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  1. #1
    Mr. Mr.
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    Question re: M5 vs. 550i around town

    I just had the pleasure of driving an E60 M5 today. I very much enjoyed the ride and overall feel of the car, but I now understand the hangup about the SMG. Oddly enough the delay in auto mode around town didn't bother me that much, what was more frustrating is the delay between shifts at highway speeds. Granted I am green as they come when using SMG, but the shift from i.e. 3rd to 4th @ 6500 rpms on the highway without lifting resulted in a serious delay between gears and I was in M mode. I thought the fastest shifts would be hard enough to chirp the tires? So my question is, has anyone driven the 550i and the M5? Does the 550i feel like it has more grunt than the M5 around town at sub 5000 rpm engine speeds? I want a car that will squirt around town 0-70, but I would never go AMG. I drive fast and I love M cars, but I was honestly a little dissapointed with the M5's power delivery. I'm convinced I was unable to fully experience the car due to my limited exposure to SMG. I am taking the 550 out this weekend for a comparison. Any thoughts are welcome.

    DRP


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    Re: Question re: M5 vs. 550i around town

    Down low, the M5 doesn't have a lot of torque and also the torque throughout the rev range is very flat so you don't get the feeling of accelerating fast...But if you look down at the speedo, you'll see that the car is really moving.Around town and under 70 mph, the 550i is a great car...lots of torque and it really moves pretty good. It also can be had with a full torque converter automatic which is so much smoother than SMG.

    As for the M button...that button can be programmed to switch to any shifting setting, and so it might have been set to S2 instead of S5 for instance. This will definitely make a difference in how the car shifts. Also BMW seems to have toned down the shifts to be smoother. On my M3 with SMG, S5 and S6 will snap your neck back as it shifts...it's very brutal.

    The M5 is also coming out with a regular 6-speed manual next year, so if you want to wait and like 6 speed manuals....the M5 should be quite nice.

  3. #3
    Mr. Mr.
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    Thanks JIO - I guess my question is summed up as

    follows:

    Do you need to redline the M5 to get above average performance? When I drove the M5 I noticed that I was doing 90 already before I even tried to set it up for an open launch down the freeway! I think there is a good analogy here using BMW motorcycles. I had a BMW K1200RS which had massive torque from 2500 rpms through to the 8000 rpm redline. You literally had to be sure you had a good hold on the grips when you opened the throttle or you could fall off. I sold the K1200RS last year and bought a K1200S. The new bike is lighter and generates about 10 more ft./lb. of torque, but at a much higher rpm. Peak on the old bike was 5000 rpms, and on the new bike its 7250. And the new bike makes another 35 horsepower at 11,000 rpms. So lets call the old bike a 550 and the new bike an M5. The new bike is scarry fast, but you have to have some serious road in front of you to wind out the rpms and let the power out. The old bike could offer you a 5 second blast of torque from 3 to 6k rpms as you passed a car. The new bike isn't as gratifying in that situation. Do you think the same is true of the M5 vs. the 550? BTW I miss my old bike. I'd hate to miss my current car after shelling out $90k. I wish they sold the Alpina B5 here. My dealer has taken an order for the B7 @ $130,000.00!

    Thanks for the response.

    DRP

  4. #4
    ///Michael
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    Re: Question re: M5 vs. 550i around town


    I've driven both and you needn't worry; the M5 is plenty fast in everday driving, without using all of the rev range. Consider the following:

    The M5 has 383 lb-ft of torque. Although the peak is up high, 85% or more is available just about everywhere on the tach.

    The 550 has about 360 lb-ft of torque. The peak is lower but, like the V-10, a fat chunk is available nearly everywhere along the rev range.

    At all or nearly all points on the tach below 6k, the M5 is generating at least slightly more torque than the 550. Above approx. 6000 rpm, the 550 begins to fall off where the V-10 remains strong.

    The M5 is a little heavier, but has an extra cog in the gearbox to help make up for it.

    The V-10 may not feel as torquey as the V-8 because its peak is higher and because its torque output is far outstripped by its peak bhp. But the V-10 will be faster under just about any circumstance, because at all (or nearly all) points its generating more torque.

    Much like the S52 vs. S54 debate five years ago when I was considering either a 2000 or a 2001 M Roadster. The S52 developed 240 bhp at 6,000, and 236 lb-ft at 3800. The S54 puts out 315 bhp at 7400, and 251 lb-ft at 4900. The S52, despite less power and torque, felt quicker by the seat of the pants - at least at low speeds. But the S54 actually develops more power everywhere across the rev range, and is a much faster car.

    In sum, I found the M5 to be a technical masterpiece, in many different ways. I did not expect to fall in love with it, since I think it looks rather odd and I do not like the iDrive. But once I spent a little time exploring its capabilities, I couldn't help but conclude this is the finest sedan on the planet. I am eagerly awaiting my order, to arrive in late May.

    Michael
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  5. #5
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    Re: Thanks JIO - I guess my question is summed up as

    MR. MR. Your bike anology is correct. That said, the feel of the car, the handling, the materials, the seats, and the comfort are all superior to the 550, therefore, you may not want that car either.

  6. #6
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    Re: Question re: M5 vs. 550i around town

    I owned a 545 for 2 years, and have driven my M5 for 6 months, and over 17,000 miles. I can tell you there is just no comparison between the two cars. The M5, when you really get to know it, which takes about 3 months, is stunning. Possibly the best automobile on the planet when you consider it is a 5 person luxury sedan.

    As far as achieving performance that is clearly superior to the 550, you don't need to redline, but you do need to run over 4,000 rpm's. Once you've become comfortable with the car, you'll find yourself blipping through the gears with the SMG all the time just to hear the engine. For short highway runs, I rarely use 7th gear, and drive in 4th or 5th mostly. In either of these gears, the acceleration from 60 mph is clearly superior to the 545. The thing that struck me vs the 545 when I accelerated, was how far away people were when I looked into the rear view mirror.

    If you really want a neck snapping, tire screeching experience, you turn off DSC, and set shift speed to S6 (can all be preset in the M button, then downshift into 3rd gear at 70-80 mph, and floor it. You'll need to warn your passengers, otherwise they may injure their necks. You can almost get a tire chirp with the shift into 4th at 100 mph. The fastest shift speed S6 under full throttle is quicker, more brutal, and more efficient at transferring power to the ground than any human being could duplicate with a true manual tranny. It sounds like you just didn't get the right settings for your test.

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