WE know, we know. 15 minutes with is meant to be with a person, but Parramatta BMW knocked on the door and gave us the chance to spend some time with the newly facelifted 2021 BMW M5 Competition.
So, in a round about way, we thought we’d interview the car, or rather our designated driver, Lionel Bustamante from the dealership’s special vehicles department. We dragged our friendly neighbourhood photographer, Joseph Hui, along for the ride.
For those who know the cool driving spots around Sydney, the ‘Old Road’ was our destination, kicking off at Berowra truck parking bay (with a few stops along the way). A brisk yet legal trip to Somersby later, and it was time for a chat.
Still high on our petrol fuelled stupor, we reflect back on the morning’s drive and quizzed Lionel about the car.
It goes without saying, a vehicle like this really needs no introduction, but enlighten us – what is this elegant beauty you have brought with you today?
Allow me to formally introduce you to this special machine – it’s none other than the F90 M5 Competition LCI in BMW’s Black Sapphire Metallic, with full black Merino leather trim.
What are your three favourite aspects about this Munich monster?
I’m really loving the new look headlights and taillights from the LCI update – it’s undeniably ‘M’, adds loads of (understated) character and the ‘Shadow Line’ dark finish is a classy touch.
Secondly, the road presence a vehicle such as this naturally commands. It certainly snaps necks, drops jaws and makes others ponder their position in life like no other.
Lastly, the unmistakably deep, bellowing and raucous exhaust note coming out of the tenacious 4.4-litre M TwinPower turbo S63M powerplant.
What are the M5’s main rivals in this elite, super-saloon space?
Two vehicles would immediately spring to mind, both of them German, in the form of the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ sedan and Audi RS 6 Avant.
We’re going to ask you to be as unbiased as possible with this next question. Why should the average punter buy this, over either the Mercedes-AMG E 63 or the RS 6 Avant?
You’re right, it’s definitely hard not to be biased. In fairness, all three cars are very impressive, both on paper and on the road. But the ‘M5’ badge carries a lot of history, a racing pedigree and more than thirty years of legacy.
Rich history aside, the M5 has always been regarded as a solid benchmark for super high-performance sedans. It has earned the respect of avid journalists and car enthusiasts the world over.
In terms of numbers, the RS 6 puts out a respectable 441kW, with 800Nm of torque, completing the 0-100km/h dash in 3.6 seconds. By comparison, the AMG E 63 S has an impressive 450kW, and a huge 850Nm of torque. That sprint is covered in 3.4 seconds.
The M5 Competition tops the chart at 460kW with 750Nm of torque, edging out its rivals to the 100km/h mark in 3.3 seconds (or 3.0 seconds flat in CS form).
On a different, albeit relevant note comes our final question. With more manufacturers steering their focus to electrification and hybrid technologies, is the fire-breathing, bi-turbo V8 M5 Competition still relevant?
Look, there are arguments for both sides here. One thing we can never put a stop to is progress. This is certainly evident even at the pinnacle of motorsport – Formula 1. With increases boost and hybrid technology has come efficiency, performance and speed.
Electrification is coming at us at the same pace as autonomy, and in fact, they’re already here. Just as we’ve seen progressive leaps over the decades with combustion, so we will see hybrid and electric technology get better and better with each iteration.
What I will say though is the emotional connection you get from hearing the music from that V8, feeling the rumble through your torso as you modulate the throttle underfoot, the crackle and pops as you blitz down the gears with the overrun, and even that faint smell of fumes and brake dust, knowing you’ve hit the sweet spot and the car is in its element – that, that is irreplaceable.
It’s as reassuring as hearing a pre-hybrid V8 F1 car, hammering it down Kemmel Straight at Spa. I think it’s going to take something pretty special to emulate that heightened emotional experience with an electric vehicle.
That said, I’m excited to see what’s ahead as the technology is in its infancy. But for now, these “fire-breathing, bi-turbo V8” monsters, and their friends, are very relevant! They represent the highpoint of what we’ve been able to achieve with combustion engines.
Whether or not they’re the last of their kind, they should be celebrated and revered.
The 2021 BMW M5 Competition (LCI) was provided, along with its driver, by Parramatta BMW. For more information, contact your nearest BMW dealer.