The 2021 BMW M5 debuts with new looks and tech to go with the same V-8 engine

Back in May 2020, BMW unveiled the mid-cycle facelift for its midsize sedan, the 5 Series. Just one month later, the German firm introduced the same update for the high-performance M5 model. The facelift adds a revised exterior, some new tech, and upholstery choices inside the cabin, but the drivetrain remains unchanged. Let’s find out more about it below.

The 2021 BMW M5 looks a bit different

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Mid-cycle facelifts rarely bring notable changes to design, but this is a fortunate exception.

Of course, the M5 is based on the 5 Series, and we’ve already seen the updated sedan back in May 2020, but it’s good to see the same touches on the performance model. The front fascia was heavily revised above the bumper. The headlamps are a bit smaller and almost rectangular, a big departure from the more organic shape of the pre-facelift model. They also feature new LED patterns with L-shaped bars in each cluster. BMW offers laser technology with Dynamic Laser Matrix Beam. The grille is also new, now a bit taller and wider. It’s good to see that BMW didn’t go with a massive grille as it did with the latest 4 Series.

The front bumper boasts minor revisions as well, and surprisingly enough, the air intakes aren’t as large and aggressive. The M5 just became a sleeper. Around back, the M5 sports the 3D design taillights seen on the regular 5 Series, now with black surrounds for an M-specific look. There’s also a Gurney-type spoiler on the deck lid and a black insert above the diffuser. Everything else is largely the same, and features vary depending on whether you go with the M5 or M5 Competition model.

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BMW now offers two new exterior colors: Brands Hatch Grey and Motegi Red Metallic.

You can also order BMW Individual finishes like Tanzanite Blue II Metallic, Aventurine Red II Metallic, and Frozen Bluestone Metallic.

The 2021 BMW M5 is a bit fancier on the inside

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As seen in the regular 5 Series, the layout remains unchanged with the facelift, but there are a few notable upgrades to talk about, especially in the tech department.

For starters, the infotainment display is now larger at 12.3 inches, an upgrade from the old 10.25-inch unit.

It also includes an extension that you can operate in Sport and Track modes. The center console now features a new operating concept for the Setup and M Mode buttons, which should mean it’s easier to navigate through the options. BMW also added a new full Merino leather upholstery in Midrand Beige and black, a nice break from the usual all-black layout. However, this upholstery is exclusive to the Competition model only.

Is the 2021 BMW M5 more powerful than the outgoing model?

The 2021 BMW M5 Looks Like a Sleeper And Packs a Solid Punch Drivetrain
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The M5 carries over with the previous twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 engine, and ratings have improved just a bit, not that it was needed as the M5 is plenty powerful as it is.

The standard M5 comes with 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Opt for the Competition model and power jumps to 625 horses, while torque remains the same.

This means that the sprint to 62 mph also remains unchanged. The M5 hits the benchmark in 3.4 seconds, while the Competition model reaches it a bit soon, in 3.3 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph, but it goes up to 190 mph with the optional M Driver’s Package.

But BMW made a couple of important upgrades. The M5 now rides on a retuned chassis that’s supposed to return better handling at high speeds and improve comfort. The sedan also features new shock absorbers borrowed from the BMW M8 Gran Coupe.

The 2021 BMW M5 Looks Like a Sleeper And Packs a Solid Punch Exterior
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2021 BMW M5 specifications
2021 BMW M5 2021 BMW M5 Competition
Engine 4.4-liter V-8 4.4-liter V-8
Horsepower 600 HP @ 6,000 RPM 625 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 – 5,600 RPM 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 – 5,600 RPM
Transmission Eight-speed M Steptronic Eight-speed M Steptronic
0 to 60 mph 3.4 seconds 3.3 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph 155 mph
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
About the author

With their stylistic fine-tuning, expertly honed operating concept and central
display enlarged to 12.3 inches, the new BMW M5 (fuel consumption
combined: 10.6 – 10.5 l/100 km [26.6 – 26.9 mpg imp); CO2 emissions
combined: 242 – 239 g/km*) and BMW M5 Competition (fuel consumption
combined: 10.6 – 10.5 l/100 km [26.6 – 26.9 mpg imp); CO2 emissions
combined: 242 – 239 g/km*) blend a business sedan’s unruffled everyday
usability with unbeatable high-performance sports car dynamics more
effectively than ever. Featuring new shock absorbers from the
BMW M8 Gran Coupé and a retuned chassis, the BMW M5 Competition
offers even better driveability and handling at the limit, combined with superior
comfort levels. The 4.4-litre V8 engine with BMW M TwinPower Turbo
technology generates 441 kW/600 hp in the BMW M5, while in the
BMW M5 Competition the high-revving unit produces 460 kW/625 hp.
Stylistic fine-tuning for sharper looks.
As on the BMW 5 Series range, the updated BMW kidney grille drops down
further into the front apron and its chrome surround has a one-piece design
framing both elements of the grille. M-specific double bars and an M badge
are present and correct. The front apron has bolder contouring and larger
air intakes at the sides, while the expansive central air intake is hexagonal
in shape and incorporates the oil cooler and the radar sensor for the Active
Cruise Control (ACC) system. The new L-shaped light tubes searing in narrow
streaks towards the kidney grille add a dynamic flourish to the newly designed
LED headlights. The new option of BMW Individual lights Shadowline adds
a dark-tinted accent to the Adaptive LED Headlights and BMW Laserlight.
The aluminium bonnet, the front side panels with the signature M gills, the
streamlined M exterior mirrors and the roof made from carbon fibre-reinforced
plastic (CFRP) join the BMW kidney grille’s double bars as hallmark design
features of the performance models in the BMW 5 Series range. The thinner
walls of the M-specific twin tailpipes create a greater sense of high-tech
precision. The muscular rear apron with large diffuser has also been restyled,
as have the three-dimensional LED rear lights, whose precise light graphic
provides a fresh take on the familiar BMW L shape.
The new BMW M5 and
BMW M5 Competition.
Short version.

* The fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, electric power consumption and operating range figures were determined according to the new WLTP
test cycle and have been translated back into NEDC-equivalent values in order to ensure comparability between the vehicles. With respect to these
vehicles, for vehicle-related taxes or other data based (at least inter alia) on CO2 emissions, the CO2 values may differ from the values stated here
(depending on national legislation).

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Black details for the BMW M5 Competition and new colours.
The BMW M5 Competition also comes with black styling details that
underline its elite status. The BMW kidney grille surround, the mesh on the
M gills, the exterior mirror caps and the additional rear spoiler on the boot lid
all have a High-gloss Black finish, and the rear apron includes Black inserts.
Black M5 Competition badges adorn the kidney grille, the gills and the boot
lid, while the door sill plates have an illuminated version. The tailpipes of the
standard M Sport exhaust system are finished in Black Chrome. BMW M5
and BMW M5 Competition customers can choose from five new paint
finishes: Brands Hatch Grey and Motegi Red metallic, as well as the Tanzanite
Blue II metallic, Aventurine Red II metallic and matt Frozen Bluestone metallic
finishes from BMW Individual. The Champagne Quartz metallic shade offered
previously has been renamed Alvit Grey metallic. Light-alloy wheel options
now also include the 20-inch M double-spoke items in polished Orbit Grey
familiar from the BMW M8.
Larger display and new operating concept with M modes.
The introduction of a new operating concept and a larger central display with
a diagonal of 12.3 inches mean the cabin of the new BMW M5 and BMW M5
Competition is more driver-centric than ever. This makes it even easier to
keep a clear eye on the myriad functions associated with the driving dynamics
systems and BMW M xDrive all-wheel drive. Two new buttons on the centre
console – like those found in the BMW M8 – provide more direct access
to system settings and the various readouts in the instrument cluster and
Head-Up Display. At the press of the M Mode button, the driver can toggle
swiftly between the ROAD and SPORT settings. In the default ROAD setting,
all the standard and optional driver assistance systems are fully activated.
With the SPORT setting engaged, the active driver assistance systems
(in the configuration set by the driver) only transmit alerts on speed limits and
overtaking restrictions, for example. This mode allows all interventions in the
braking and steering systems to be disabled, aside from those made by the
collision warning with braking function and the Evasion Assistant. SPORT
mode also switches both the instrument cluster and the Head-Up Display
to a special M View.
Setup button takes drivers straight to the configuration menu.
Pressing the Setup button positioned above the M Mode button takes the
driver straight to the central display’s menu for programming an individual
configuration for the powertrain and chassis options – and thereby tailoring
the car’s setup to the driving situation at hand and their personal preferences.
Simplified operation using the touchscreen display or iDrive Controller makes
it easy for the driver to choose different settings for the engine, suspension,
steering and M xDrive system. The two red-painted M1 and M2 buttons

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next to the gearshift paddles on the M multifunction steering wheel enable
rapid movement between the setups. They allow drivers to configure
two individual setups, comprising their choice of M xDrive, DSC, engine,
transmission, damper and steering characteristics, as well as the appearance
of M View in the Head-Up Display.
TRACK mode for an undiluted M feeling in the BMW M5
Competition.
In the BMW M5 Competition, keeping the M Mode button pressed then
confirming the prompt in the central display engages the additional
TRACK mode. This mode is designed exclusively for use on race circuits
and deactivates all the comfort and safety functions of the driver assistance
systems. To focus the driver’s attention even more intently on the road
ahead, the audio system is also muted and the central display switched off.
The result is an ultra-pure distillation of M feeling. The instrument cluster’s
switches to M View while the Head-Up Display dispenses with readouts from
the driver assistance systems. Automatic activation of the hazard warning
lights in response to emergency braking is suppressed and the collision
warning system is also deactivated. Pressing the M Mode button again exits
TRACK mode and returns to the ROAD setting.
M Sport seats as standard, M multifunction seats as an option.
Optional M multifunction seats with integral head restraints, an illuminated
M5 logo and extended functions are available as an alternative to the standard
M Sport seats in Merino leather upholstery with multi-way electric adjustment.
Merino full leather trim in Black/Midrand Beige is now also available as an
exclusive option for the BMW M5 Competition.
Wide choice of driver assistance systems.
All of the driver assistance systems and features from the regular
BMW 5 Series are also available for the two performance versions.
The Driving Assistant Professional, with its extensive functionality, is fitted

as standard, while the Traffic jam assistant and, in selected markets, remote-
control engine starting are among the items to be found on the options list.

If the Comfort Access option is specified, the BMW Digital Key allows the
car to be locked and unlocked from selected models of smartphone using
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology.
Imposing power from high-revving V8 engine.
The V8 unit under the bonnet of the BMW M5 and BMW M5 Competition
goes about its business in racing-car-derived, high-revving style – i.e.
with imposing muscularity and supreme power delivery. The BMW M5
generates its maximum output of 441 kW/600 hp at 6,000 rpm, while

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the BMW M5 Competition’s 460 kW/625 hp also comes on line at 6,000 rpm.
The duo’s peak torque of 750 Nm (553 lb-ft) arrives as low down as
1,800 rpm and is sustained at this elevated level all the way to 5,600 rpm
in the BMW M5 and an even higher 5,860 rpm in the BMW M5 Competition.
The engine characteristics can be changed at the touch of a button from
the basic EFFICIENT mode to SPORT and SPORT+, resulting in even more
willing response to movements of the accelerator. The BMW M5 sprints from
0 – 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.4 seconds, putting it firmly into super-sports car
territory. And it only requires 11.1 seconds to power to 200 km/h (124 mph)
from rest. The BMW M5 Competition completes both tasks a fraction more
quickly: 100 km/h (62 mph) is up in 3.3 seconds, 200 km/h (124 mph) in
10.8 seconds. The top speed of the BMW M5 and BMW M5 Competition
is 250 km/h (155 mph) – or 305 km/h (189 mph) with the optional M Driver’s
Package specified. The flap-controlled dual-branch exhaust system of the
BMW M5 and the M Sport exhaust system on the BMW M5 Competition –
likewise with a dual-branch and flap-controlled design – produce the
soundtrack to match. A more understated engine note can also be
summoned with the M Sound Control button. The eight-speed M Steptronic
transmission fitted as standard enables extraordinarily short shift times and
fast, precise responses to every nudge of the accelerator. The Drivelogic
rocker switch on the gear selector allows three modes to be chosen for
efficient, sporty or dynamically intense track driving – the latter involving
extremely rapid gearshifts. The driver can use both the selector lever and
the shift paddles on the steering wheel to intervene manually.
Bespoke engine mounting for the BMW M5 Competition.
Among the special features of the BMW M5 Competition are its bespoke
engine mounts with a stiffer spring rate. The drive unit’s firmer connection
to the vehicle’s structure is clearly perceptible, resulting in even more rapid
engine response and immediate transmission of its power to the drivetrain.
The car also turns into corners with noticeably greater directness and
precision on account of the extra stiffness in the mounts.
High performance meets everyday usability.
Credit for negotiating the dynamic tightrope between full everyday usability
on the one hand and driving pleasure and exceptional track performance
on the other goes to the M xDrive system and its centralised intelligent

control for the Active M Differential. As an alternative to variable all-wheel-
drive mode (4WD) with rear-biased baseline setup, the car’s handling

characteristics can be altered by varying degrees, culminating in 2WD mode.
This pure rear-wheel drive setting with no DSC (Dynamic Stability Control)
treats accomplished drivers to completely unadulterated driving pleasure.
The M Servotronic steering can also be adjusted in its response, with a choice

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of COMFORT and SPORT modes, as can Variable Damper Control (VDC).
This can be set to COMFORT for impeccable everyday usability, SPORT
to enhance sporty driving on country roads and give an ideal handling profile
for laps of the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, or SPORT+ to maximise dynamic
performance on smooth asphalt, with wheel and body movements minimised.
As well as a seven-millimetre drop in ride height and other well-conceived
tweaks to the suspension and springs, the BMW M5 Competition’s setup
benefits from further upgrades which take into account the car’s extra power.
Its talents are showcased most prominently on the race track. New shock
absorbers from the BMW M8 Gran Coupé both improve on-the-limit handling
and bring extra comfort to the driving experience. Bumps and ruts in the
road surface are passed through the body – and therefore to the passengers –
to a far lesser degree, and this is achieved without blunting the car’s sporting
edge and precision at high or low speeds. The BMW M5 Competition

leaves the factory with forged, bi-colour, 20-inch M light-alloy wheels in Y-
spoke design (front: 9.5 J x 20, rear: 10.5 J x 20) and mixed-size tyres

(front: 275/35 R 20, rear: 285/35 R 20). The BMW M5 rides on 19-inch
cast light-alloy wheels in five-double-spoke design in polished Orbit Grey
(front: 9.5 J x 19, rear: 10.5 J x 19) with 275/40 R 19 tyres at the front
and 285/40 R 19 items at the rear.
M Compound brakes fitted as standard.
Both M5 variants are equipped as standard with M Compound brakes,
featuring perforated, inner-vented brake discs and six-piston fixed callipers
bearing the M logo at the front and single-piston floating callipers with an
integrated parking brake at the rear. As well as the standard blue painted
finish, the callipers can now be painted in High-gloss Black or High-gloss
Red as an option. The optional M Carbon ceramic brakes are recognisable
from their gold-coloured callipers with M logo (six-piston fixed callipers at
the front, single-piston floating callipers at the rear). They withstand wear
exceptionally well, are 23 kilograms lighter, provide even better braking
performance and thermal stability, and boast further improved fade resistance.
Prices in Germany will start at €120,900 for the BMW M5 and €129,900 for
the BMW M5 Competition.

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