IT’S been a huge couple of days for German car maker BMW, with the launch of the magnificent new M5 luxury performance sedan, and the unveiling of the most potent M3 ever to grace our shores.
Let’s start with the M5. The incredible sixth generation version is powered by an updated 441kW twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8, generating a whopping 750Nm of torque, that can run its way to 100km/h in just 3.4 seconds.
It is the first BMW passenger vehicle to utilise the switchable all-wheel-drive system known as M xDrive, and is bundled with a custom M5-specific 8-speed sports automatic gearbox with paddle shifters.
Thanks to the extensive use of carbon fibre (CFRP), including the roof, the new M5 is lighter than its predecessor, even with the AWD system and additional safety technologies.
These include active cruise control with stop/go functionality, steering and lane control assist, lane keep assist with side collision protection, front and rear traffic warning, crossroads warning, and an evasion aid.
They’re all part of Driver Assistance Plus, which is standard, as is the latest iDrive6 infotainment system with a 10.25-inch colour touchscreen, an M Sport exhaust system, and full leather ‘Merino’ upholstery.
Available now, it hits the road at $199,500 (plus on-roads). An optional Indulgence Package ($8,000) and Comfort Package ($3,650) are also available, adding things like massage, TV, and rear seat entertainment.
A special first edition variant will be available in Frozen Dark Red, with a host of special add-ons, for $229,000, while the standard M5 will be available in a raft of colours including Frozen Brilliant White, Brilliant White and Rhodonite Silver.
It will also come in Pure Metal Silver, Frozen Cashmere Silver, Frozen Dark Silver, Champagne Quartz, Frozen Marina Bay Blue, Frozen Arctic Grey, Frozen Dark Brown, Almandine Brown and Azurite Black.
As for its new performance baby brother or sister, whichever you prefer, the new M3 CS will land in Australia in June as the most powerful M3 ever, thanks to an upgraded twin-turbo 3.0-litre straight six engine.
The improved power unit generates 338kW and 600Nm torque, taken to the rear axle via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. It also gains more focused spring and damper settings over the M3 Competition.
Set to be priced at $179,900 plus on-roads, the M3 CS has been inspired by the success of the BMW M4 GTS, and builds on that heritage to take the M3 model to the next level, particularly in terms of race track performance.
BMW has drawn inspiration from everywhere, and the potent new M3 runs on forged 10-spoke light-alloy wheels in Orbit Grey, inspired by the 2016 DTM championship-winning BMW M4 DTM racer of Marco Wittmann.
The 19-inch front and 20-inch rears are shod with Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tyres, while braking is provided via the M3 Competition’s M Compound Brake setup. Four-piston front brake callipers are backed up by two-piston rears.
Extensive use of carbon fibre and CFRP is evident throughout, including an exposed carbon fibre diffuser at the front, the bonnet and its distinctive power dome, the roof, the rear diffuser, and an exposed carbon ‘Gurney’ boot-lip.
Five exterior paint finishes will be offered, including San Marino Blue, Black Sapphire, Alpine White, Lime Rock Grey and Frozen Dark Blue II.