2018 BMW M5 Competition Review Track Day


BMW M5 Competition frontBMW M5 Competition Overview

BMW M5 Competition is basically a lounge room on wheels that will top out at 300kmh and rocket from 0-100kmh in 3.3 seconds.

For the most of us that really is all you need to read? However take the time to delve deeper and the M5 Competition makes interesting reading.

BMW has had a long and successful history with the ‘M’ versions of their vehicles. The ultimate extension is the M Competition models.

Launched last week, the M5 Competition adds a separate model (as does the M2 Competition) to the line-up of sports cars in the BMW range. I recently attended a track day with BMW at Eastern Creek Raceway to launch the M5 Competition.

BMW M5 Competition side 2

BMW M5 Competition Exterior

BMW M5 Competition is a beautiful looking sedan.

For me it is one of those cars that doesn’t have a bad angle. Other may disagree though. Long at just under 5m and with a long wheel base of 2982mm and a low 1459mm high, it looks long, low and sleek.

The bonnet has a long slow slope towards the front, culminating in the high gloss M specific kidney grill. The side profile is enhanced by the 20 inch alloy wheels, exterior mirror caps, as well as the signature M gills on the front flanks. In addition there is the BMW Individual high-gloss Shadow Line window surrounds and b-pillar trims.

From the front gills there is a defined waistline through to the rear that brings out the sleekness.

From the rear there is high gloss black on the rear bumper cover, a rear spoiler, and M5 boot lid logo, which features ‘Competition’ lettering for the first time. Black chrome exhaust outlets complete the exterior theme.

BMW M5 Competition brakes

Forged 20-inch wheels are fitted as standard to the BMW M5 Competition. With a bi-colour, Y-spoke design these strong, light forged alloys are exclusive to the model.  Tyres measure 275/35/R20 on

Specific exterior mirrors are in a ‘double arm’ design, which add a distinctive yet aerodynamically-functional trim highlight to the exterior, a BMW M hallmark.

The matt almost wrap style grey colours are awesome and really suit the design of the vehicle.

BMW M5 Competition interior

BMW M5 Competition Interior

My first impression was space. There just seemed to be a lot of room inside. However like the M2 Competition, I was pretty focused on the driving aspect, rather than what was inside.

However there were a few highlights such as the ability for a 190cm tall man that is larger than the average bear to sit in comfort, with a helmet on and have adequate room.

I also sat in the back seat on a trip around the track and was comfortable as well. A reasonable amount of room all around for head, shoulder and knee.

The seats, especially the drivers, were excellent, as you would expect. M Multifunction seats are electrically adjustable and offer illuminated M5 badging, while the specific M multifunctional instrument display with ‘M5 Competition’ graphics provides an impressive array of driver-centric information.

As with the M2, there are M5 highlights everywhere including, the black seat belts with striped BMW M GmbH stitching and piped floor mats with M5 logo.

BMW M5 Competition dash

Of course, a wide range of technologies seen in the luxurious 5 Series range are also present in the M5 Competition, including 10.25-inch Touch Control Display, a colour M Head-Up Display and semi-autonomous capability.

In front of the driver sits a typical BMW configuration, which means clean, functional and with excellent user interface. White on black instruments are present. A special touch is the ‘M Competition’ graphic that greets the driver when the start button is depressed.

The thick steering wheel feels perfect in the hands and the pedals fall to effect with ease.

To be honest any more on the interior will have to wait until I have the opportunity to drive the vehicle for a week early in 2019.

BMW M5 Competition Features

Reflecting the uplift in performance, the BMW M5 Competition also features improved standard specification over the already-impressive M5 Launch Edition.

In addition to the upgraded engine, drivetrain, suspension and electronic control components standard equipment now includes:

16-speaker Bowers and Wilkins Diamond surround sound system with 1400W output – M Carbon Engine Cover – Soft Close door function, front and rear – Electrically-controlled rear roller sunblind – Roller sunblinds for rear side windows – Automatic Air Conditioning with 4-Zone Control – Ambient Air Package – BMW Gesture Control – Specific 20-inch BMW M Y-spoke light alloy wheels, style 789 M with Bicolour finish

One feature that I’m sure many prospective buyers will take advantage of is the opportunity to individualise their purchase with M5 specific options. These are worthwhile spending a little time on as they are many, surprisingly reasonably priced, and allow buyers to reflect themselves more adequately.

Rather than try to explain them, I will lift the exact copy from the BMW marketing blurb. They can make it sound better as well.

In addition to the standard light alloy wheels, there are two additional 20-inch wheel options available for no charge – style 706 M in bicolour finish that is familiar from the M5 Launch Edition, and a Jet Black finish to the same wheel.

BMW M5 Competition driving 2

Non-metallic Alpine White, as well as six metallic paint options, can be selected at no charge.

BMW Individual Paintworks are also available over three tiers. This includes five ‘Frozen’ finishes and the attention-grabbing Pure Metal Silver. Please refer to the specification guide for full details.

Full Leather ‘Merino’ upholstery is standard and available in Silverstone, Aragon Brown or Black colours.

BMW Individual Full Leather ‘Merino’ is also available for no additional cost, with finishes in Caramel, Smoke White and Tartufo, all with contrast stitching.

Finishing the interior off is a range of high-level interior trims, with Aluminium Carbon Structure fitted as standard. Two no-cost options – Fine-wood trim ‘Fineline’ Ridge and a dark Aluminium Carbon Structure – are available.

Also offered at no cost is a range of BMW Individual interior trims, including Piano Black, Fine-wood trim with Plum Brown High-Gloss and fine-wood Sen Light Brown.

Specific options include the following:

Steering wheel heating – M Carbon Ceramic Brakes – Electric glass sunroof (note: removes carbon fibre roof) – Sun protection glazing – Active front seat ventilation – Seat heating, front and rear – Front massage function – Galvanic embellishers for controls – Ceramic control surrounds – Ski and snowboard bag – Apple CarPlay – Wireless Charging – Rear-seat Entertainment Professional – BMW Night Vision with Pedestrian Recognition – Simplified Chinese Language for iDrive interface (NCO)

The BMW M Driver’s Package is also available. This increases top speed from 250km/h to 305km/h and provides the owner with a BMW Driving Experience Advance 2 Course that is redeemable in Australia, Germany and the United States of America, South Africa or Sweden.

An Indulgence Package is also available, combining Massage function, TV function and Rear Seat Entertainment Professional (with two tiltable independent 10-inch high-res screens and blue-ray drive) into one $6,700* (including GST and LCT) bundle.

BMW M5 Competition engine

BMW M5 Competition Engine and Drivetrain

BMW M5 Competition performance is simply outstanding!

Bear with me in this section as it can become detailed and long, but definitely worth the read as it explains just why the M5 Competition is such an awesome beast.

Powered by the existing 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 from the M5, BMW M engineers have focused improvements with an emphasis on racetrack-ready performance.

This means that the M5 will produce power 460kW @ 6,000rpm and a stunning torque output of 750Nm @ 1,800 to 5,860rpm. What this does to not only race track driving but everyday driving is amazing.

BMW M5 Competition transmission

Performance figures are in the super sports car class.  The M5 will rocket from 0-100kmh in just 3.3 seconds, 200kmh in 10.8 seconds and top out at 305kmh with the optional M Drivers pack. This drives the M xDrive four wheel drive system through the M Steptronic eight-speed automatic transmission.

Three different transmission modes are enabled, with efficient, sporty or highly dynamic shift speeds and feel. Like the M5, the M5 Competition can be shifted manually via tactile, lightweight gearshift paddles located behind the steering wheel.

BMW M5 Competition transmission 2

A specifically-designed transmission oil cooler ensures correct operating temperature, even under extreme racetrack use.

The combination of rear-biased, adjustable M xDrive and the rear Active M Differential ensures the BMW M5 Competition delivers the perfect blend of traction and engagement. Once more, the keen driver has the ability to switch the M5 to ‘2WD’ mode via the car’s iDrive system.

Australian fuel consumption is listed at 10.6L/100km, with CO2 at 242g/km.  Oh and it will tow 2000kg as well, although why the hell anyone would is beyond me.

BMW M5 Competition drive selection

A model-specific M Sport exhaust system is fitted as standard, and flows out of a cross-bank exhaust manifold which enables exceptional turbocharger response to throttle inputs.

This system is flap controlled, with the acoustic profile changing depending on whether Comfort, Sport or Sport Plus programmes are selected by the driver. As in the regular M5, a specific exhaust button is mounted on the centre console to enable reduced noise where required.

Further enhancing the track credentials is the competition specific chassis tuning.

For example, new engine mounts are employed and offer 900N/mm of spring rate, as opposed to the standard M5’s 580N/mm. To most of us this means little, but to the BMW M engineers it is difference that enables greater response to driver inputs and less slack in power and handling delivery.

BMW M5 Competition side

The M5 Competition sits 7mm lower than the M5, while specific spring and damper tuning has been undertaken. The suspension design has allowed for increased negative camber on the front axle, while the rear suspension toe links are now attached via racing-style ball joints rather than rubber mounts.

Suspension spring rates have increased ten per cent for the front and rear axles, while shorter auxiliary springs provide superior wheel control. A new mounting design for the front anti-roll bar delivers improved response, while the rear antiroll bar’s spring rate has been lifted to reduce the onset of understeer.

Ball joints replace rubber mountings for the suspensions toe links for an even stiffer suspension and the damper hydraulics are recalibrated to suit. As before, three levels of damping force are selectable at the touch of a button: Comfort, Sport (tuned at the Nurburgring Nordschleife) and Sport Plus, ideal for modern, smooth race circuits.

Going fast is one thing, but stopping or slowing is often of more importance. To this end M5 Competition employs low-weight M compound brakes as standard.  Up front, fixed six-piston callipers clamp inner-vented discs, while at the rear a lightweight, floating single-piston calliper is deployed.

M Carbon Ceramic discs are also available as an option, for the ultimate braking system. This system offers the carbon ceramic discs on the front and rear axles.

BMW M5 Competition Driving Experience

Well, what can I say? It changes the minds perception of sports cars, when you can go that fast and feel like you are cruising up the freeway in a normal BMW 5 series.

Unlike the M2 Competition, I had the opportunity to blast away myself around Eastern Creek as well and a leisurely cruise around and even a few hot laps with Steve Richards as the driver.

The M5 Competition performed effortlessly at all times. It’s easy to say that power delivery was instantaneous and linear, but it was. It’s also easy to say that response to steering and driver inputs were delivered without fuss, but they were.

As many of you know, my forte is more behind the wheel of a 4WD driving up a 45 degree slope on the way to a great camping spot. That doesn’t mean that I can’t and haven’t had my share of track days and driven fast.

BMW M5 Competition skid pan

The critical issue for me is that the M5 Competition will allow a relative novice like me to feel like a race driver. The vehicles abilities far exceeded my humble skills. However the cars flexibility will allow the driver to develop with the car and go from novice to race driver as skills develop. Around the skid pan it was hard to actually get it out of shape, but awesome fun.

The test for me was when I had the opportunity to do a few laps with Steve Richards, fresh from winning Bathurst, in the M5 Competition. More on that experience in a later article, but we spent some time while driving around discussing the philosophy of the track and positioning and the vehicles ability. Then we had a few hot laps and a few cool down laps.

He actually looked like he was having fun and the BMW simply performed everything he asked of it as if it was a Sunday afternoon drive.

BMW M5 Competition drift

BMW M5 Competition Safety

Obviously the BMW M5 Competition comes with all the usual standard safety features of the M5

Driving stability systems as standard:

  • DSC incl. ABS, ASC and M Dynamic Mode (MDM), can be switched off;
  • CBC (Cornering Brake Control),
  • DBC (Dynamic Brake Control),
  • Dry Braking function,
  • Start-Off Assistant,
  • Active M Differential,
  • DSC linked with M xDrive all-wheel drive

Safety equipment as standard:

  • airbags for driver and front passenger,
  • side airbags for driver and front passenger,
  • head airbags for front and rear seats,
  • three-point inertia-reel seatbelts on all seats with belt stopper,
  • belt latch tensioner and belt force limiter in the front,
  • crash-active front head restraints,
  • crash sensors, tyre pressure indicator

All maintenance requirements for the BMW M5 Competition is controlled by the Condition Based Servicing (CBS) system. With CBS, sensors and advanced algorithms monitor and calculate the conditions in which a vehicle is used, including mileage, time elapsed since its last service, fuel consumption and how a vehicle is driven. Based on the information captured, maintenance requirements are determined, identifying whether an annual vehicle inspection or oil service is due.

BMW M5 Competition driving 1

BMW M5 Competition Summary

As a writer I am supposed to come up with a clever summary, full of highly emotive words that portray the essence of the vehicle.

Well it’s hard with the M5 Competition. Hard to adequately portray just how ridiculously easy it does everything asked of it. How it alters the mind of how you conceptualise a sports sedan.

Almost impossible to convey the feeling of doing 200kmh plus yet feel like you are sitting in your lounge chair watching Netflix.

Hard to describe the itch that starts to wear away at logic when you sit and try to work out how you can scrape together the asking price, knowing that it is available to a fortunate few only.

Yet I am compelled to try so here goes!

BMW M5 Competition is simply stunning in everything it does.

BMW M5 Competition rear

Also Look At:-

  • Porsche Panamera Turbo
  • Lexus GSF
  • Audi R5 7 Sportback
  • Jaguar XJR575

The Good:

  • Style and design
  • Performance
  • Pricing

The Not so Good

  • Not owning one
  • Drive modes can take little getting used to
  • M2 Competition is better suited for track days

BMW M5 Competition Details

  • Model Price from $229,900 RRP*
  • Engine 4.4L V8 Twin Turbo Petrol
  • Drivetrain M Steptronic eight-speed automatic with xDrive
  • Power 460kW @ 6,000rpm
  • Torque 750Nm @ 1,800 to 5,860rpm
  • Safety TBA
  • CO2 242g/km
  • Economy ADR 10.6L/100K
  • Servicing BMW Condition Based Servicing (CBS) and cost packages
  • 0-100KMH 3.3 Seconds
  • Top Speed 305kmh (M Drivers pack)
  • Warranty 3 Yrs. / Unlimited km Roadside Assist

*Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP.

About Rob Fraser 1979 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.