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BMW M5 price watch

Conscious that the M5’s direct rival - the rawer and more raucous Mercedes-Benz  E63 AMG - has been stealing a lot of its thunder (and sales), BMW’s M division has injected its big saloon with more devil.

The model that started the genre is about to re-assert itself.

The fifth generation of BMW’s iconic M5 sports sedan gets a sizzling mid-life giddy-up, integrating its hard-edged Competition Package into the V8 muscle car’s standard specification.

While impressively quick and luxurious on launch in Australia early last year, the softer demeanour of the current M5 has been mildly unsettling to long-time aficionados. Some of the animal of old was missing.

From July production, revisions include a power boost in the howling twin power turbo 4.4-litre V8 to 423kW, a not-inconsequential hike of 11kW. More horses to help the giddy up…

Peak torque remains at a lofty 680Nm but it is now extended further, in a perfectly flat line from 1500rpm to 6000rpm. The exhaust system has M twin tailpipes in black chrome to give a more rousing sound. Very important.

But most of the enhancements are directed at giving enthusiasts sharper handling and keener responses easily felt by the driver.

The Active M differential, already standard on M cars, gets its own control unit as part of the Competition Package. Combined with tweaked damping, springs and anti-roll bars and the suspension dropped by 10mm, there are claimed improved power-down traction as well as reduced body.  New hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering with an M-tuned Servotronic function has mapping to dictate more secure contact with the road and helping overall vehicle agility when cornering.

The chassis control systems - selectable Comfort

, Sport or Sport+ models - have also been refined further, and now drivers should notice an even wider difference between a cruisy driving style and an aggressive approach at the other end of the spectrum.

The new go-faster equipment has lowered the M5’s zero-100km/h time by 0.1sec to 4.2secs and the zero-200km/h run by 0.2sec, and leaves the combined fuel economy number at the same 9.9litres/100km as previously. The seven-speed Drivelogic dual-clutch transmission and ratios are unchanged.

Unlike the 6-Series range (Coupe, Convertible and Gran Coupe) where the Competition Package is a $12,000 option, the gear is all-inclusive with the revised M5, with just a minor, barely noticeable, price adjustment from $229,500 to $229,900 (plus on road costs).  By way of comparison, the AMG E63 sells for $249,900.

The mid-life facelift also brings a bevy of other worthy standard items to the M5 – lane-changing warning system, forward collision warning, automatic soft-close function for the doors, adaptive LED headlights, and digital audio broadcast.  In all the M5 gets around $16,000 worth of added value, for that extra $400.  Optional carbon ceramic brakes for all four corners, so handy for track work, are an extra $24,000.

Styling has been subtly re-worked around the front grille, and the tail-lights now have ultra-fine LED light strips to give the M5 a standout after dark presence.  Differently styled 20-inch alloys also come with the revised car.

Inside, there’s a new design leather M steering wheel, extended storage under the armrest in the centre console, and the Control Display of the standard-fitment iDrive operating system now has some stylish chrome trim on the sides.

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