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BMW M5 Competition F90 review – ​engine, gearbox and technical specs

4.4-litre twin-turbo engine has extraordinary punch, auto is slick and responsive and chassis is packed with tech

Evo rating
Price
from £111,425
  • Powertrain devastatingly effective; more dynamically capable than rivals and beautifully built
  • It’s big; steering lacks life; soundtrack is too augmented

Powering the M5 Competition is the familiar twin-turbocharged V8 that produces 616bhp (an increase of 24bhp over the previous ‘standard’ M5), while torque remains unchanged at a rippling 553lb ft. This drives through an eight-speed torque-converter auto, which is connected to BMW’s trick M xDrive four-wheel-drive transmission. This specific engine, gearbox and all-wheel-drive set-up appeared in the M5 first, but has now spread to the BMW M8 and X5M/X6M twins.

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Many of the Competition’s upgrades have been concentrated on the chassis, sitting 7mm lower than that of the standard M5, which in combination with the new 20-inch forged alloys gives the Competition a much more purposeful stance. Other suspension changes include the addition of ten per cent stiffer springs complete with recalibrated adaptive dampers, firmer anti-roll bar mounts front and rear, ball-joints for the rear toe links and more negative camber for the front wheels. Finally, the engine mounts have been changed for items that are 50 per cent stiffer.

Elsewhere the Competition is the same as the standard M5, which means you get the same M xDrive four-wheel-drive system. This allows you to run with all four wheels driven, or to disengage the front axle for some good old-fashioned M-car rear-driven fun – although you need to disengage the stability control to engage this function, so you’ll need to be on high alert behind the wheel. Happily, the transmission has rear-biased feel even in its standard mode, so you can have fun without fear of taking up the whole width of the road on the exit of a corner.

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