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BMW M5 V10

Broadcast dates : 15th August 2004
19th August 2004


Production of the BMW M5 gets underway this month at the company’s Motorsport division in Munich, Germany.

And many enthusiasts believe this fourth-generation M5 will be the most spectacular car yet to carry the famous "M" badge. The public had its first glimpse of the new M5 at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, where it was announced as a "concept."
But it was clear to anyone seeing the new machine that this was as close to a production road going version as you are likely to get. Testing in snow-bound Europe ensured a certain degree of privacy for the new M5 before the public was shown the "teaser" model in Geneva.

But anyone who heard the exhaust note of the new performance sedan would conclude that something "very different indeed " was happening here.


A look beneath the aluminium bonnet will confirm the suspicion that the V8 engine used to such good effect in the past two generations of M5 has been consigned to history. Instead, at the heart of the matter is a V10 engine, developed directly from the V10 BMW that powers the Williams Formula One car. The M5 will be the first four-seater sedan to use a petrol V10.

And like all performance BMW engines of the past few decades, this engine has been built along classic motorsport lines, ignoring the current trends towards superchargers and turbochargers.

The naturally-aspirated V-10 has a 90-degree V-layout and uses four valves per cylinder, and some very special parts, such as crankshaft, conrods, pistons and cylinder linings, to allow it to rev very high.
Displacing five-litres, the motor is said to spin to eight thousand two hundred and fifty rpm which by five-litre standards makes it a real "screamer".

Power output is said to be three hundred and seventy five kilowatts, which is the same power levels that Mercedes have extracted from their supercharged five comma five litre V8 used in the SL 55.

In its initial testing, BMW claim zero to one hundred in four comma seven seconds, and zero to one hundred and ninety in under thirteen seconds.

The M5 comes without the standard German-Government Approved 250 km/h top speed limiter.

As the car is a limited edition along the lines of Porsche, it’s allowed a sports car designation, and top speed is rumored to be over three hundred and twenty kilometres per hour!

Power delivery for the M5 will, as usual, be through the rear wheels, as BMW insists that this is the classic layout that gives its cars special, driver-orientated feel.

A choice of paddle shift SMG or manual gearboxes will be available, and both are seven-speed devices.

To ensure that power is applied to the road a very advanced limited slip differential has been developed for the car.

Obviously all the suspension and braking components on the new M5 have been beefed up to handle the extra power.

And those beautiful 10-spoke wheels are nineteen inches in diameter, fitted with 225 by 40 series Michelin tyres at the front, and massive 285 by 35 tyres at the rear.

The more brutal styling treatment of the M5 gives the basic 5-Series shape a real sense of purpose.

BMW Motorsport has reworked nearly every panel on the car, in the interests of saving weight, housing the wider rubber, providing cooling to the mighty V10 engine and creating a slippery shape, yet with lots of down-force.

Most noticeable change is at the front, with a much deeper air-dam incorporating a massive radiator air intake and ducting for brake and oil cooling.

The rear end features the now traditional quad exhaust set-up for M-division cars, and the entire rear bumper is new. It also features a rear extractor duct to keep the rear axle cool.

On the side of the car, the traditional M oval vents give notice that is a very special 5-Series. And the door sills have been extended to balance the deeper front and rear bumpers.

Another attractive M-feature is the sharkfin aerial mounted on the roof, while door handles and wing mirrors are subtly changed to enhance the M5’s clean, mean look.

Inside the cockpit, there is a much sportier version of the elegant 5-Series interior.

The familiar, if rather unwieldy I-Drive system is used, but with an additional M-Drive function. This can also be activated on the steering wheel.

At the touch of the button, the suspension is stiffened up, the throttle response is sharpened, a Head-up display is activated and shift modes on the SMG gearbox – if specified – are switched to full performance settings.

A number of Dynamic Stability Control menus are also on offer, ranging from conservative to extreme, allowing the driver to slide the car around.

The numerous leather trim options are all exclusive to the M5, and a number of combinations will be on offer after the car is launched at the Paris Motor Show in October.

The M5 is not expected here in South Africa until the first or second quarter of 2005.

But when it arrives there will be a long waiting list for the first examples.

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