2021 BMW M5 sedan gets gentle refresh, suspension tweaks for Competition model

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BMW

Even as SUVs reign supreme in the market, the sport sedan has a loyal following. Big power, capable suspension, and enough space for a family—or at least a few friends—defines the category. The BMW M5 has long been a titan in this space, and for 2021 the refreshed super-sedan gets a few useful upgrades to keep it up to date, as well as revised front and rear styling.

On the performance side, the M5 keeps its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8, making the same 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, and the Competition also carries over its 617-hp and 553-lb-ft version of this engine. The brakes remain the same, too—vented M Compound stoppers for the M5 and carbon-ceramics with gold-painted calipers for the Competition—but standard M5 buyers can now elect for gloss black or red finish for the calipers.

2021 BMW M5 Competition front end
BMW

The Competition, however gets a few suspension tweaks for 2021, including new shocks and a revised damper control tuning. BMW claims the revised damper control on the Competition trim will give a more comfortable ride at highway speeds. Additionally, both M5 models now get the M8’s M mode button, which consolidates engine, chassis, suspension, steering, and all-wheel drive settings to one button, saving drivers from messing with individual calibrations while trying to, well, drive. The M mode has a Default Road mode on which all driver assist systems are active, while the Sport mode allows the driver to disable certain systems and view the instrument cluster/head-up display with additional performance information. New for the 2021 M5 Competition is a new “Track” M mode, meant for closed courses, which defeats all driver assistance systems and deactivates the audio and center-screen displays to minimize distractions.

Performance-focused as it is, the 5 Series is still a luxury car, so the 2021 model year will receive a few improvements to keep its passengers feeling up to date. A 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment, upgraded from 10.25 inches, is perched on the center stack and loaded with cloud-based navigation and Apple CarPlay, but a welcome addition for non-Apple users is Android Auto.

2021 BMW M5 Competition rear 3/4
BMW

In a category with the Audi RS 6 and Mercedes-AMG E 63, it takes a lot to claim the top spot as the ultimate sport sedan, but the M5 still makes a compelling case after all these years. Yes, $104,495 for the M5 and $112,095 for the Competition is tough to swallow, but there are few other cars with four doors that can hit 0-60 in 3.2 seconds, devour corners, and cruise the highway in comfort.

 

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