Does The BMW M5 Touring Have What it Takes to Keep up With The New M440i?by Dim Angelov, on
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.