Under the bonnet lies a 4.4-litre, all-aluminium 90-degree V8 making 552bhp, 10 percent more power than the outgoing V10. And unlike the V10, which needed to be really wrung out to give its best, this motor makes a whopping 69.3kgm of torque from just 1500rpm, so performance is more real-world accessible.
Performance from the 552bhp direct-petrol-injection motor is just astonishing. Tap the throttle and the M5 vaults off the blocks; thrust is immediate and very strong. The power delivered is explosive, and even short bursts of acceleration are addictive. Configure the M-mode to disengage the DSC and set the gearbox, dampers and engine to ‘hair-raising’, and things get even more insane. Performance is now in proper supercar territory, and the car changes the way it responds to throttle inputs.
The seven-speed, twin-clutch gearbox is lightning-quick with its shifts and, as ever, you can use it in manual mode, gears shifting up only when you pull the right paddle. Flat-out performance is uncannily rapid, with 100kph taking 4.64 seconds, 150kph 8.73 seconds and 200kph just over 15 seconds! In-gear acceleration is very strong too, despite having tall gearing. This car won’t need a long stretch of road to hit its limited top speed of 250kph.
Tone it all down and the M5 is equally impressive. On the congested streets of Delhi it’s quickly apparent that, with the M5 in comfort setting, this car is as civilised as a regular 5-series. Downsides come in the form of the exhaust note, which is a bit too muted inside the cabin. Still, it sounds quite nice – it growls at idle, grunts like a gorilla at part-throttle and has a refined V8 howl as it closes in on the 7200rpm redline.