Subtle Speed
    Category: Forbes Life By : Yessar Rosendar Read : 1281 Date : Monday, March 10, 2014 - 05:59:28

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    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    The BMW M5 has long had a reputation as a complete-package car with a dual personality: the comfortable, everyday executive car that doubles as a track racer.  Two years ago, it scrapped the naturally aspirated engine and turned to a turbocharger for the fifth generation M5. Will it be better in terms of performance and a daily drive? To find out, Forbes Indonesia took the executive performance sedan for a spin.

    Launched last November by BMW Indonesia, the model’s facelift features a remodeled kidney grill along with several new features, among them a silver paint with a coating of ultra-thin aluminum flakes that makes a uniform and gleaming surface. Depending on the angle, these flakes create a light-dark contrast and accentuate the lines in the body. It shares many features with a regular 5-Series: a sunroof, a four zone climate control, and an interior design with a 10.2 inch display, controlled via the brand signature iDrive knob on the center console.

    The interior, however, is far more advanced than the ordinary 5-Series. The model we tested features red leather seats and a dashboard that combined aluminum and padding. The seats are electric and freely configured; they could fit the body like a bucket seat. The Harman Kardon sound system is high quality, producing a clear treble and a punchy bass.

    From afar, the exterior more closely resembles an ordinary 5-Series. Up close, the M5 has a front bumper with large air intakes and flared wheel arches (for a wider stance), and a rear bumper with a diffuser between the twin exhaust tailpipes. It also has larger and sportier-looking alloy wheels. When one pushes the engine start button, the engine gives a small rumble and makes a bigger noise when idling. The powerplant of the car is a 4.4 liter V8 twin turbo engine that peaks at 560 horsepower, 83% more powerful than a 535i that has 306 horsepower from a three liter inline six engine, one of the top cars in the 5-series line up. The M5 is also 80% more expensive than the 535i.

    The previous M5 engine for a purist is tough to beat as it had a five-liter V10 engine (the world’s first production sedan to use a V10) that is naturally aspirated and can be revved up to 8,300 rpm. The current engine uses turbocharging technology that makes the engine more efficient and powerful while using less displacement, but that also means the exhaust tone is quieter than the previous engine. The new engine can only rev up to 7,200 rpm, which produces a lower-pitched noise. On paper it surpasses the previous model, since it produces 12% more power with two fewer cylinders (560 hp compared to 500 hp). It is able to sprint from a standstill to 100 kmh in 4.4 seconds, and it optimizes stability with the help of an electronically controlled multi-plate limited-slip differential.

    So is it better on the road? Forbes Indonesia took the car for a drive on the Jagorawi toll road on a quiet Saturday morning. With a stab at the throttle, the car produces a massive thrust that will push you into your seat. In contrast to the previous generation, which had to be revved to 6,000 rpm to get full pulling power, the new engine has a peak torque from as low as 1,500 rpm. This means that the power delivery is more instantaneous, yet handles well, and there is also no turbo lag at various engine speeds. However on a wet road going full throttle will briefly set on the traction control light indication, meaning you must be more careful as it is a rear wheel drive car. Mashing the throttle will get the car to the top speed of 250 km/h (electronically limited) in a couple seconds.