expect from a BMW on the inside, but the drive controls is what can slightly tame the beast that the M5 is or let it lose at the mercy of your physical and mental strength. With 3 drive modes (efficient/comfort, Sport, Sport Plus) all separated into the steering, active dampers, engine management and a distinct dual-clutch transmission 3-step setting, serving up your M5 dish is essentially how you want it, just like those dreadful fast food slogans. Speaking of fast, the M5 is just that. Popping all settings into Sport Plus and turning the dual-clutch transmission setting up to highest mark, unleashes all the M5 has to offer. You can even save your desired drive settings to one of the two configurable steering wheel M buttons for quickly dialing up your favorite fun level. A few things to note with Sport Plus modes, the steering gets substantially heavy, I like that, the throttle response is sharper, I like that too, the dual-clutch transmission shifts bang through the gears with authority, a major like also, and the adaptive dampers make the M5 feel like it just lost a few hundred pounds and added some glue to the tires. The M5 may feel like a big car just by sitting in it, but in Sport Plus mode across the board it feels somewhat nimble. However, the 4,387 pound curb weight may show its face when you break the rear end lose and attempt to bring it back in line at a decent speed. At the full extent of what a race mode should be, with all settings in sport plus mode, dual-clutch transmission in manual mode, and traction/stability control fully disabled (hold traction control button down for 3 seconds), you can enable launch mode by holding the shifter forward, stomping on the gas, then letting go of the shifter when you are ready for your mission to 60 mph in about 3.6 seconds. I wont go into all of the numbers others have tested with the M5, just know that the 3.6 seconds is legit and it does it without fail with the only variable being the amount of rear-wheel traction.

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What isn’t to like about the M5 is the piped-in artificial engine sounds. This “noise”, what I will call it, is something I could do without and an attribute to a poor stab by BMW to emulate more ‘sound’ from the engine into the cabin. I realize the M5 utilizes quite a bit of sound deadening to add appeal to the luxury side of things. Though, the faux engine audio belongs on my PlayStation or Xbox, not bubbling out of the dashboard of a BMW M-Car. The Competition Package’s modified exhaust system’s note can be delightful at times, especially at the abrupt surge of the turbo’s wastegate. Even hammered full-throttle shifts around 5,500 rpm satisfying with a nice thunderous pop from the exhaust and wastegate. More of that rawness piped into the M5’s character would have appealed more to enthusiasts than the artificial engine banter played like a nagging in-law.

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Living day to day with the 2014 BMW M5 Competition Package is a daily reminder that the M5 deserves occasional track sessions just to satisfy your eager desires to push the M5 to the limits. Of course, pushing the M5 anywhere near the limit on public roads is just going to get you in trouble. Nevertheless, you can still act civil and enjoy the luxury side of the M5, which can actually be extracted in doses only tolerable up to the moment someone wants to challenge you to a 60 mph duel. Provided your street-competition has some form of a stock production vehicle, the M5 will show them who is boss and they will be wondering why a BMW luxury sedan is living the ‘quarter mile at a time’ lifestyle. Of course, living fast and furious is going to cost you a bit at the pump with an EPA estimated 14 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Surprisingly, I received a consistent 23 mpg on the highway cruising slightly above the posted speed limit. Not too bad, but who is going to really pay attention to mpg when the price of admission for this new M5 is around $100K. We are far from a Prius here, like light years away – and I don’t mind visiting the pump a few extra times for this much fun.

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The 2014 BMW M5 Competition Package has definitely not lost its way in the ///M tradition of things. It is poised and ready to be flogged at the drop of a hat. Bringing things down to a civilized speed, in more ways than one, are the optional carbon ceramic brakes on my M5 test vehicle. These things are massive and will never be taxed in the confides of public roads unless you are doing some outrageous (and illegal) ‘things’. The brakes, 6-piston fronts and single piston rear calipers on massive carbon ceramic rotors, are almost overkill for normal roads, but you can easily see their benefit on the track or in emergency situations. They bite hard and all they react with almost zero dead travel. On the street you may find yourself braking way too early and having to let off of the pedal… more overkill. You almost welcome the high-pitch squeal from the carbon ceramics, it just shows onlookers that you are driving a luxurious race car – or they think you can’t afford new brakes that don’t squeak for this $117,000 as-tested Bavarian monster.

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Having owned BMW M vehicles, I can contest to the subtle rawness of the BMW M5. Many traits, such as the no-creep from the dual-clutch transmission until you hit the gas pedal at a dead stop, full manual control of the shift paddles, and optional 6-speed manual transmission, still leave the M5 in a category for purest seeking the best technology has to offer in a midsized luxury ultimate-performance vehicle. In itself, that title is well deserved and the BMW M5 Competition Package might just be worth the price of admission when you tally up all of what it offers, and it is A LOT.

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My 2014 BMW M5 Competition Package test vehicle featured, as included equipment, most available options that you find on the new 550i. Added to my test vehicle for options included the Competition Package ($7,300) adding additional horsepower (575hp total) and 20-inch wheels along with the minor drivetrain and suspension system changes. Other options included the Drivers Assistance Plus Package ($1,900 – active blind spot detection, active driving assistance, and side and top-view cameras), Executive Package ($5,500 – heated steering wheel, power tailgate, comfort access keyless entry, rear sunshades, soft-close doors, front ventilated seats, rear heated seats, active front seats, 4-zone climate control, heads-up display, Satellite radio and concierge services.) and M Carbon Ceramic Brakes ($9,250). Adding in the $925 destination charge and $1,300 gas guzzler tax it brings the as-tested price to $117,075.

Copyright: 2014 Automotive Addicts.com

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base M5 $95,125 / As-Tested M5 Competition Package $117,075
  • Engine: 4.4-liter DOHC Twin-Turbo V8 575 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm / 502 ft-lbs. torque @ 1,500 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 116.7in.
  • Total length: 193.5in.
  • Total width: 74.4in.
  • Total height: 57.3in.
  • Track: f/r-64.1/62.2in.
  • Headroom: f/r-40.5/38.3in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.4/36.1in.
  • Fuel tank: 21.1-gallons
  • Turning circle: 41.3-ft.
  • Curb weight: 4,387 lbs.
  • EPA mileage: 14 mpg/city, 20 mpg/highway
  • 0-60 mph: 3.6 seconds

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