It has the most powerful engine ever fitted in a series-produced BMW, so it's apt that the fifth-generation M5 is making its New Zealand debut at a racing event.
Although the $229,000 M5 will go on sale on February 10, it will be on show at the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing at Hampton Downs on the weekends of January 20-22 and January 27-29 as part of the BMW exhibition.
BMW NZ's managing director, Mark Gilbert, thinks it's appropriate that the 4.4-litre V8 M5 is launched this year, as 2012 is the 40th anniversary of BMW Motorsport, now known as BMW M.
"BMW M shows the world how versatile and livable a supercar can be. BMW M cars are for those buyers who don't want to make that sacrifice in performance for practicality," he says.
The car comes with M TwinPower Turbo technology - consisting of twin-scroll twin-turbo technology, cross-bank exhaust manifold, high-precision direct petrol Injection and fully variable valve control.
Maximum output for the new engine is 412kW at 6000-7000rpm, with peak torque of 680Nm available between 1500rpm and 5750rpm.
Acceleration from 0-100km/h can be achieved in 4.4 seconds (0-200 km/h takes 13 seconds) and average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is an impressive 9.9 litres per 100km.
Those figures represent a 10 per cent increase in power output and maximum torque is up by more than 30 per cent, but the new BMW M5 burns more than 30 per cent less fuel than its 5-litre V-10 predecessor.
The exceptional efficiency of the new V8 engine is assisted by "efficient dynamics" technology, including auto start-stop function, in conjunction with the standard seven-speed M transmission.
The M5 embodies the vision of a premium upper-mid-range sedan, offering the highest degree of comfort for up to five occupants and enabling the driver to follow the ideal line on the racetrack and in everyday road traffic.
"It offers a unique combination of sports car cockpit and luxurious ambience for the interior, combined with a characteristic body design with familiar M aesthetics reflecting the car's extremely dynamic nature," says Gilbert.
The new model has "M" features - its front apron has extremely large air intakes for the engine and brakes, athletically flared wheel arches to emphasise wide tracks, "gills" with integrated indicator bars, and an aerodynamically optimised rear apron with diffuser between the right- and left-hand pair of twin-exhaust tailpipes.
To bolster the performance of the M5, the driver can use a button on the centre console to adjust the engine's performance characteristics to the demands of the situation and to individual preferences.
Among the chassis systems fitted as standard are Dynamic Damper Control, M-specific Servotronic steering and Dynamic Stability Control.
Like the engine responses and the transmission's shift program, the characteristics of these systems can be adjusted.
This enables the driver to further sharpen the sporting character of the new BMW M5 or give it a more comfort-oriented set-up ideal for relaxed long-distance journeys in the spacious and luxurious surroundings of a top-class premium sedan. Two individually configured set-ups for the car can be called up using the M Drive buttons on the steering wheel.
The vehicle also comes with the BMW navigation system Professional which displays all vehicle and driver information, including 3D map views, on a centrally mounted display.
Also making use of the large screen is the internet, with extended BMW online information and TV function.
The car is fitted with a 650-watt, 16-speaker audio system, while a 12GB hard drive enables music to be saved in the vehicle.