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2021 BMW M5 still packs brute force into a very usable package

With 600-plus horsepower, four doors and plenty of room inside for people, BMW's M5 is still a fast car all-star.

The changes for 2021 are evolutionary, but the M5 was already an apex predator.

It would seem as though some of the shine has faded from BMW's legendary M5 as of late. That's not because the car isn't good -- it's spectacular -- but people's tastes have changed, and if it's not an SUV or a stretched-out, low-roofed coupe-like thing, they just aren't buying it.

The move away from sedans hasn't stopped the Bavarians from sharpening their brutal, continent-crushing luxo-missile though, and that makes us happy because the 2021 M5 is still an epic machine that's worth talking about.

The bones of the M5 are largely the same as they were for the 2020 model year. You still get a 600-horsepower twin-turbo V8 (or 617 if you get the Competition trim) along with rear-biased xDrive all-wheel drive. An eight-speed Steptronic automatic transmission is still the only transmission available, which is fine by us.

The M5 Competition gets a couple of changes that should add up to an improved driving experience. Specifically, it gets new shock absorbers, and BMW has also fully recalibrated the adaptive damping system. To go along with that, the M5 Competition also gets a new dedicated Track driving mode.

So, if most of the fancy M stuff hasn't really changed, what has? A few things that should go towards making the M5 more livable on a day-to-day basis for sane people, actually. The infotainment system now has a bigger screen -- 12.3 inches, to be exact -- and it now supports wireless Android Auto in addition to Apple CarPlay. Also notable is the move away from multiple M buttons, and instead using a single button just like on the M8.


One of the biggest changes comes inside with the addition of a 12.3-inch touchscreen.


BMW has adjusted the front and rear styling of the M5 -- and we say "adjusted" because the changes aren't massive -- to make it a little more aggressive, especially on the Competition. Up front, there's a new bumper design and some laser headlights. Out back, there are some new tail lights with black surrounds as well as a new bumper. Lots of gloss-black trim is now standard all over the Competition model as well.

For 2021, the M5 is going to be available in five new colors, including Brands Hatch Grey Metallic, Motegi Red Metallic, Tanzanite Blue II Metallic as well as an individual color called Aventurin Red Metallic and a matte-finish Frozen Bluestone Metallic.

The best news is that these upgrades don't come with a massive price increase. BMW decided to bump the base price of the non-Competition M5 by just $800 to $104,495, including destination. The infotainment screen upgrade alone is likely worth that much.

Also good is that, should you want a new M5, your wait won't be long before you can get one. BMW is planning on having its global market launch in August of 2020. 

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