Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger | BMW M5 Competition Pack

BY Azfar Hashim

Yeap, it was already fast enough; and now it’s even faster. Oh, the monstrosity…

Photos: Azfar Hashim

I am very, very sure you already, by now, know just how potently potent BMW’s M5 is. Sure, sure… It is now force-fed, has lost some of its big-as-hooligan-engine character, bla… bla… bla. Thing is, like any other car, you either like or just passionately dislike them.

And when you’re in the league of the, ermm, older boys - men age like wine too, ya know - who wants their cars fast but also packaged with all day long versatility (you’ll be surprised as to how some deep-pocketed gentlemen just want that one everyday car while parking their exotics at home in hopes of appreciation over the years), but isn’t a pain-in-the-arse to maintain, well, that is where exactly the M5 comes in.

Honestly though, I only had a brief encounter with the standard M5. And I did not fancy it; there’s just something, which is missing in this car. In fact, it feels so incomplete I fell in love with the Jaguar XF-R instead. Now, that’s one understated cat; it isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed but it has that big-engined, gangsta’ in a suit vibe. And that cabin, my word, is so pleasant I am more than willing to move in there instead. Really.

BMW’s product planners are a smart bunch, I tell ya. Before the standard M5 reaches it’s use by date, they took out their magic wand and… tadaa… a faster M5. To make it more enticing, call it the BMW M5 sedan Competition Pack.

So what does the Competition Pack (CP) offers over the standard M5? Well first of all, a $20k premium. Next is a modified chassis; thicker bushings on every mounting point, thicker stabilizer bars and last but not least a suspension set up that is stiffer and lowered by 10 mm. Then there is the sport exhaust system. Let’s not forget an improved braking system too; but if you want something even better, allow me to recommend the carbon ceramic ones, which sets you back by a mere $10k. But only if you plan to hit the Pasir Gudang or Sepang tracks often. Or you’re anticipating the opening of Peter Lim’s upcoming new track in Iskandar. Otherwise, the factory-issued ones work brilliantly enough.

By the way, how do you differentiate the M5 CP from the ‘regular’ M5? Not much actually. The Competition Pack gets twin black chrome exhaust tips, and a set of newly designed 20-inch alloys (wrapped in 265/35 R-20 front and 295/30 R-20 Michelin Pilot Sport rubbers). Along with the 5 Series facelift earlier this year, the M5 CP now gets Adaptive LED headlights.

Interior wise, the marked differences remain within the cockpit. It gets a sportier steering wheel (taken off the M6) that doesn’t feel unnecessarily chunky and also features a pair of larger paddle-shifters, a new iDrive interface and a touchpad that has been integrated into the iDrive’s scroll. Sunroof comes standard, build quality remains impeccable and you can ferry three other hitchhikers with ease. Perfecto.

While the M5 CP gets a 15 bhp power hike, everything else remains similar to the standard M5; meaning the 4.4-litre twin turbo’d V8 paired to the 7-speed DCT ‘box sending 575 bhp (@ 7,000 rpm) and max 680 Nm (@ 5,750 rpm) of torque to the two rear wheels. It now takes 0.1 seconds faster to get from standstill to 100 km/h too; nothing significant, but considering the almost two-tonne kerb weight… I rest my case.

That said, it still whacks your gut when you give the accelerator pedal a full on mash. To be anal, there’s still that split second when you notice the turbo is spooling up; but once everything goes, you better say your prayers that no sneaky cop is within your vicinity.

What’s equally amazing though, is the M5 CP still has the capability to shave off speed at the shortest notice, before you throw it into that tight left-hander. The car feels complete for once, with body movements well controlled, everything working the way it is meant and to make it more dramatic, an exhaust system that screams. To be juvenile again, I loved pulling the engine in third and fourth gear up to 5,000 rpm and then release the right pedal; with both sunroof opened and windows down, you can clearly hear the pipe going ‘baaaaaarp!’. OMG. Oh, this was all driven in Sport mode (steering, suspension and throttle response) by the way.

Shifting to Sport Plus makes things a little intimidating, especially in the wet. Thing is, the car allows you to play puppy in this mode: Oversteer? In the wet? Here you go… And as you pray for forgiveness, the M5 CP starts to correct itself, traction control alert blinking like Christmas light, and miraculously it goes straight again.

In a nutshell, the M5 Competition Pack is one complete package (pun intended). With all the tweaks and slightly higher power output, it drives even more satisfyingly now. Ok, so I hate the all red interior. And wish the front and rear bumper gets more aggressive details, complete with flared arches on all four corners like an RS4. Really wishing there’s no turbo lag at all too.

But all that doesn’t matter once you get behind the wheel. Sorry XF-R, but this is my new favourite go-fast executive sedan… baaaaaarp!