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.
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.
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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.