BMW DESCRIBES THE NEW 2016 M5 PURE AS "TRACK INSPIRED", BUT IT ISN’T A LIGHTWEIGHT, STRIPPED DOWN SPECIAL, IT JUST HAS A FEW LESS TOYS.
Will you miss them? Probably not - it’s still as luxurious as it needs to be, but comes with an impressive $44,900 discount compared to a regular M5.
And though it’s missing a few kilowatts, this is no less the muscle car. In fact, thanks to that lower entry price, it’s an even better buying option.
Vehicle Style: High performance large sedan
Price: $185,000 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 412kW/680Nm 4.4 8cyl turbo petrol | 7spd automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 9.9 l/100km | tested: 15.3 l/100km
While the M5 Pure goes without a few luxuries, the discounted price certainly makes it enticing. The price, while still no small lump of change, straddles the middle-point between the smaller M3 and regular M5, and puts it just a tiny bit above a 550i.
It also happens to be the best value Euro luxury super sedan you can buy.
Of course, you can still get an HSV GTS for less, but if its badge appeal you’re after, coupled with big-hitting engine outputs, the M5 pure is very persuasive.
And with BMW’s satin-finish 'Frozen' paint finishes as standard (normally, a $4300 option) the Pure looks the part, and gives away absolutely nothing to the full-cream M5.
- Standard equipment: Merino leather sports seats, power adjustable front seats, dual zone climate control, proximity key and push button start, cruise control with speed limiter, front and rear park sensors, 360 degree cameras, LED headlights with high beam assist, 20-inch alloy wheels.
- Infotainment: 10.2-inch colour screen, iDrive controller, satellite navigation, 20GB hard drive, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, DAB+ digital radio, 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio
- Cargo volume: 520 litres minimum
Despite making a production debut in 2010 (an eon ago in the first-moving world of interior design), the 5 Series’ interior isn’t showing too many crow's feet
Yes, most of the BMW range is now newer, but the well-judged ergonomics and quality build of this car has endured well.
There are some changes in the M5 Pure compared to its more expensive M5 twin – it’s missing multi-function M seats, leather dash and door trims, alcantara headlining, soft-close doors, TV tuner, and a sunroof (the test car was optioned with one).
But it hardly feels stripped-out.
It’s also roomy enough as family transport, with a large enough back seat to handle two in the rear comfortably for long trips.
The front seats are electrically adjustable (as is the steering column), and even given their sporty contouring, they’re broad enough to fit most frames comfortably.
There’s been a few advancements to iDrive since this generation debuted, but once you’re accustomed to it, it becomes easily navigable. The large 10.2-inch screen doesn’t ‘float’ as it does in some vehicles, but that has no bearing on its functionality.
BMW’s M steering wheel is always a treat too – thin spoked with a small hub, but with a chunky fine-grain leather rim that invites you to grab a hold.
Like other 5 Series sedans, the boot measures 520 litres, but fixed backrests mean you can't expand that capacity, except for a ski-port for loading longer items,
ON THE ROAD
- Engine: 412kW/680Nm 4.4 litre twin-turbo V8
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, rear wheel drive with Active M Differential
- Suspension: Double-wishbone front, multi-link independent rear with dynamic damper control
- Brakes: Four wheel cross drilled and vented disc brakes,
- Steering: M Servotronic electrically assisted power steering
BMW's Competition Package is standard on the regular M5, however the M5 Pure misses out - meaning a few crucial performance changes.
Power output from the twin turbo 4.4 litre V8 is capped at 412kW, compared to 423kW in the pricier twin-brother.
That difference shows against the stop-watch with the Pure taking 4.3 seconds from 0-100 km/h, against 4.2 for the Competition Package equipped version (that's one-tenth of one second).
By the seat of the pants you’d never notice, and on Australian roads the opportunity to release all 412 killer wasps is rare indeed.
There's a multi-mode drive selector that allows you to cycle through degrees of insanity, but dial in the more sedate ‘Comfort’ setting, and this is a brute you can take home to mum.
And how quickly its personality can change. Slam your foot to the floor and there's a shower of torque on offer - 680 Nm from 1500 to 5750rpm in fact.
But instead of releasing a rush of anger to the rear axle as you might find in the snorting Mercedes-AMG E 63, the M5 Pure is more forgiving - blindingly fast, but with less of the instant fury suddenly unloading to the road.
Once moving, the most aggressive shift mode for the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission dispatches brutally fast gear changes, and the Sport + engine map turns the M5 Pure into a spear.
There’s also a ‘fun switch’ (though BMW doesn’t call it that). The stability control has an M Dynamic Mode, designed to still keep things shiny side up, but allows greater slip from the rear end.
If anyone tells you monstrous smoky oversteer is uncultured, they’re damn right, but that won't make you feel any less of an ace drifter with M Dynamic Mode selected. And it is, of course, a setting best kept for the track.
Steering steps through three modes as well, and while it progressively firms up, the rack itself is quick enough to feel involving no matter where you position the dial.
Likewise, there’s a selectable three-step suspension set-up. Comfort is still tautly controlled and Sport best saved for when you’re having a poke at a favourite road. Sport + is getting to rock-hard and will show up every niggle in the road surface.
Once you find a combination you like, you can save it into one of the M shortcut buttons on the steering wheel – and you can save two settings, so you can have one for 'fast' and the other for 'furious' if you like.
ANCAP rating: 5-Stars - the 5 Series range scored 36.53 out of 37 possible points when tested in 2010
Safety features: Six airbags (dual front, dual front side, full-length curtain), active front head restraints, front seatbelt pretensioners and load limiters, electronic stability and traction control, Active Protection, which senses an accident and prepares the vehicle by pre-tightening seatbelts and closing windows.
RIVALS TO CONSIDER
The biggest, baddest sedan you’ll find is German in origin, and wears an AMG badge. but Audi’s RS offerings aren’t off the pace, but come as a liftback and a wagon instead.
Lexus has recently thrown its hat into the ring with the GS F although it’s a little off the pace, and Jaguar is yet to show what it can do with its new XF range
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
What BMW has done with the M5 Pure is a stroke of genius, it’s no stripped-out track-ready CSL, but by deleting some of the more superfluous features of the regular M5, the Pure carves out a niche of its own.
Power may be down slightly, but the detriment is so minor that you’ll never pick it against anything but a stopwatch.
And every other piece of driving technology is left intact making the M5 Pure as capable as the Competition Package equipped 'regular' M5.
And the $50,000 you saved by choosing the Pure buys a lot of track time and sticky tyres.
Perhaps you won't be interested in using your M5 that way, but you really should put this car on a track - sign up for a BMW Track Day - and explore its wonderful, spearing outer limits.
And that said, every other aspect of the car fits the family transport brief perfectly.
Interesting move BMW, nice one indeed.