BMW has already sold more of its new M5 on order before its arrival in Ireland on March 31st than it sold of the outgoing model over the last eight years.
The new M5 will arrive priced at €163,800, offering supercar performance, a whopping 600bhp and a 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds. With 10 orders already booked in, early buyers also benefit from the firm’s 9 per cent Sterling Value promotion, bringing the M5 in at €149,058.
The discount brings it into line with the arch-rival Mercedes-Benz E63S AMG, priced at €143,995, which itself incorporates Mercedes’ current discount scheme.
Both premium car firms are pushing the saloon power rush to new extremes, breaking the 600bhp barrier, phenomenal for what is effectively a revamped family saloon. The M5, now powered with a revised version of the same 4.4-litre V8 twin-turbo in the outgoing model, only this time featuring all-wheel drive.
It manages a 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds. That puts it into the category of supercars. That’s keeping pace with its E63S AMG rival, which matches it for 0-100km/h time while delivering slightly more power at 612bhp.
Also available to buyers of the new M5 will be the chance to take part in an M Driver Training Course in Germany. The course gives drivers the ability to develop their reflexes and skills and learn how to control challenging driving manoeuvres.
The take-up for the car by Irish buyers suggests Irish motorists are getting back their taste for power. The 10 sold already before the car arrives in Ireland compares to 22 M5s sold back in the heady days of 2005.
The new M5 puts out 750Nm of torque, 10Nm more than before, along with the extra 48bhp taking it to 600bhp. Meanwhile, the weight has dropped 25kgs to 1,855kgs, despite the addition of the four-wheel drive system. Emissions come in at 241g/km, which pushes the car into the top tax bracket, with annual motor tax of €2,350. Its Merc rival manages a lower emissions so falls into the lower tax band.
The move to all-wheel drive is arguably the biggest talking point of the new car, driven by the need to transfer all that 600bhp power to the tarmac. However, M Division engineers assure us that the car still retains rear-wheel drive DNA. Thanks to sophisticated software system, in most instances the rear wheel drives are the predominant driving wheels, and drive is sent to the front wheels only when the rear wheels are struggling. It’s also possible to isolate the system to rear-wheel drive only.
The early success of the new M5 comes against a backdrop of strategic investment at the brand.
On Friday the firm broek ground on a €200 million battery-cell centre of competence in its home city of Munich.
The company has confirmed it plans to sell 12 full electric cars by 2025, with another 13 electrified plug-in hybrids, and began work on the new facility to reduce its reliance on battery suppliers for deliver technical advancements.
"By producing battery-cell prototypes, we can analyze and fully understand the cell's value-creation processes," BMW board member Oliver Zipse said today.
“With this build-to-print expertise, we can enable potential suppliers to produce cells to our specifications.
“The knowledge we gain is very important to us, regardless of whether we produce the battery cells ourselves, or not,” he said.
Carbon fibre moves
In a shakeup of the core of its i brand, BMW has also sold its minority, 49-percent stake in SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers in Germany and SGL Automotive Carbon Fibres in the United States.
Carbon fibre from the two joint ventures was at the core of the only two i models BMW has ever built, the i3 and the i8, but it seems BMW’s future i plans will be less glued to the lightweight, but expensive, material.
It sold its share to the SGL Carbon’s majority stakeholder, SGL Carbon SE, in a deal signed off today.
"BMW Group will continue to rely on lightweight construction and an intelligent mix of materials, with carbon remaining a significant component," BMW Board member for purchasing and suppliers, Markus Duesmann, insisted.
“Carbon will also play an important role in the BMW iNEXT, which will set the benchmark for electric vehicles, autonomous driving, connectivity, and lightweight construction from 2021.
“SGL Group is and will remain a major supplier and strategic partner in this regard,” adds Duesmann.
The joint-venture, founded in 2009, has carbon-fibre manufacturing facilities in Moses Lake, in Washington state, and Wackersdorf in Bavaria and had revenues of €90 million last year.