BMW M5 F10 review (2012-2016) - the ultimate super saloon - Ride and handling

Incredible performance matches ultimate luxury

Evo rating
from £73,985
  • Blend of performance, dynamics and everyday usability
  • Lacks the raw intensity of the previous V10 model

Ride and handling

The M5 is a high performance car, so it does ride with a degree of sharpness. In the Comfort damper mode, though, it’s far from being too stiff for daily use. In fact, it’s refined enough in normal use that the driver soon forgets just how much performance is on offer – the M5 has a rare duality that buyers will grow to love. 

It also leads the way for dynamic ability in its class. It has very good body control and flat-bodied response through a sequence of corners, so the driver really can hustle it along a road at speed. Grip levels are huge, with a degree of safety understeer built into the chassis to let the driver know when the car is nudging up against its limits. 

Subscribe to evo magazine

Subscribe today to our exclusive new offer and SAVE 39% on the shop price, get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £20!

The steering is impressively delicate, detailed and crisp for a car of this size, and the locking M differential does a good job of deploying the gargantuan power to the road surface. Naturally, the M5 is well-balanced and agile enough to pull off the most outrageous oversteer slides on the circuit.

That balance can also be enjoyed on the road without drawing too much unwanted attention because the stability control system has an intermediary M Dynamic Mode. It allows just a little more wheelspin and yaw to let the driver explore the car’s limits without throwing away the safety net altogether. 

Advertisement - Article continues below

The adaptive dampers can be turned up to Sport and Sport Plus to sharpen the car’s responses, although the stiffest setting is too much for road use in the UK.

The standard cast iron brakes are up to the job in fast road driving, but for any track activity the optional M carbon ceramic brakes are worth their £7395 asking price. They also offer the added benefit of improving ride quality slightly thanks to their reduced unsprung weight.

'[On the 30 Jahre M5 special edition:] There’s a real sense of focus about this M5. The 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 has enormous power, of course, but you need the drivetrain set to Sport+ to get the right throttle response, then flick the dampers to Sport (the final setting is too stiff for the road), the steering to Sport, and turn up the M DCT gearbox for maximum shift speed. It’s a really good ’box this: so much crisper than an auto and the short paddle action matches the machined thud of each upshift beautifully. The optional ceramic brakes feel sensational, while the steering response is quick but intuitive. All the ingredients start to come together very quickly. With confidence high you can start to use that front-end response, then load up the M differential on corner exit and punch in those delicious upshifts. 

Intensity. I think that’s the word that best describes the M5’s blend of fury, accuracy and balls-out excitement. It isn’t perfect – the engine does display a little turbo lag on corner exit, which can be frustrating, and as with the E63 the rear axle occasionally feels like it’s being tied in knots by the torque. But boy is it addictive. It feels big but nimble, scarily fast but in a life-affirming sort of way, and when all is said and done, it’ll get down and dirty like M5s always have. Maybe BMW knows how to celebrate a big birthday in style after all. Still invincible, still a step ahead of its rivals; the 30 Jahre M5 is the super-saloon of choice.' Jethro Bovingdon, contributing editor, evo 208.


Most Popular


BMW M5 F90 vs E28 M5, RS6, E500 and Lotus Carlton: supersaloons old vs new

From the first to the very latest, we take a dive into the history of the supersaloon with the 1985 BMW M5 E28 and other classics taking on today's mo…
4 Apr 2020
Honda NSX

Honda NSX review - enough to take on its European rivals?

Honda’s supercar is immensely capable and startlingly fast, but it’s easier to respect than it is to love
6 Apr 2020
Aston Martin DBS Superleggera

New Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante 2020 review

Losing the roof hasn’t compromised the DBS in the way it could have done. It’s a great mix of GT and supercar, with truly spectacular performance.
7 Apr 2020
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019