Things are looking grim for our long-term M5 this week. Although its ability to plant a Steven Tyler-spec smile on your face is incontrovertible, some boring practicality issues have surfaced. Starting with its fuel efficiency, which has dropped quite significantly in the past few days.
The average consumption meter reliably informs me that the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 is now chomping a substantial 26.8 litres-per-100km. In other words a litre of premium fuel now translates to roughly about four kilometres of forward progress. That is a financially ruinous thirst. While some of this is no doubt down to my exuberant driving style, even if you behave like a civilised individual I’m certain you’ll fail to match BMW’s quoted figure of under 10 litres-per-100km.
Then there is the seat cooling, which doesn’t work very well. Even on the coldest setting you won’t be aware of it unless your derrière is blessed with superhuman thermometric capabilities. That said, the air conditioning is potent enough to chill the cabin right down within minutes, so you don’t really mind the minimal seat cooling as much.
There is something to be said about the turning circle too. It’s not the easiest to manoeuvre when you’re in a sea of badly parked cars at a shopping mall. This is surprising because a Porsche Panamera GTS, which is about an inch and a half longer than the M5, has a more manageable turning radius. Executing a successful parking job in a tight lot requires plenty of patience.
However, despite these minor annoyances, I still think the M5 is the best sports saloon out there. It is an absolute riot to drive and as a tool to transport a family at warp speed it’s pretty much unrivalled in its class, singed bottoms notwithstanding.