This is the new BMW M5 Competition. Following the M2 Competition, it signals a new era where M Division’s more focused products come as standalone models, as opposed to being Competition packs.
If that sounds confusing, be assured the rest of its approach is exactly the same as before. So it’s a bit more powerful, a touch stiffer, and a bit more assertively styled than the standard M5. A car not known for lacking power, stiffness or assertion.
Its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 is up 24hp, taking its total output to 616hp. Which is more than the Mercedes-AMG E63 S. While torque is unchanged—at 750Nm—it’s available over a slightly wider rev range, slicing the 0-100kph by 0.1sec, to 3.3secs. The top speed is still limited to 249kph, unless you spec the 304kph Driver’s Package, which you can also have on standard M5s.
Staying beneath the skin, the Competition sits 7mm lower with 10% stiffer suspension, while the front wheels are more heavily cambered and the engine mounts are more rigid. The end result, says BMW, is more direct steering and a more ‘obedient nature’, as if the regular M5 is a slightly mischievous dog.
You also get a louder M Sport exhaust system, but the fundamental stuff—the M5’s eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel-drive system, with switchable rear-drive mode—remain unchanged.
Want to know how to spot one? The M5 Competition gets new 20in ‘bi-color’ wheels—which look extremely vulnerable to urban road furniture—some gloss black trim and, should you end up behind the wheel of one, the addition of the word ‘Competition’ when the digital instrument display starts up.
Pretty subtle then, all told. Prices are yet to be announced, but with the regular M5 costing £89,645, expect this one to edge much closer to £100,000 (P7 million).
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.