24 May 2016 Last updated

Long-term reviews

Long-term review: BMW M5 - Week 4

By Amit Benjamin
Added 15:14 | August 6, 2013
  • Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM
  • M5 badging is much more subtle than in the previous model.

    Source:Stefan Lindeque/ANM

The M5 is a phenomenal sports saloon, but some practicality issues have come to the fore

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.


Driven by Amit
Start mileage 1,804km
Recent cost Fuel
Average fuel economy 27 litres-per-100km
Highs Superb all-rounder
Lows Fuel economy, ineffective seat cooling, turning circle  

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.