After hitting the 250km/h speed limiter down the back straight at Sandown Raceway, it never struck me that BMW’s F90 M5 needed more power. But just six months after that drive, I’m thundering down the main straight at Sydney Motorsport Park in a 460kW M5 Competition. Thanks to an ECU tweak that increases boost pressure from 1.7 to 1.8-bar, power is up 19kW over the Launch Edition. Maximum torque remains 750Nm but it’s now available over an additional 200rpm from 1800-5860rpm. However, since the M5 first went turbocharged with the previous-generation model, we’ve always felt that the German super sedan has made significantly more torque than BMW admits to. Whatever the official numbers say, the new M5 Competition certainly feels as brawny as the Mercedes-AMG E63 S that claims 450kW and 850Nm.
The additional power is held in place by stiffer engine mounts and is transmitted to all four wheels via a recalibrated eight-speed torque converter automatic and the rear-biased all-wheel-drive system. In addition to these drivetrain tweaks, the steering and suspension have been scrutinised as well. The front wheels have had a camber increase from 0.5 degrees to 1.2 (for sharper steering response), while the M5 Competition sits 7mm lower on 10 per cent stiffer springs and dampers.
The Competition cuts the already ballistic 0-100km/h time of the Launch Edition from 3.4 to 3.3 seconds, which, frankly, you’ll be doing well to spot without a Vbox. However, as the speed builds, the extra power begins to tell and the Competition storms to 200km/h half a second faster than the 441kW car (now an astonishing 10.3). And for the first time, BMW Australia will offer the option of the M Driver’s Package ($2250) that raises the top speed from 250km/h to a still-limited 305km/h. Buying an M5 Competition (or any other M model) entitles you to a BMW Level 1 Driving Experience course valued at $1395, while ticking the box for the M Driver’s Package on the M5 Competition grants you access to the Level 2 course valued at $2200. Who, then, wouldn’t pay $50 for an extra 55km/h?
The M5 Competition is packed with even more goodies than the already loaded Launch Edition model; these include a 1400-Watt 16-speaker Bowers and Wilkins audio system, carbonfibre engine cover, front and rear soft-close doors, and sun blinds for rear screen (electric) and rear side glass (manual).
It’s a warm day at Sydney Motorsport Park with the ambient in the low thirties and the track a baking 62-degrees Celsius. The temperature combines with the speed and weight of the M5 to destroy the Pirelli P Zero rubber within a handful of laps – tyre pressures are nudging 50psi and are being adjusted after each four-lap stint. The brakes are also working hard to pull 100km/h out of the charging M5 several times per lap, but they don’t wilt. Still, it’s obvious that even a flowing circuit such as SMP isn’t the M5 Competition’s natural environment (despite the boast of the badge).
The launch afforded no road time, but we suspect that the ballistic M5 Competition would make a sensational companion on the daily grind and the big trip, traits that all generations of M5 have exhibited.
For the Australian market, the $229,900 Competition model replaces the $199,900 M5 Launch Edition. Jesse Taylor
Engine V8, 4395cc
Power 460kW @ 6000rpm
Torque 750Nm @ 1800- 5860rpm
Weight 1940kg (237kW/tonne)
Top speed 305km/h
Basic price $229,900