BMW M4 vs BMW M5 - evo Deadly Rivals

Two German giants battle it out to find the true 'thrill of driving'

BMW's M division has made some truly fantastic cars. The latest crop, the BMW M4 and M5, represent the absolute pinnacle of what can be done with a saloon car right now.

As part of a new series on road test editor Dan Prosser will be pitting the very best of performance cars up against each other. Called Deadly Rivals, the first sees BMW's M5 defend its crown against its little brother, the M4.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!



Engine2979cc, inline six, twin turbo
Power424 bhp
Torque406 lb ft
0-60mph4.3 sec
Top Speed155 mph
MPG34 mpg
Lap time1:04.39

BMW M5 - 30 Jahre Edition

Engine4395cc, V8, twin turbo
Power592 bhp
Torque516 lb ft
0-60mph3.9 sec
Top Speed155 mph
MPG28 mpg
Lap Time1:04.65

Test notes


Logic suggests that the M4 will destroy the M5 on circuit because it's so much lighter and so much more agile. That said, there are two really long straights at Bedford Autodrome south circuit and the M5 has more power.

Even so, the M4 is incredibly quick. If the M5 is going to keep up it's going to have to be mighty under braking.

One of the issues we have with the M4 is that it can lose some body control at times, but then at others it can be extremely balanced. At high speed cornering, the M4 excels. It settles and grips and is extremely stable.

Braking performance is also stellar. You can brake later than you think is possible and after the long home straight the M4 can really scrub speed off right at the last minute.

The gearbox in the M4 and M5 is the same DCT unit. It's superb on track shifting as quick as you could ever want it to and letting you focus on lines as much as need be.

BMW M5 - 30 Jahre Edition

The M5 is actually remarkably good on track given that it’s not just a track car in the slightest and with a full tank of fuel and road test editor Dan Prosser onboard it weighs 2 tons.

Down the straights it's lightning quick, with almost 200bhp more than the M4. That said, it also shows its weight and feels bigger and heavier. 3 laps were all it took to really start cooking the brakes.

All that speed means you have to over brake the car a lot more as you've just got more to take off after the long straights.

Turn in and the front end of the M4 is its real strong point. The M5 struggles here a lot more. It also can't hold a line in the same way that the M4 can, which means corner exit phase requires you to be a lot more patient before getting on the power.

Ultimately though, the power is what makes the M5 stay so close to the M4 in lap times. It loses out under braking and turn in speed but makes it all back on the straights. Despite the big weight increase, the M5's powertrain means it can deliver a lap time  incredibly close to what the M4 manages.


In the end, the M4's brilliant front end, ample power and excellent brakes and gearbox all mean it delivers an experience that just bests the M5.

What is worth mentioning however is just how suprised we were by the M5. It was much more exciting to drive on track than we expected and the powertrain continues to be one of the very best.


Porsche 911

Porsche 911 GT3 vs GT3 RS vs GT2 RS - track battle

15 Nov 2019

Most Popular

BMW 1 Series

BMW 128ti revealed as direct hot hatch rival to VW Golf GTI

BMW has revealed a simplified front-wheel drive hot 1-series called 128ti that will sit below the M135i performance flagship
16 Sep 2020
Nissan 370Z

Nissan Z Proto revealed – V6 twin-turbo, six-speed manual, and a catch

It’s the Nissan sports car we’ve been waiting 11 years for, but don’t hold your breath for it in the UK
16 Sep 2020

Used car deals of the week

We’ve perused the used car pages so you don’t have to. Here’s what caught evo’s fancy this week
16 Sep 2020
Audi S3

Audi S3 2020 review – the original posh hot hatch reformed

Probably the best S3 yet, but still not a class-leading entertainer
15 Sep 2020