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Vagabond Heart: The BMW M5

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If all that you want in a car is speed and adrenaline pumping drives, then BMW’s motorsport division’s new offering M5 is for you. And it costs just over a crore The new 2013 BMW M5 is in India and there are only 10 of these cars released in this market. Built by the motorsport division of BMW you would like to consider the various reasons for buying the sedan, the cost not being one of them. The car costs over a crore – which means that you probably need to have at least seven zeroes in your bank account on a monthly basis – and yes it is a V8 4.4-litre, twin turbo petrol engine that can ignite the work of 560 draft horses. It will wake up your neighbors, if you don’t mind paying that much to wake them up. Remember that neither would you be buying this car to make your neighbors and friends jealous nor would you want your in-laws to notice that you have arrived in life.

Instead you might want to buy this car to start a secret love affair; make sure the affair is only with the car. Sports drivers recommend the M5 as one of their favourite sports sedans and racing enthusiasts will measure this car more critically. They will compare the M5 to the Audi RS6, Jaguar XFR, Cadillac CTS-V and the Mercedes E63 AMG. But that comparison is perhaps common knowledge among car enthusiasts or easily available on a Google search.   

Before you pick this up in India a valid point to note would be understand how an Indian city would treat this vehicle. If you want a chauffeur to drive this vehicle for you, then please don’t pick it up. If you drive this car we can assure you that you would get all the curious looks from bystanders. Some people will even follow you to steal those spoilers and emblems. The other thing to worry about the most is the traffic around you. Screaming will not help you from saving this car from getting initiated in to city driving, which is the right of passage and a test by receiving an odd scratch or two, which is to be expected in Indian conditions.
 
On a lighter note, there will be occasions when the car startles bystanders at traffic signals even as the engine preps to take off. And get used to a lot of attention while driving this car within the city, for innocent bikers could lose track of what they are riding as they are bound to lose concentration at the sight of this thing that you are driving.
 
Highway Driving
Driving M5 offers a new experience while on a highway. And here, there is no stopping your desire to press the pedal like a child who is hyper when high on sugar. You will take joy in the ‘Launch-control’ system, which works on a manual sports-plus mode (the car has a seven speed automatic dual clutch transmission); the car does take-off, almost literally! After switching off the traction control just press the pedal and the rear wheels will use all their power to thrust the vehicle in to maximum speed. The burning rubber is a sure sign that you have used the launch mode perfectly. The 19-inch alloys complete the car’s racing attire. Be sure to read the instructions on how to use the sports mode, the efficient mode and the sports-plus mode. The car is built on the 5 series platform, but it is as lengthy as the 7 series with a long wheelbase, it is 16 feet in length, 6 feet in width and 4 feet high.

In corners the M5’s intelligent axles make turning at high speeds safe. The ‘Active M-differential’ uses feedback from the vehicle’s dynamic stability control module to allow optimum locking force to each wheel before a wheel breaks free. Simply put, it counteracts the loss of traction since it uses electrics motors and clutches to vary the power between the wheels. It has independent suspensions which are not built for Indian city potholes and road humps. With a ground clearance of 4.6 inches, you should learn to accept simple realities like we come to expect from the booms and busts of stockmarket, the car will always be rubbing itself on road humps across the city.
 
BMW M5 (Pic by Bivash Banerjee)
The projection of the ‘speedometer’ on the windshield allows you to focus on the race track when driving at high speeds (Pics by Bivash Banerjee)


The carbon ceramic brake discs add that additional heat tolerance and can stop the car at very high speeds. We managed to do top speeds of 280 kilometres per hour and burnt 60 litres worth of fuel in two hours. Remember that the M5 will give you only 4.1-5 kilometres to the litre and on acceleration it reaches 0 to 100 in 4.4 seconds, which makes it even more important to know that this is a sports vehicle. Watch the latest Fast and The Furious movie, it has a whole bunch of M5s racing to catch the bad guys. Once you enter the the highway and feel safe at high speeds, you could show off all the features of the vehicle. Here are some of the select features that require a few days of study in your BMW owner’s manual:
  • DVD
  • Navigation/Maps/smartphone interaction
  • Traffic updates
  • BMW connected drive assistance
  • Park assist
  • Cruise control
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Thermal imaging and night vision
  • Lumbar support
Remember when you saw the 80s movie Mad Max; you fell in love with the roar of the V8 engine and the ‘lone road warrior’ character. All you wanted was to experience those speed thrills and adrenalin moments. Some of us also wished that in the end we would all be like a Max Rockatansky, the protagonist in that movie, who lives by scavenging off the land in a decadent future. All that he cares about is the journey in his car. A mythical bond between machine and man is established. Well, your time has come to make this dream come in to the real world. You have to look no further than a BMW showroom.
 
The cool thing about this car is the projection of the ‘speedometer’ on the windshield, which allows you to focus on the race track when driving at high speeds. Its leather interiors make the car cooler than you think. But if you really want to be Mad Max, then you possibly will do away with all these features and limit the car to the engine and the aerodynamic design. If you own this car, long enough, you could do possibly do just that. However, of all the racing DNA vehicles that come to India, the M5 is certainly a motor sport aficionados’ delight. Do respect speed and do take lessons before you go for a spin in the M5. It is, after all, an engineer’s delight.

 
vishal(dot)krishna(at)abp(dot)in
vishalskrishna(at)gmail(dot)com
Twitter: (at)vishalskrishna