Michael SimariCar and Driver
Despite the latest, 617-hp BMW M5 Competition’s ability to rip to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and orbit the skidpad with 1.00 g of grip, it remains true to the M5’s legacy as an impressively accommodating luxury sports sedan.
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BMW’s M5 lineup receives a modest update for the 2021 model year, including subtly massaged front and rear bumpers plus new grilles and LED headlights. Competition models also gain revised adaptive dampers.
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Pricing for the 2021 M5 starts at $105,495. The Competition model adds $7600 to that figure and brings darkened exterior trim, an active M Sport exhaust, and stiffer springs and suspension components.
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The M5 Competition also ups the standard M5’s 600-hp twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 to 617 ponies. Power continues to flow through an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission and a variable all-wheel-drive system with a selectable rear-drive mode.
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Also new for the 2021 Competition model: A Track driving mode that disables all the car’s electronic driver aids and shuts down the center infotainment display.
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With its launch control enabled, our 2021 Competition test car shot to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in a supercar-challenging 10.9 seconds at 128 mph.
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Aided by 20-inch Pirelli P Zero PZ4 summer tires and optional carbon-ceramic brakes, our example also circled the skidpad at 1.00 g and stopped from 70 mph in a mere 139 feet.
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Two configurable M drive-mode presets, activated by prominent red buttons on the M5’s chunky steering wheel, help (somewhat) with making sense of the huge array of engine, drivetrain, and chassis settings.
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Despite the M5 Competition’s awesome performance, its many settings provide it with enough flexibility to serve as a convincing luxury sedan. Its more traditional two-box sedan shape also draws minimal attention when slicing through traffic.
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We often don’t care for fancy seatbelts, but the Competition model’s striped belts are a nice touch.
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A 12.3-inch center touchscreen, up from 10.3 inches, is new for all 2021 M5s, although it’s positioned too far away from the driver to be easily reached. Also new is an updated cloud-based navigation system and Android Auto connectivity.
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