What Changed for 2008:
- Minor "design re-freshening" for 2008
- Updated exterior front air dam, center air intake and brake inlets
- Two new exterior colors
- Redesigned interior door panels and some controls
- New options, including HD radio
's performance division-the subsidiary that facilitates racing and churns out the highest-performing models in their lineup-is called "BMW M GmbH." The first "M-badged" car for sale to the public was the M1, a purpose-built, mid-engine exotic sports car that debuted in 1978. The 5 Series
would have to wait for M treatment until 1984, when the first performance-oriented M5 debuted in Europe. (It didn't arrive in the United States until the 1988 model year.) Differentiated from the standard 5 Series by engine, suspension, brakes, and interior and exterior upgrades, the M5 represents the fastest sedan in BMW's lineup, and one of their most powerful offerings.
There have been four generations of BMW M5 models, including the current version. The first two generations were powered by 6-cylinder engines, while the third generation raised the bar when it debuted with an 8-cylinder powerplant. Now in its fourth generation, the new-for-2006 M5
sent the competition reeling once again when it arrived with a race-bred, 500-hp V-10 powerplant and a standard automatic 7-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG). In 2007, bowing to pressure from enthusiasts, BMW once again introduced a 6-speed manual transmission option for the M5. The 2008 model year brings a minor "design freshening" with an updated front air dam, new headlamps and tail lamps, interior upgrades, and some new paint colors.
BMW provides a 4-year/50,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty and a 4-year/unlimited mileage membership in the BMW Assist Safety Plan with every 2008 M5. The BMW Maintenance Program includes all factory-recommended maintenance items for the first 4-year/50,000-mile period of ownership.Model Lineup
The 2008 BMW M5 the highest-performing 5 Series, and also the flagship of the model range. Understandably, it is very well equipped even in standard trim. The full complement of standard power accessory and convenience features includes dual-zone climate control, automatic dimming mirrors, and Xenon headlamps. In contrast from the standard luxury-oriented 5 Series, the M5 features an interior oriented towards the enthusiast driver. The tilt/telescoping steering wheel is smaller in diameter, and thicker for a more substantial grip. The front seats are more aggressively bolstered. The Extended Leather package (leather door armrests, center-dash area, center console, and handbrake boot) is standard. While the standard 5 Series sedans offer Sport and Premium packages, each bundled with specific equipment, the M5 receives most of the features included in its base price. Stand-alone options include a heated steering wheel, power rear sunshade, rear-seat heating and soft close automatic doors. Major options include perforated Merino leather with Alcantara roof liner, M Multifunction Seats with Active Width Adjustment, Head-up Display, and Comfort Access. In addition, the M5's standard premium 13-speaker audio package with digital signal processing may be upgraded with an iPod/USB adapter, SIRIUS satellite radio, or HD radio options.Powertrain
The heart of every 2008 BMW M5 is a race-bred, 5.0-liter, 40-valve V-10 engine. With an aluminum block and cylinder heads, and variable valve timing, the powerplant is rated at 500 hp and 383 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a 7-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG), or a 6-speed manual transmission. Under full throttle, the M5 accelerates to 60 mph in just over 4 seconds, BMW claims. Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph. The EPA has rated the 2008 BMW M5 at 11 mpg city/17 mpg highway, regardless of transmission choice.
The specially calibrated independent suspension features BMW's Electronic Damping Control, a system of electronically controlled shocks that allow three different modes based on the driver's selection. The steering is speed-sensitive, with a revised "quicker" ratio than the standard 5 Series. Braking is accomplished with massive cross-ventilated disc brakes-the most powerful brakes ever fitted to a BMW, the company says. The standard wheels on the M5 are 19-inch alloys with high-performance tires. Unlike the standard models, BMW M models are not fitted with run-flat tires.Safety
Passengers in the front seats of the 2008 BMW M5 are protected by a front-impact Supplementary Restraint System (SRS) with dual-threshold deployment, 2-stage, front air bags. BMW's Head Protection System (AHPS II) covers front and rear passenger rows, and all outboard seating positions feature automatic tensioning seat belts. The rear seats include Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren (LATCH) attachments for child seats and a Battery Safety Terminal shuts off power to the engine in the event of a serious collision. All M5 models are equipped with a special M-calibrated Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) including all-speed traction control, electronic brake proportioning, Brake Drying, Start-off Assistant, and a standard tire-pressure monitor. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS
), the 2004-2008 BMW 5 Series scored a "Good" rating during their frontal offset crash testing, and a "Marginal" rating for side-impact testing (models manufactured after May 2007 with standard air bags).Technology
The 2008 BMW M5 is available with M Multi-function Sport Seats. The innovative all-power front seats feature an adjustable upper back-rest support, active head restraints, active seat ventilation, and active backrests. The adjustable upper back support is strictly for comfort while the active head restraints add additional passenger safety from whiplash-type injuries in the event of a collision, BMW says. The active seat ventilation uses nine different fans to blow cool air through the seat cushions (with perforated leather) for additional comfort. The most interesting technology is found in the active backrests. When enabled, computers will constantly monitor the M5's driving dynamics to actively adjust the bolsters on the seat to help hold the driver in place behind the wheel.