Old Vs New: BMW M5 V-10 Touring Drag Races The BMW M440i - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Old Vs New: BMW M5 V-10 Touring Drag Races The BMW M440i

Does The BMW M5 Touring Have What it Takes to Keep up With The New M440i?

When a new model comes out, it’s always interesting to see how it fares against an older one. Whilst our friends from Carwow love walking us through the latest the automotive world has to offer, they’ve been kind enough to answer some questions that few remembered to ask. In this case, the question is, how will the new BMW M440i do against the BMW E61 M5 Touring, in a quarter-mile drag race? Let’s look at the cars.

Old Vs New: BMW M5 V-10 Touring Drag Races The BMW M440i
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The M440i dominates throughout the races

Starting with the BMW M440i, it has a 3.0-liter inline-six aided by a twin-scroll turbocharger. The result is 374 horsepower and 500 Nm (369 pound-feet). All that is sent to all four wheels through the ZF eight-speed automatic. The car is also lighter at 1,815 kg (4,001 pounds).

Old Vs New: BMW M5 V-10 Touring Drag Races The BMW M440i
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But the M5 manages to redeem itself. But at what cost?

The BMW E61 M5 Touring has one of the best-sounding engines BMW has ever made. When it works, it makes 507 horsepower and 520 Nm (383.5 pounds-feet). However, power is sent to the rear wheels only. Moreover, the E61 is equipped with one of BMW’s worst gearboxes – the SMG robotized manual, which, let’s just say, isn’t as good as the M440i’s ZF unit. The M5 Touring also weighs in at 1,880 kg (4,145 pounds).

The two cars line up for the first drag race and immediately after the start, the M440i’s all-wheel-drive rockets it ahead of the bigger and heavier M5 Touring. Once the newer car took the lead, it stayed there, as the older E61 struggled for traction. While watching the video, you can also notice how the M5 Touring jerks on every shift, while the ZF eight-speed in the M440i is much quicker and smoother.

Old Vs New: BMW M5 V-10 Touring Drag Races The BMW M440i
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It’s new versus old. Can the newcomer beat the veteran?

Can a head start make a difference? The second race gives us the answer. And the answer is no. The M440i quickly catches up to its older sibling and overtakes it, despite being down 131 horsepower. The end result is quite decisive, as the M440i reaches the quarter in 12.2 seconds, while the M5 Touring takes 12.6. However, if we factor in the head start, the M5’s real time is 13.6 seconds.

Can a 50 mph rolling start give the M5 Touring the edge it so desperately needs? No. You’d expect the normally-aspirated V-10 to have a better response and you’d be right if it wasn’t for the M5’s crappy SMG gearbox. So, it’s another win for the M440i. The same race is repeated in “Sport” mode with the two cars locked in third gear. This time, the M5 manages to stop the bleeding…for a while. Once again, the SMG gearbox hindered what could have been a winner.

Old Vs New: BMW M5 V-10 Touring Drag Races The BMW M440i
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M440i’s powerplant produces 374 horsepower and 369 pound-feet

The last and fifth race is basically the same, only this time the M5 starts from second rather than third gear. And it wins, thanks to its high-revving V-10, which once it gets up to speed, even the retarded SMG unit isn’t able to set back.

How about the 70 mph brake test? After the last drag race, the M5’s dashboard “lit up like a Christmas tree”. The test quickly resulted in a win for the lighter and newer M440i and an ABS fault for the M5 Touring, which the driver handled quite competently.

Old Vs New: BMW M5 V-10 Touring Drag Races The BMW M440i
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The test ends with a bit of drama, as one of the cars had a slight malfunction

There have been some “annihilations” in the past, but rarely something so decisive. It just goes to show how much cars have improved and how much the old M5 has held up (or hasn’t). Maybe in 15 or so years, the now blisteringly quick M440i will meet a similar fate. We’ll have to wait and see.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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