BMW M5

    The BMW M5 never seems to run out of breath. But now that images of the 2011 5 Series have surfaced and BMW's Motorsport division currently works with a turbocharged V-8 engine, the almighty V-10 could be shelved by the end of this year. So for those with an affinity for V-10 power trains and a penchant for performance, this is the last call. Until then, here’s a neat trick: Under normal operation, the Formula One–inspired V-10 engine puts out 400 hp; push the “M” button on the steering wheel, however, and output increases to 500 hp. To further differentiate the M5 from the lower rungs on the current 5 Series ladder, BMW also gave it a deeper front fascia, unique 19-inch wheels, and four tailpipes. Moreover, electronic damping control offers sport and comfort modes, and bigger brakes counteract the added power. The interior is distinguished with blue-and-red M badges on the doorsills, gauges, and seats. A 6-speed manual transmission is the purist’s alternative to the car’s balky sequential-manual gearbox, which tends to shift like a 15-year-old student driver at low, around-town speeds. The next M5 will undoubtedly be blessed with BMW's ultrasmooth dual-clutch transmission. Pros: A serious sport sedan. Cons: That balky SMG transmission.

    Photo by Jim Fets
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