2018 BMW M5 F90 Long Term Review
My 2018 BMW M5 turns 21k miles and is ALMOST the perfect car.
Having lived with the pavement eating all-wheel drive F90 M5 for more than a year and 21,000 miles, I have to say it exceeds expectations in nearly every possibly category. Still solid as a vault, BMW’s M5 is a fire breathing cocoon of luxury designed to bring joy to its pilot.
The power still begs me to push hard when traffic allows, and it’s been the best daily driver ever. On the outside, it’s beautiful with a subtle hint of its underlying power. But it’s from the driver’s seat that I really appreciate the 2018 BMW M5.
Beauty and the Beast
This ultimate 5 Series is a powerful super sedan that has rewarded me at every turn, dip of the throttle, or mash of the brake pedal. It maintains its composure during all but the most idiotic maneuvers. With extreme levels of stability, power and precision, it never bites you unless you ask it to.
What a tremendously engineered work of art. I’ll be the first to admit I’m OCD picky, and I am impressed. The cabin is magnificent with attention to detail at every turn and a level of ergonomics second to none. The seats are sporty yet luxurious and provide a level of comfort, support and adjustability that I find a perfect. With what seems like an infinite level of adjustments including thigh extensions and side bolster, the seats can be set to hold you in place while your ripping around corners, or relax with the massaging heated and ventilated features.
BMW has combined speed, handling, luxury, utility, cutting edge electronics, and safety into one beautiful package. If you mixed a 911 Turbo with a Range Rover, the new F90 BMW M5 would be the offspring. Ridiculously powerful or relaxed, it’s a daily driver extreme. Close the dual mode exhaust, adjust the suspension to comfort mode, and never hint at the beast within. Or when the little voice in your head is ready for a shot of adrenaline, turn all the dials to max and kick the ass of nearly any car on the road.
I can’t say enough about the little red M1 and M2 buttons on the steering wheel. They’re brilliant and provide an extreme level of customization that allows you to immediately alter the M5 to match your mood of the moment.
Just a click of the magical M1 and M2 buttons adjusts throttle response, suspension stiffness, and transmission programming in an instant. Heading for a long sweeper where you want to keep the revs up and limit body roll, just a quick press of your customized M button does it in a flash. Exit the corner and just going to cruise for a bit then a press that same M button reverts back to default comfort mode.
There are really three setting you can access from the M1 and M2 buttons. M1 custom setting, M2 customized setting, and then the default comfort setting is accessed by pressing the activated button again. I never thought I would appreciate those shortcut buttons like I do, but they are so convenient and give you immediate access to the car’s multiple personalities.
SNAP, CRACKLE, AND POP
When your inner child engages sport plus and opens the exhaust valves, the cracks and pops that come from the pipes are sweet sweet music. Decelerating from high revs results in a wonderful detonation of unburned fuel that could easily be mistaken for gun fire and will scare the bejesus out of anyone standing within an earshot.
But that brings me to the Almost perfect car. When your pushing a BMW M5 you get a pleasing aggressive sound that I compare to a Star Wars Land Speeder. Not angry or screaming, but powerful and futuristic. It’s only the noise under acceleration that disappoints.
That’s it, just a missing engine and exhaust roar to match the fierce power that is being sent to all four claws. The thrust that launches you back in your seat makes up for much of the missing sound. But had BMW engineers been able to offer an optional acoustic beast mode when accelerating, they would have created perfection.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the noise cancelling sound deadened F90 cabin in comfort mode with the exhaust valves closed is a pleasing escape from the madness of the world around you. It’s an M5, I get it. But as the ultimate daily driver that’s truly two cars in one, you do at times want a calm, comfortable and quiet ride.
To create the near perfect dual use car, BMW dialed back the noise to the tamer side. It’s a compromise I can at times appreciate, but would prefer more bark when you’re on the gas.
Tire technology and new variable rubber compounds are making cars perform better without any other changes to a vehicle. The Michelin PS4S tires from the factory contain that special sauce and stick like glue while still being very comfortable. Combine that grip with the M5’s fantastic X-Drive all-wheel drive system, and rain or shine you’re connected to the road.
With what seems like almost unlimited traction, I expected this level of stick to come at the cost of a buttery soft tire that melted away at a pace that equaled my tire cooking driving style. I usually replace tires about every 4,000 miles due to my spirited driving habits, and I expected no less for the M5 as it’s always been the cost of my driving pleasure.
But I was amazed and still find it hard to believe my BMW M5 made it to 18K miles before I neared the wear bars or noticed a change in performance. The road noise increased ever so slightly about 15k miles but was not annoying at any time before their replacement. At 18,000, we were entering the rainy season and tires are no place to be cheap. Impressed is all I can say about the synergy of the X-drive and Pilot Sport 4S tires working together to get that much driving pleasure out of one set of tires.
It’s by no means a track car or a lightweight, but it has gobs of power, torque and four-wheel extreme grip to offset most of its heft. As a super saloon, there are no weaknesses. You never want for more power, and you always feel like your driving a special machine.
An M5 should do everything really well and the F90 doesn’t disappoint; Spa level of comfort, afterburner power, high tech nannies to keep you out of harm’s way, and braking to reign in the super car speeds. I have truly enjoyed the first year with the new 2018 M5.