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F10 / F11 (2011 - Current)
The new chapter in the highly successful story of the BMW 5 Series Sedan (F10) and wagon (F11)

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  #1  
Old 09-23-2012, 04:43 PM
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Stealth.Pilot Stealth.Pilot is offline
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2013 M5 Individual - European Delivery

We just got back from the European Delivery of our 2013 M5 Individual.

It was an epic trip:
  • 9 days
  • 1950 miles
  • 6 cities: Munich, Vienna, Salzburg, Zurich, Lucerne and Berne
  • 3 Alpine passes: GrossGlockner, Hahntennjoch, and Schillthorn.
  • Experience of pre and post-break in driving

For this group I will share my observations relative to my previous car – a 2012 550i M-Sport Dinan Stage 2 with the sportiest configuration (IAS, ARS, DDC, RWD and Michelin Pilot Super Sports). Also as context, I am a driver who enjoys a more digital driving experience. I have been a fan of EPS, IAS, ARS, DDC, etc. So I was fully ready for the innovations the M5 would throw at me and I had high expectations. I am glad to say my expectations were met and exceeded.

IMPRESSIONS OF THE M5

The sound is very sexy. There is a growl when you press the start button. During warm up the car sounds like a beast. In the Sportier settings the car sounds like that all the time. In Salzburg and Vienna I remember people would turn their heads every time I pressed the throttle. It is loud! The burbling on the downshifts sounds fantastic. This car sounds like what you expected a sports car to sound like when you were a kid, and it is inspiring.

Astonishing thrust. This thing really attacks the road. If you need to chase someone down, you need an M5. The difference in power between the M5 and the 550i Dinan Stage 2 is bigger than the power difference between the 550i and the 550i Dinan Stage 2. It is a huge difference which likely is the combination of an estimated additional 120hp (based on dynos I have seen) and the fact that the car is so much better at getting power to the ground thanks to Active M differential. DCT, and bigger tires. The thrust is just astonishing. Some magazines have achieved 0-60 in 3.6 seconds – I certainly believe it. It also means it is very easy to pass on single lane country roads in Austria, Switzerland and Germany - we must have passed ~160 cars on single lane roads. Sometimes passing 7 or 8 cars in a single maneuver and there weren't any long straights either!

No lag or throttle delay in Sport+. When I drove the M5 in Andalucia last year I raised concerns of turbo lag. It turns out that must have been the DSC. I found the throttle response to be near instantaneous in the 2013 M5. It felt like the responsiveness of an NA engine with the low end torque of a turbo. Clearly the design which places the turbos inside the V to reduce lag is a winner. The absence of lag was a huge contrast to the Panny Turbo I test drove in July. Note -there is still lag in Effiency mode, but that doesn't surprise me, and I would not recommend that mode.

The DCT is an engineering marvel but needs one more gear. Shifts are incredibly quick and crisp. Even in sport+ they don't seem harsh, but they are instantaneous. It seems noticeably quicker than Porsche's PDK, and substantially better than what you find in a Lambo or Ferrari. The M-HUD offers shift lights which make shifting with such a precise gearbox an incredible delight. It is a precision instrument, which can be driven with extreme precision thanks to the M-HUD shift indicator light. However, at higher speeds I missed the 8th gear of the 550i. I think an 8th gear would be useful.

Superb handling in mountains and on the autobahn. Despite the traffic, I was executing high speed corners and overtaking maneuvers on the Grossglockner – basically on the side of a mountain. To do this I had to put the car in Sport Plus mode for Steering and Suspension, and Sport for engine, with transmission in D2. The amount of control in the switchbacks was superb. The car felt like a small car – in fact it was cornering better and faster than my 2004 M3 on the side of a mountain. The car also feels very stable in high corners. The highways in Austria and Switzerland curve a lot, and I was taking medium to high speed corners at 120mph+, in fact in Germany I hit 150mph on a gently curved section of autobahn. This is partly driven by the suspension and the bigger tires, but also the steering which provides enough weight and feedback to give you more confidence at those speeds. But contrast the 550i never inspired the same degree of confidence required to corner at those speeds.

The steering is sublime. I am as you all know a big advocate of electric steering. The M5 has hydraulic steering, however it has contextually variable assist and 3 modes – comfort, sport and sport+ which vary the amount of assist and the amount of feedback. Comfort and Sport are both comfortable at low speeds unlike previous M cars. In all modes there is more feedback than in the 550i, however the amount of control and feedback in Sport and Sport+ mode is very impressive. Again it trumps my 2004 M3 – the feedback almost seems exaggerated in Sport+ mode so you know exactly what is going on. The variable assist is a feature of EPS which is integrated very well in the M5 hydraulic setup. In Sport mode, I found it very comfortable around town and parking lots, yet had the firmness and stability needed for precise cornering in the switchbacks on the mountain side. Very impressive.

M Dynamic Mode in combination with the M DCT is really fun. The car is most responsive in this setup, instant response, gets power down very effectively, some wheel slip or fish-tailing if you aren't careful, and ability to powerslide in a controlled way.
The car is not limited – I hit 162mph and it still had plenty of accelerating power at that speed – traffic prevented me from exploring further.

Ride quality is not up to 550i standards, but surprisingly good around town. Since my GF was working, I took my parents with me who are used to driving a Lexus GS460, and they thought the ride quality was very good. I thought it was comparable to Sport mode around town, although once you exceed 100mph even comfort mode is not as good as the 550i in any mode. That may be the price for more road feel and control at high speeds.

The brakes could be better. They are very good in the sense that you can brake hard and the car will track straight without any issues. There is excellent precision in braking. However I feel it needs bigger brakes and more stopping power. The brakes were a key reason I couldn't exceed 162mph – the traffic made me nervous given the brakes.

Car looks and feels much more expensive than the 550i. The individual interior is superb. I am glad I read Highyo's quote that said that Platinum Merino with PianoBlack is a Killer combination, and Needsdecaf's idea of sticking with a Platinum Alcantara interior to create a light modern interior. It is superb. Also the Bang and Olufsen sound system is superb. I parked the car next to a Rolls-Royce Ghost at the Park Hyatt in Zurich, and I thought the M5 interior looked better (they were both the same color combination). The car also drew a lot of looks. In Berne a bunch of guys started photographing the car. On several occasions I saw pedestrians and other drivers giving me a thumbs up. There were a lot of people staring in all cities. I found the attention entertaining, but also a little disturbing – one of the things I like about the M5 over the Panny is that it is supposed to be low profile. The only disappointment aesthetically is the absence of ceramic controls.

The new nav had routing issues I ran into several insane routing problems with the nav (like what Needsdecaf has posted with the 2011 nav). I have never had such issues with the 2012 nav, so I found this disconcerting. Hopefully it was an ED map issue, and won't recur stateside. Also I didn't find the graphics much better than the 2012 version. Seemed very similar except for the routing problems on the new one.

Overall – I love the upgrade and am glad I made the switch to the M5. I have never been so excited every time I fire up a car.

A few things I miss about the 550i:
- Highway ride quality
- Ceramic Controls
- Auto-Handbrake
- Auto high beams

Some pictures




















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Last edited by Stealth.Pilot; 09-23-2012 at 06:28 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2012, 04:49 PM
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Bikie Bikie is offline
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Beautiful! Nice report. Enjoy!
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  #3  
Old 09-23-2012, 05:55 PM
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AutoUnion AutoUnion is offline
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I'm not going to lie, I've been waiting for the write-up. Gorgeous car inside and out. The blue would have been my choice too.

I've always been against light colored interiors, but that looks fantastic. Congrats on the car Stealth.

So you did end up speccing it with the B&O. I was playing with the system in a 6GC and it sounded fantastic.

It's a shame that BMW didn't put the ARS on the M5. I bet that would have made it even better. Glad to see the M doesn't suffer throttle issues.




And you're not the only one who has said something about the brakes. I think it was Emission (he works for Autoblog) said his test car's brakes overheated on the track.
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Old 09-23-2012, 05:58 PM
longvaio longvaio is offline
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bravo ,nice car
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  #5  
Old 09-23-2012, 06:00 PM
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Stealth.Pilot Stealth.Pilot is offline
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Thanks AutoUnion. I did get the Bang and Olufsen. Per my earlier review I don't think it's good value for money, but it's an awesome system and I really like the aesthetics of the metal grilles and illuminated speakers at night.

I don't think the M5 needs ARS - cornering is very flat. The one mechanical feature from the 550i I wish they did have on the M5 is IAS.
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Last edited by Stealth.Pilot; 09-23-2012 at 06:02 PM.
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  #6  
Old 09-23-2012, 06:01 PM
SuperTerp SuperTerp is offline
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call me when you get rid of it LOVE LOVE LOVE the color choice! Don't abuse it I plan on keeping it a long time

How is the DCT auto mode? I honestly don't trust myself over a long period with full manual (I mostly do it from 0-x and then switch it back to auto)

Last edited by SuperTerp; 09-23-2012 at 06:07 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-23-2012, 06:25 PM
ksqrd ksqrd is offline
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Very nice review and gorgeous car. Will look for it around town. I only hope you weren't the one photographing your dash at 162 mph!
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:27 PM
sdg1871 sdg1871 is online now
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Outstanding review Stealth? Enjoy your beast.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:27 PM
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Stealth, does BMW require the 1,200 mile service on the F10? I remember older M cars had this and after the service, they would "open up"
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  #10  
Old 09-23-2012, 06:38 PM
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Stealth.Pilot Stealth.Pilot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AutoUnion View Post
Stealth, does BMW require the 1,200 mile service on the F10? I remember older M cars had this and after the service, they would "open up"
Yes BMW does require it and the car is somewhat detuned until the service. I have not yet had the service since I didn't want to spend half a day at a dealership during my vacation. The VPC will take care of it.
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  #11  
Old 09-23-2012, 06:44 PM
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Stealth.Pilot Stealth.Pilot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperTerp View Post
call me when you get rid of it LOVE LOVE LOVE the color choice! Don't abuse it I plan on keeping it a long time

How is the DCT auto mode? I honestly don't trust myself over a long period with full manual (I mostly do it from 0-x and then switch it back to auto)
The DCT auto mode works very well. It's very smooth in D1 and D2. In D3 you can feel the shifts, but it still seems smooth.

That said I find it much easier to drive in manual mode on the M5 because you have the tachometer and and shift lights in the HUD.
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  #12  
Old 09-23-2012, 06:47 PM
6spdg37s 6spdg37s is offline
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awesome color choices ! congrats on the car !
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:48 PM
Kar Don Kar Don is offline
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Maybe the brakes will get better as they break in/bed. I know my e class braking power was terrible until I hit about 600 miles.

Great looking car, glad to hear you like it. Probably the exact car I would have built for myself if I could afford an m5 haha. Congrats.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:52 PM
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dunderhi dunderhi is online now
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Thanks for the review & pics. Your M5 looks sweet!

I do have one question: what is the material finish on the center console? I would have expected it to be piano black.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:04 PM
highyo highyo is offline
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wow that car is absolutely gorgeous and looks like a rocket ship. congratulations on your trip and your purchase. the bulletin they sent out (oil pump?) i'm sure will be taken care of at the VPC. congratulations on such a beautiful ride. M GMBH really do make special cars.
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  #16  
Old 09-23-2012, 09:03 PM
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Stealth.Pilot Stealth.Pilot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dunderhi View Post
Thanks for the review & pics. Your M5 looks sweet!

I do have one question: what is the material finish on the center console? I would have expected it to be piano black.
The center console is matte black leather. It is a much better choice than piano black because the center console is a high traffic area, especially with all those buttons down there. With all the threads we have had on center console scratches here, it is a relief having a scratch proof center console!
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  #17  
Old 09-23-2012, 09:20 PM
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dunderhi dunderhi is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth.Pilot View Post
The center console is matte black leather. It is a much better choice than piano black because the center console is a high traffic area, especially with all those buttons down there. With all the threads we have had on center console scratches here, it is a relief having a scratch proof center console!
Sounds like a good idea, was that part of the Individual package or standard?
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  #18  
Old 09-23-2012, 09:31 PM
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Stealth.Pilot Stealth.Pilot is offline
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Sounds like a good idea, was that part of the Individual package or standard?
Standard.
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  #19  
Old 09-23-2012, 11:04 PM
ITMenace ITMenace is offline
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Great ride and write up. Congrats and enjoy.
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  #20  
Old 09-24-2012, 04:02 AM
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wdimagineer wdimagineer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth.Pilot View Post
The center console is matte black leather. It is a much better choice than piano black because the center console is a high traffic area, especially with all those buttons down there. With all the threads we have had on center console scratches here, it is a relief having a scratch proof center console!
I've heard the opposite, actually. That it can scratch. Just be careful. I've yet to notice any marks on mine, but I am also relieved that I don't have to worry about this area quite as much.
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  #21  
Old 09-24-2012, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Stealth.Pilot View Post
The highways in Austria and Switzerland curve a lot, and I was taking medium to high speed corners at 120mph+
Just for the record: The posted speed limits in those countries are in kph, not mph!
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  #22  
Old 09-24-2012, 05:46 AM
sdg1871 sdg1871 is online now
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Originally Posted by 6spdg37s View Post
awesome color choices ! congrats on the car !
I love it too. But that blue exterior color is the last thing from "stealth. LOL. That color jumps out and grabs ya.
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Old 09-24-2012, 06:43 AM
Kar Don Kar Don is offline
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i would have opti-coated it right at the Welt
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Old 09-24-2012, 07:11 AM
kc1953 kc1953 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealth.Pilot View Post
Thanks AutoUnion. I did get the Bang and Olufsen. Per my earlier review I don't think it's good value for money, but it's an awesome system and I really like the aesthetics of the metal grilles and illuminated speakers at night.

I don't think the M5 needs ARS - cornering is very flat. The one mechanical feature from the 550i I wish they did have on the M5 is IAS.
Gorgeous car Stealth. And once you are spending 100k or so on a car, I think it would be hard not to get the best sound system available, even if it isn't a good value proposition. Enjoy.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:15 AM
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