Powered by the back-to-back International Engine of the Year-winning engine driving through BMW’s unique seven-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox, the new M5 Touring offers a large boot space for owners needing to move sizeable loads quickly.
Powered by the same normally aspirated 5.0-liter V-10 cylinder engine as its Saloon counterpart, the new M5 Touring redlines at 8,250 rpm. 500 bhp and 383 lb-ft of torque propel the car from zero to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds (only 0.1 seconds slower than the Saloon). Without the 155 mph electronic limiter the new M5 Touring would be capable of achieving 200 mph while still transporting the largest of loads.This balance of ultimate practicality and performance is summed up by Lee Connolly, BMW UK’s Product Manager for the new M5 Touring: “The M5 Touring will be the perfect car for delivering supercar owners’ luggage to their holiday homes in France or Spain. Usefully, their luggage will arrive before they do!”
These levels of performance are in part made possible by the world’s first seven-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox with Drivelogic in a production car. The gearbox features eleven different change patterns to offer the driver a personally-tuned driving experience – six settings vary speed and response of gear change in a manual mode and there are five automatic modes. A Launch Control function delivers the fastest possible acceleration from standstill.
Like the Saloon, the new M5 Touring features a three-stage DSC+ traction control system. The default mode offers drivers high levels of performance and stability. M Dynamic Mode allows an enthusiastic driver the ability to push the M5 Touring to, and beyond, the absolute limits of traction, permitting some sideslip and countersteering before the system cuts in and is selected in the M Drive Manager (see below). If the DSC button is pressed, DSC+ is completely disengaged.
BMW M’s variable M differential also offers the highest levels of driving stability and traction, especially when accelerating out of high-speed corners, with up to 100 per cent of drive being transferred to the rear wheel with most traction. Finally, the Electronic Damper Control (EDC) system offers three suspension settings to complement the prevailing driving conditions.
M Drive Manager packages these programmable settings, so that the touch of a single button sets the car up as required. Like a boy visiting his favorite sweet shop, the M5 driver can select his preferred settings for power, gearbox, EDC and DSC modes, Head-up Display and the degree of Active Seat bolster support, via the iDrive menu. One touch of the M Drive button on the steering wheel then selects the desired combination and instantly changes the character of the car. One moment the M5 Touring is a placid and practical family car, the next it’s more akin to a track day special.
BMW fuses wagon utility with unadulterated performance in its 2008 BMW M5 Touring to create a grocery-getter that can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds — fast enough to splatter untethered bags of eggs and cereal against the rear window.
“Touring” is BMW’s global descriptor for its wagons. The same formula BMW used to create the M5 sedan is duplicated on the Touring, only a 5 Series wagon is used in place of the sedan. Unfortunately, U.S. buyers won’t get a chance to experience the M5 Touring because BMW will not likely import its superwagon to U.S. dealers.
There’s little that distinguishes the M5 Touring from the sedan, other than the obvious wagon tail end. The same large front air dam, fender vents, swooping side skirts and quad-tailpipe exhaust subtly hint at the Touring’s performance capabilities.
The M5 Touring can tow up to 3,969 pounds (400 more than BMW’s compact X3 SUV) and seat five passengers. That’s enough pulling power to tow a small camper or a pair of Jet Skis.
The rear seats fold down in a 60/40 split for a cargo capacity of 57.8 cubic feet, which is 40 cubic feet more than the sedan.
Rear occupants will notice the two-piece glass panoramic roof. Both planes of glass tilt into vent mode; only the front glass opens completely.
Under the Hood
The 507-horsepower V-10 remains unchanged from the sedan, producing 383 pounds-feet of torque. Drivers can shift through the gears using steering-wheel paddles or a center-console gear selector.
At each startup, the V-10 is limited to 400 hp until the driver presses a button to unleash the extra 107 hp.
BMW’s Dynamic Stability Control can be fully or partially activated, or completely turned off, for different levels of vehicle control and performance. If the driver feels compelled to let the rear end hang out around a corner, the partially deactivated DSC will let that happen to a point, then step in and make the necessary corrections to keep the car pointed straight.
Despite being clothed in a slightly larger body and carrying added weight, the German carmaker says subtle variations in the wagon’s suspension ensure the M5 Touring is every bit as engaging to drive as its sedan sibling—and just as fast around the Nurburgring. BMW claims 0 to 60 mph in less than 4.8 seconds.
We’d like to be able to verify these claims—and tell you that BMW will finally unleash a wagon version of the M5 in the United States—but alas, BMW North America tells us there are no plans whatsoever to bring the limited-production model Stateside. It’s not the first time the U.S. market has been snubbed: Back in 1992, BMW produced limited numbers of the E34 M5 wagon, but none for the U.S.
Driver and passenger front and side-impact airbags are standard; rear side-impact airbags are optional.
2008 BMW M5 Touring Specifications
Brakes F/R: ABS, vented disc/vented disc
Tires F-R: 255/40 ZR19 – 285/35 ZR19
Driveline: Rear Wheel Drive
Displacement cu in (cc): 301 (4941)
Power bhp (kW) at RPM: 500(373) / 7750
Torque lb-ft (Nm) at RPM: 383(520) / 6100
Redline at RPM: 8250
Length × Width × Height in: n.a.
Weight lb (kg): n.a.
Acceleration 0-62 mph s: 4.8
Top Speed mph (km/h): 155 (250)
Fuel Economy EPA city/highway mpg (l/100 km): n.a.