For those who aren’t satisfied with the 445-horsepower in a 550 sedan, the M3’s 4.4-liter turbocharged V8 generates a mighty 560 horsepower (575 with the optional Competition Package). A seven-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission is standard, but a six-speed manual gearbox may be substituted as a no-extra-cost option. Acceleration to 60 mph takes as little as 4.2 seconds.
Automatic start-stop technology helps, but as expected, fuel economy isn’t an M5 strong point. The EPA estimates 15 mpg in city driving and 22 mpg on the highway (17 mpg combined) with manual shift. The automated-manual transmission drops the figures to 14/20 mpg (16 mpg combined).
In addition to a batch of M-performance goodies, the M5 comes with plenty of luxurious comforts and conveniences. Standard equipment includes leather upholstery, wood interior trim, adaptive damping with adjustable driving modes, 20-way power front seats with memory functions, a 16-speaker Harmon Kardon audio system, a navigation system, and 19-inch double-spoke light alloy wheels
For an additional $7,300, the Competition Package boosts engine output to 575 horsepower, while adding 20-inch wheels, as well as tuning the steering, suspension and throttle responses for more demanding driving. Enhancing the luxury side of the M5 equation, the $6,000 Executive Package includes adaptive full LED exterior lighting, a head-up display, automatic soft-close doors, power rear and rear side sunshades, heated rear seats and steering wheel, and ventilated front seats.
On the safety front, a Driver Assistance Plus package includes blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, side- and top-view cameras, collision warning and mitigation, and speed-limit information. Individual options include the manual transmission (no extra cost), carbon ceramic brakes, Night Vision camera with pedestrian detection, rear entertainment, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system.
Why pick an M5 over its less-expensive “M” cousins, the four-door M3 and two-door M4? You get more interior space, plus phenomenal V8 power for full-bore action. The Competition Package is worth its hefty cost if you value the added grip and precision. Even without it, of course, an M5 grabs the pavement with forceful tenacity. For safety, on the other hand, the ceramic brakes might be worth their mammoth $9,250 price, simply because of their more consistent stopping performance. Swift halting, let’s remember, is more critical than rapid motoring.
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