These days, it seems just about every new BMW model gets its own array of M Performance parts. For the vast majority of the lineup though, these parts are almost exclusively superficial and aesthetic in their nature. You could perhaps make the case that swapping every carbon-fiber M Performance part on a car like the 5 Series or 3 Series saves a bit of weight, but that’s not the primary purpose for their existence.
Over the last few years, M cars—not M SAVs or SACs—have become the exception. While BMW supposedly offers an M Performance exhaust system for the G30 5 Series LCI, the real performance-enhancing parts are now reserved for cars like the M2 Competition and M8. The updated M5 joins this list, with a new array of parts that includes the standard carbon-fiber bits and an exhaust, in addition to a set of coil overs and an upgraded braking system—among the broader collection of parts.
Carbon-fiber grille surrounds, mirror caps, and air breathers are nice improvements whether applied selectively or as one, but it’s the style 863M Y-Spoke M Performance wheels that steal the show. Wrapped in summer rubber, these are the same wheels that caught our attention a year ago, when BMW showed them off as M Performance parts for the M8 and M8 Competition. What’s so special about them? Examining them straight on, they look like just another set of BBS Y-spokes, which are excellent in their own right, thanks to a concave design originating from the hub.
The wheels are perhaps best appreciated from an angle, with the complexity of their design in full view. Manufactured using a sophisticated milling process which starts with forged metal, the 863M wheels differentiate themselves thanks to their patented three-dimensional spoke geometry, which saves weight in a critical area. Wearing a Ferric Grey matte finish, they also feature M Performance lettering, and serve as a perfect frame for the optional M Carbon Ceramic brakes on the M5. Speaking of brakes, M5 and M5 Competition models with conventional brakes can be fitted with optional M Performance brake pads.
Rather interestingly, BMW will also offer what’s referred to as the M Performance sport suspension for the. The system uses adjustable coil-overs to drop the M5 and M5 Competition between five and twenty millimeters, which results in a lowered center of gravity and reduced roll tendency, both of which allow for increased cornering speeds, according to BMW. The coil-over springs and dampers don’t look too far off from what BMW offers for the M2 Competition, but given parts commonality, it will be interesting to see if the suspension fits the M8.
There are still plenty of carbon-fiber pieces though, and one place where the treatment seems to have been focused is the engine bay. The S63B44T4 under the hood of the M5 and M8 already comes with a large carbon-fiber cover which hides the main portion of the engine. The M Performance parts catalog offers additional pieces, which shroud other parts like the charge air ducting in front of the engine, along with replacement panels that take the place of plastic counterparts on the sides of the engine.
There’s also an exhaust system, but this is a carryover from the original F90 M5 M Performance parts array, which also included the above carbon-fiber appointments for the engine bay. Nevertheless, BMW’s M Performance exhaust systems have a reputation for improving sound, and the setup for the M5 looks like it may be able to divert flow to bypass the muffler, and straight to the outer set of pipes for an unmatched aural experience.
The most interesting M Performance part included in the latest release will also be the most controversial. It’s a carbon-fiber piece which fits over the fuel filler cap of the M5, and any other model (there are many) which shares the part. The cap appears to use the same carbon-fiber weave as other M Performance parts, but also bears an M Performance adhesive logo. And just to clear up any misconceptions, it covers the existing filler cap, which means there’s no question about it adding weight.
Has BMW crossed the rubicon? Are we now through the looking glass? Carbon-fiber kidney grilles have been around since at least the E36, but an applique for your fuel filler cap? Hear us out: the main redeeming quality of the carbon-fiber cap is that you’ll have to tough it every time you refuel, which can be pretty often in something like an M5. Nevertheless, we would avoid letting any stray drops of gasoline come into contact with the surface of the cap, though it’s almost certainly protected by a coat of resin.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]