2013 BMW M5

After a model year's hiatus, a new chapter begins for the venerated high-performance sedan that drives the line between worthy track car and posh family sedan. First appearing in summer 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany, and officially making its North American debut at the LA Auto Show, the 2013 BMW M5,

dubbed the F10 in Bimmerphile geek-speak, has a new engine, improved suspension and weight saving advances that keep the midsize four-door precipitate as well as perfunctory.

Gone is the old 500-horsepower V10 in favor of a 4.4-liter, direct-injected, twin scroll, twin-turbocharged V8 (which BMW calls the S63Tu), a modified version of the power plant found in the X6 M and X5 M. This incarnation churns out 560-hp and 502 pound-feet of torque, with the maximum available between 1500 and 5750 rpm.
Paired to the engine is a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode, replacing the previous generation's SMG sequential automated manual gearbox. The new powertrain, combined with weight savings and an automatic start/stop feature, help to achieve what BMW claims is an increased fuel efficiency of 30 percent. (The 2010 M5 is rated by the EPA at an abysmal 11 mpg City, 17 mpg Highway, or 13 mpg Combined.)
Weight is reduced on the 2013 M5 via new aluminum components and by bolting the rear suspension directly to the chassis, which in the previous generation was linked by bulky rubber subframe bushings. That said, the M5's curb weight is a beefy 4300 pounds, nearly 100 pounds heavier than a standard 5 Series with similar features. And unlike the standard 5 Series, the M5 loses the electric steering in favor of hydraulic, giving the driver a more connected feeling to the road.
Track-day junkies will like the cockpit-adjustable shocks and iron-and-aluminum brake rotors with heavier-duty six-piston calipers, riding inside 18- or 19-inch wheels. All in all, the M5 seems well-suited to take on the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and Cadillac CTS-V.
Inside, the 2013 BMW M5 is teeming with software and in-car connectivity. Purists may balk at BMW's high-tech solution for letting drivers hear the growl of their V8 engines without irking passersby: A digital signal processor translates data from the engine management system and reproduces engine noises through the car's six-speaker audio system. Translation? A fake engine sound coming through your radio. Still, if you're paying upwards of $100k for a high-performance sedan, you'd better hear something.

The 2013 BMW M5 is slated to arrive in dealerships next summer with an expected base price of $92,000.