Fast is usually never fast enough, as these two uprated sports models bear testimony
ON paper, the BMW M5 Competition Package has 15 horses more than the standard M5, or in dollar terms, about $1,000 per hp. But that is too simplistic a comparison.
The Competition Package is a track-focused option that upgrades the power and handling of a standard M5. In standard trim, the M5 from BMW's motorsport division has a 4.4-litre turbocharged V8 with 560 hp and 680 Newton-metres of torque. On the BMW M5 Competition Package, the power is raised to 575 hp and the extensive dynamic mods include chassis fine-tuning. The suspension of the M5 Comp Pack is 10 mm lower and the stabiliser bars stiffened.
And in M Dynamic mode, which reduces the Dynamic Stability Control system's intervention, it offers even sportier handling characteristics.
With these engine and chassis changes, the M5 Comp cuts the zero to 100 kmh sprint by 0.1 second to 4.2 seconds, while zero to 200 kmh gets 0.2 second shaved off.
But this is only half the story. The M5 Competition Package feels like a different car. While the standard M5 can feel heavy and occasionally bulky, the M5 Comp seems lighter and more agile - even though the kerb weight is unchanged at 1,870 kg.
Part of the reason is that the steering is sharper with a tightened steering ratio. It is more well-weighted and with the increased sensitivity comes increased precision.
It is superb in Comfort and Sport modes and of course, heavier in Sport Plus, which is welcome when going faster on the expressway or the circuit.
The M5 Comp also gets a new steering wheel with three slim spokes and a smaller boss, just like the one found in the new M6.
Also new is the iDrive knob which gets the latest Touch Controller with its touch-sensitive surface for tracing out characters when using the navigation system or telephone.
Another small change is the increased volume of the storage compartment under the centre armrest. Otherwise, the M5 cabin is the same, with the lower console featuring individual buttons for tweaking the steering, dampers and engine response. These buttons, together with the one for Drivelogic, are clustered around the stubby electronic gear lever for the crisp seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission.
Connecting the biturbo V8 to the rear wheels, the DCT's Drivelogic offers six shift programs with different shift speeds - three each in manual and automatic. So you can leave it in auto, floor the accelerator and leave the rest of the traffic behind with only the memory of the M5's angry burble. Or you can flick the shift paddles after recalling your preferred driver set-up using one of the two M Drive buttons on the steering wheel.
The M5 Comp can be frighteningly fast. But because it seems so tractable - and with the rear differential, stable too - it can be placed accurately and confidently at high speed. It is so much fun that you wonder why BMW didn't make it this way the first time around.
But perhaps the nicest thing about the M5 Comp is its relatively understated appearance. It could pass for any other 5 Series saloon - unless you notice the flared wheel arches, front fender vents and large twin tailpipes. This faster 5 is so cool.
BMW M5 Competition
Engine 4,395cc V8 turbocharged
Transmission 7-speed double clutch
Max power 575 hp @ 6,000-7,000 rpm
Max torque 680 Nm @ 1,500-5,750 rpm
0-100 kmh 4.2 secs
Top speed 250 kmh
CO2 emissions 232 g/km
Average OMV $105,000
Price $543,800 (with COE)
Distributor Munich Automobiles
Tel 6899 6996