2015 BMW M5

What's new for 2015? Keyless entry/ignition and satellite radio are standard on the 2015 BMW M5. Although Bluetooth audio connectivity remains standard this year, the integrated smartphone apps feature is now an extra-cost option. Last year's optional Lighting package content has been rolled into the Executive package. Also, since 2015 marks the M5's 30th anniversary, 30 individually numbered special-edition sedans will be offered to commemorate the milestone.

For buyers who desire serious performance, the 2015 BMW M5 is a resounding case of having your cake and eating it, too. The idea's not a new one, nor does it belong to BMW alone, but the satisfaction one derives from a performance-enhanced version of an otherwise stately sedan is positively alluring. The formula is a simple one: Start with a five-passenger luxury sedan, then add a high-output engine, sporty suspension, sticky tires and subtle styling elements and badges that only hint at the sleeper sedan's true capabilities. The 2015 BMW M5 has all that, and more.

Based on BMW's 5 Series luxury sedan, the M5 is a ludicrously fast and surprisingly agile sedan. The car's twin-turbocharged V8 engine produces 560 horsepower in standard tune, and the optional Competition package bumps that to 575 hp and buttons down the suspension even more. You have your choice of BMW's seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission (M-DCT) or, unusual for this class, a conventional six-speed manual gearbox. Either one will deliver you to 60 mph in the 4-second range and return about 20 mpg if you exercise some prudence. And thanks to the M5's standard torque-vectoring rear differential and driver-adjustable adaptive suspension, this big sedan is still very capable and enjoyable on twisty back roads, too. The 2015 BMW M5's blend of athleticism and refinement will undoubtedly strum the right chords for plenty of buyers seeking a high-performance sedan that doesn't skimp on luxury amenities.

Exterior Highlights
High-performance, four-door luxury sedan with seating for five

The 2015 BMW M5 is a high-performance, four-door luxury sedan with seating for five. Standard features include 19-inch alloy wheels, summer performance tires, a driver-adjustable adaptive suspension, adaptive xenon headlights, keyless ignition and entry, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, auto-dimming mirrors, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, leather upholstery, 16-way power sport front seats, heated front seats with memory settings, aluminum interior trim and split-folding rear seats. Standard electronics features include the iDrive electronics interface, a navigation system with traffic data and 3-D rendering, voice control, a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, BMW Assist telematics and a 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with a six-CD changer, HD radio, satellite radio, a USB input and 20GB storage for audio files.

The Competition package brings 15 extra horses via unique engine and exhaust tuning, along with black chrome tailpipes and special 20-inch wheels, a more aggressive state of tune for the steering, suspension, stability control system and rear electronically controlled, limited-slip M differential.

The optional Driver Assistance Plus package adds lane-departure and blind-spot warning systems, a forward collision mitigation system with pedestrian detection, speed-limit information and side- and top-view cameras. The Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection further adds an infrared camera that detects objects/pedestrians and sends images and warnings to the dashboard display screen. Expanded for 2015, the Executive package adds a power-operated trunk lid, soft-close doors, a heated steering wheel, ventilated and massaging functionality for the front seats, four-zone automatic climate control, heated rear seats, a power rear sunshade, manual rear side window shades, a head-up display, LED headlights with automatic high-beam control, cornering lights and three years of BMW Assist's concierge services.

Stand-alone options include interior and exterior trims/finishes, 20-inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brakes, a rear seat entertainment system, an upgraded 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen surround-sound system, a rear-seat entertainment system (with dual 9.2-inch screens) and smartphone app integration that includes LTE WiFi connectivity and various mobile-office functions.

Finally, a 30th Anniversary Edition M5 will be offered this year. Festooned with unique Frozen Dark Silver paint, a black simulated suede/leather interior (with a contrasting anthracite headliner) and commemorative wheels and badging, the "30 Jahre M5" (German for "30 years of the M5") is the most powerful production car BMW has ever offered. Starting with a Competition package-equipped M5, the BMW M division engineers increase the turbocharger's pressure and remap the engine control unit to squeeze in an additional 25 horses for a total of 600 hp. The electronic driving aids are suitably recalibrated to take full advantage of the greater engine output and a one-day M driving school is also included to recalibrate the potential owner. Of the worldwide allotment of 300 total, 30 of these special M5s are headed to the United States.

16-way adjustable seats with articulating headrests and backrests, iDrive system with very wide screen, touchpad entry, generous space in backseat

The M5's interior is trimmed in copious amounts of leather and aluminum. The driver and front passenger are spoiled with splendid, 16-way-adjustable seats with articulating headrests and backrests and adjustable side bolters, making it virtually impossible to be uncomfortable. Furthermore, they look as good as they feel. The steering wheel has a slightly retro look with its thin spokes, but a meaty, contoured rim makes it a joy to grip.

BMW's iDrive system continues to evolve, and works quite well in the M5. It features one of the widest screens in the automotive realm; its crisp, color graphics are state-of-the-art; and an elegant control knob in the center console governs most entertainment, climate-control and navigation functions, as well as various vehicle settings. Touchpad entry is an emerging tech feature, and BMW enables you to input navigation information by freehand tracing numbers and letters with a fingertip on top of the iDrive control knob. Although the iDrive interface is generally straightforward, the sheer number of menu paths necessitates taking some time to familiarize yourself after you buy the car. Fortunately, most of the adjustable drivetrain and dynamics features have their own buttons around the gearshift lever for quick access.

Rear-seat passengers fare quite well, just as they do in any other 5 Series as long as nobody needs a cupholder (the M5 has two up front and none in the backseat). The rear seatback also splits and folds, expanding the usability of the 14-cubic-foot trunk.

The 2015 BMW M5 comes standard with ventilated antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, cornering brake control, brake-fade compensation, automatic brake drying and hill-hold assist. It also comes with front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, knee protection, side curtain airbags, active front-seat head restraints, a rearview camera and a 10-year subscription to BMW Assist's emergency services. Also standard is an impact sensor that disconnects the battery from the alternator, fuel pump and starter and then turns on hazard lights and interior lights and unlocks all doors.

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