BMW M5 Competition – because apparently it needed more power

09th May 2018
Bob Murray

BMW M GmbH is reasserting its super-saloon authority by taking on the competition with… the Competition. We have had Competition versions of BMW M cars before but now the promise is of lots more as the badge graduates from occasional special to standalone new model. And this new era of the fastest of the fastest starts today with the new M5 Competition.


With an extra 25bhp, broader torque range and bespoke, track-focused chassis tuning, plus a whole lot of seriously cool interior and exterior trim upgrades, the new Competition arrives as the crowning glory of the entire M range. In fact with the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 pumping out 616bhp it beats even the top V12 7-Series as most powerful BMW on sale. 

As you would expect it all translates into a faster car, if only by degrees: the turbo’ed and all-wheel drive sixth-gen M5 for 2018 is already a seriously fast car. In a drag race against the standard M5, the Competition is a tenth quicker to 62mph at 3.3 seconds, and three tenths quicker to 124mph, at 10.8 seconds. With the M Driver’s package, the car will hit 189mph de-restricted. 

The extra top-end power and the maximum 55 lbft of torque now spread out between 1800 and 5800rpm (200rpm more than before), promise to come into sharp focus on a track. BMW says the car can deliver “a race-inspired driving experience” and is especially suited to ultra-dynamic grand prix tracks. As before, selecting Sport mode activates the damper settings used for testing on the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife. 

The chassis tuning involves lowering the body 7mm and tweaks by M chassis gurus to suspension geometry (more front camber, new balljoints instead of rubber for rear toe joints), and recalibrated anti-roll bars and dampers plus 10 per cent stiffer springs. While BMW says the ride is firmer it also says there is more precise high-speed wheel control and the car turns in more directly, thanks in part to new engine mounts. Developed for the M5 Competition, the new mounts are said also to improve engine response. 


M5 Competition wheels are 20-inch light-alloy Y-spoke design in a bi-colour finish, wearing 275/35s up front and wider 285/35s rear. Like the standard M5, drive modes include a DSC-off, rear-drive-only button for tyre-smoking antics. 

With the exception of a colour and trim upgrade – spot the M5 Competition coming up behind you by its signature high-gloss black kidney grille – the car is otherwise as everyday-usable and family-friendly as any M5. 

Available from the summer, the new standalone M5 Competition will, like all M cars, be an important model for the UK, one of M’s biggest markets. Competition versions have proved popular in the past; 40 per cent of all previous-generation M5s were sold with  an M Competition package. There are already Competition versions of the M4 and M3 and the new M2 Competition is on its way. But the last time we had a Competition M5 was 2017 in a limited 200-run farewell edition to the outgoing M5
Good to know that this time, and in the future too, BMW’s Competition badge stands for rather more than just Auf Wiedersehen
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