For the last 4 years, I have been driving a 2010 Audi S4. A great sports sedan, with Quattro all-wheel drive and a supercharged V6 engine that produced 333 hp and 325 lb-ft. Plenty of power for most but for some reason I wanted more. As a result, I looked at aftermarket tuning options and decided to go with STaSIS engineering’s ECU remap to the tune of 410 hp and 370 lb-ft. The car was a beast and ran well without issues, but the warranty was quickly coming to an end this past year. So I had to make a tough decision, to either keep and risk the high cost of German car ownership post warranty, or trade it in. Despite friends telling me that the car still looked new and I’d be a fool to sell it, I couldn’t resist thinking about driving a new car.
I had a strict criteria for any car in my current situation. It needed to be a combination of luxury, sport, and practicality. I’m single with no kids, why practical? Well, I’ve always liked large cars and the ability to cary unexpected items and people. Ideally I’d prefer having two cars, but living in San Francisco, not many properties offer more than one garage space with each unit. This limits me to one car that can do it all. It came down to 3 German super sedans, the 2014 BMW M5 Competition Package, Mercedes E63 AMG-S, and Audi RS7.
For an entire month, I went up and down the Bay Area, talking to multiple BMW, Mercedes, and Audi dealerships in person and email. Without going into too much detail on test drives and writing about super sedan comparison, I decided that the BMW M5 was the best overall choice. All three cars would make any enthusiast happy, but the final decision came down to price and availability. Both Mercedes and Audi were hard to get, wasn’t willing to budge from MSRP, and had some ridiculous dealer markups.
At this point I knew what I wanted in terms of color and options, but was in no rush to buy anything. The S4 ran perfectly fine, paid for, and I still had second thoughts about spending over $100k for a new car. So one Sunday morning I got up early for a round of golf and before leaving the house, I decided to search BMW’s inventory in the area. Lo and behold, a dealership 45 miles away had a car with the color and all the options I wanted. Feeling excited, I left the house and played my usual round of golf with the expectation of just looking at the car after. I quickly rushed after my round and headed down to the dealership. They were closing at 8pm and I got there at 7:30. They allowed me to test drive the car and after grinning from ear to ear, we sat down to talk numbers. At this point, I wasn’t ready to buy the car. I didn’t have my checkbook and figured I was going to get shafted on my trade-in and sale price. The salesman came back and showed me the S4 trade-in value, which matched that of KBB’s top value and a price I was happy with. He then threw out a number slightly below MSRP for the M5. Not feeling so excited at the sale price, I then asked him to login to truecar.com which indicated a price very close invoice. He was hesitant at first but then talked to his manager to see what he could do. I was pleasantly surprised when he returned, giving me an excellent trade-in plus a sale price practically at invoice. So now I’m crapping my pants, asking myself what to do. I told him that I didn’t have my checkbook and he said not to worry because I had my trade-in and he can put the remainder on the loan. I asked him for a moment to think, so I went back to my car and curiously checked my glove compartment. To my surprise, there was an old checkbook inside 😀 Came back inside and closed the deal. Everyone had gone home, it was only the salesman, his manager, and the finance guy left. Signed all the paperwork, transferred all the contents of my car into the M5 and drove home two hours after closing.
This was by far the largest impulse purchase, deciding in the moment, that I have ever made. I’m glad that I did because I am thoroughly enjoying my time with the M5.
This review is not meant to be technical or objective, but rather a subjective perspective of an everyday driver.
2014 F10 BMW M5 Competition Pack
Engine: 4.4 L Twin Turbo V8
- Singapore grey
- Sakhir orange interior
- competition package
- drivers assist
- B&O audio
- 601m style wheels
This car is the perfect combination of sport and luxury. With high-end options like a Bang & Olufsen stereo and your standard list of 5 series luxury appointments, combined with BMW M division’s performance, makes the M5 one special vehicle.
Is the competition pack worth the $7,300 price tag? In my opinion, YES! It adds modifications that is engineered to work together as a unit, with a subtle customized look while keeping it OEM. Cosmetically, the package include a sport exhaust with black chrome tips, 10mm lower ride, and 601m style 20″ wheels. Photos don’t do the wheels justice, but in person, I think it makes the car look more aggressive. Unfortunately, the 601m’s are not forged and is actually heavier compared to style 343m. Mechanically, the package adds 15hp through an ECU remap, new coil springs and damper calibrations, stiffened anti-sway bars , better steering ratio, louder exhaust, and a modified M dynamic mode of its DSC program. Some will argue that you can add a lot of this aftermarket for less, but I’d rather have highly paid German engineers, with Masters and PhD’s, design and calibrate the car as one package.
In comfort / eco mode, the car rides firm, but still compliant for a pothole stricken city like San Francisco. Mind you that I have a high tolerance for a firm ride, but some may not. Now turn on “beast” mode (m1 or m2) by programming them to either Sport or Sport+, and the car simply transforms into something else. The throttle response, suspension damping, gear shifts, and steering feels a lot sharper, firmer, and more responsive. The weight and size is still noticeable, but the power and dynamic setup make up for it.
Now let’s talk about fuel economy. One does not buy an M car for its efficiency. With that in mind, the car gets a respectable MPG if you drive it conservatively or if your miles are mostly highway. For a near 600hp car, averaging 18-19 is not so bad. Below is a live feed of my fill-ups. Based on those numbers, I don’t drive the car hard enough 🙂 The car is my daily driver, if I actually need to drive. I live and work in the city so the car is more like a weekend commuter (averaging 8,000 miles/yr).
Despite my content for owning this car, there are a few things that BMW can improve. Does the M5 need to be 4300 lb.? Why can’t they use their carbon fibre plastic goodness and sprinkle some around the car. Why can’t I option the car with carbon fibre interior trim? Why can’t the exhaust note sound better and louder when your competitor’s TT V8 can? Why did BMW remove the rear-view mirror built-in compass? Why does the LED headlight seem to have a shorter range before it falls off compared to xenons. These are just a few things that I think about after one year of ownership.
In summary, the F10 M5 is a super sedan that anyone can live with on a day-to-day basis. It can be your primary daily driver and also your weekend track monster.
Currently the car is stock competition package. The only modification has been for protection where I installed a full front 3M clear bra. This includes full hood, front fenders, bumper, headlights, and side mirrors.
Future mods planned include 3M crystalline window film, carbon fibre interior trim, and possibly IND gloss black kidney grills and side vents.