When the sixth generation of the M5 arrived for the 2018 model year with standard M xDrive, it effectively changed the game for BMW in terms of performance. For the brand that had long resisted adding all-wheel-drive to its coveted M models, the F90 M5 rocketed to the top of the list as one of the fastest and most capable BMWs—and sedans—of all time. The F90 M5’s anointed place in both the BMW lineup and among other performance cars comes courtesy of its incredible acceleration: 2.8 seconds from zero-to-60 mph and 10.9 seconds at 129 mph for the standing quarter mile for the initial pre-LCI model.
In the years since the F90 M5’s debut, the model has gotten progressively faster and more powerful. The M5 Competition boasts 617 horsepower at 6,000 rpm, while the M5 CS has the most powerful BMW engine of all time, with 627 horsepower being enough to best the 618-horsepower S70/2 V12 of the McLaren F1 from the mid 1990s. According to a recent instrumented test performed by the professionals at Car and Driver, the M5 CS the fastest and most powerful four-door BMW model currently available.
The numbers from Car and Driver‘s testing don’t leave much in the way of interpretation. The M5 CS can accelerate from zero-to-60 in just 2.6 seconds, and completes the standing quarter mile in 10.6 seconds at 130 mph. Other highlights include a zero-to-100 mph acceleration time of just 6.2 seconds, while 150 mph arrives in 15.5 seconds. The rolling start from five-to-60 mph is over in 3.8 seconds, while emergency braking from 70 to a dead stop takes 150 feet. Grip is another strong point, with the M5 CS able to pull 1.02 g around a 300-foot skidpad. The output of the M5 CS of 627 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 553 pound-feet of torque at 1,800 are only part of the equation, as the model shed 141 pounds when compared with the 4,237-pound M5 Competition LCI. M xDrive is another integral component of the M5’s speed equation, but we’ve known that since the model was first available, and the addition of all-wheel-drive continues to pay dividends for BMW, now with the G80 M3 Competition and G82 M4 Competition when they are equipped.
Despite the M5 CS being the most powerful BMW model ever, it’s actually not the fastest on sale right now—but it’s very close. That honor still belongs to the M8 Competition in coupe form, which can sprint to 60 mph from a dead stop in just 2.5 seconds, although the quarter mile time is a hair slower than that of the M5 CS, with the M8 Competition doing it in 10.7 seconds at 129 mph. Nevertheless, the numbers are even more impressive for the M8 considering its curb weight of 4,251 pounds. Lastly, and just to prove we’re not actually splitting hairs here, the M8 Competition’s five-to-60 rolling start time of 3.5 seconds is faster than the M5 CS, but it’s observed mileage of fifteen mpg according to Car and Driver is three less than than the all-weather super sedan’s figure of eighteen mpg—not that anyone buys such a car with a concern for efficiency in mind.
There’s one last caveat to add to the equation though, and that is the performance of the M8 Competition Gran Coupé, which weighs the most of the bunch at 4,377 pounds, but can still manage a zero-to-60 acceleration time of 2.7 seconds, a quarter-mile time of 10.8 seconds at 129 mph, and a five-to-60 rolling start time of 3.7 seconds. At the end of the day, if you feel the need to own one of the fastest and most capable BMW models of all time, all of them are worthy of your consideration.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]