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BMW M5 '30 Jahre' Review

By Scott Newman, 12 Dec 2014 Reviews

M5 turns 30, yet it’s customers that get the birthday present.

BMW M5 30 Jahre Review

Welcome to the BMW M5 ’30 Jahre’, German for ’30 years’.

It’s built to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the BMW M5, which first escaped M Division headquarters in E28 guise back in 1985. Just 300 will be built, and there’s currently just one left for sale in Australia, for which you’ll need $238,400, an $8000 premium over the standard car.

There’ll be no alcoholic drinks served at this party, but the M5 30 Jahre is equally intoxicating, thanks to the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 being wicked up to 441kW/700Nm. Claimed 0-100km/h in 3.9sec, but there’s a couple of reasons why that’s an irrelevant figure.

Firstly, with so much power, getting an M5 off the line cleanly is next to impossible, and secondly, at 100km/h it’s only really getting into its stride. From 100-200km/h, the M5 is without doubt one of the fastest cars in the world, capable of giving 911 Turbos a severe hurry-up. Top speed can be optionally lifted to 305km/h – without a limiter, 325km/h+ should be achievable.

The engine is a masterpiece, with superb throttle response (in Sport Plus at least), masses of torque, yet still a strong top-end, but it’s a shame the artificial engine noise makes it sound like it’s running on seven cylinders at a cruise; even at full noise there’s something odd about it.

At 4.9m long, 1.9m wide and 1870kg, the M5 is a very big car, and feels it. Combined with its eye-watering speed, this makes it a challenge on the public road. Communication isn’t exactly its strong point and when the grip does run out it does so suddenly.

If there are any M5 owners out there, though, I urge you to take your car to the racetrack. Not necessarily to thrash around doing hot laps – you’ll run out of tyres and brakes in short order if you do that – but with wide open spaces and no speed limits this super sedan makes a lot more sense.

The key is to be smooth. Smooth with the brakes to avoid overloading the front tyres, smooth with the steering to manage the weight and smooth with the throttle to avoid frying the rear rubber. Do that and the M5 is stunningly, dizzyingly fast and capable. Try and bully it around and it’s going to be an unhappy relationship.

Extend this approach back to the public road and the M5 begins to shows its strengths. Find your preferred combination of settings (for me it’s Sport throttle and steering, Comfort damping, ESC in ‘MDM’ mode, just in case), dial the commitment back to seven- or eight-tenths, and you’ll cross country in great comfort at incredible speed.

I’ve not always been the biggest fan of the new M5, but it’s combination of pace and space – not to mention the fact that it looks the absolute business in 30 Jahre spec – has won me over. Not having driven any of the others, I’m not in a position to comment where it ranks in the pantheon of M5 greats, but if you have, let us know in the comments below which one you’d take.

Engine: 4.4-litre V8, DOHC, 32v, twin-turbo
Power: 441kW @ 6000-7000rpm
Torque: 700Nm @ 1500-5750rpm
Weight: 1870kg
0-100km/h: 3.9sec (claimed)
Top speed: 305km/h (limited)
Price: $238,400