The first of the highly anticipated blue-blooded mid-sized sports sedans from Germany hitting roads is the Gen VI 2018 BMW M5. Since launch of the first generation in 1984, the M5 has been engineered to be a rear wheel drive Autobahn bruiser, but not anymore.
The incoming model brings in a few changes which the creators feel not only keep up with the ethos of the performance ‘M’ badge but also aspire to remain in tune with current performance and efficiency demands besides meeting legislative and environmental parameters.
Each generation of the M5 has seen bump in power output and the incoming model is no exception despite stricter environmental norms. As a result, downsizing displacement and the pursuit of acceptable CO2 numbers mean lesser cylinders these days.
Thanks to the latest version of BMW’s lightweight and compact 4.4-litre V8 twin turbo engine now offers 600 hp and 750Nm torque which is available from 1,800rpm through to 5,600rpm. The car has been designed to offer supercar performance in a street legal sedan with a 0-96km/h sprint time of just 3.2 seconds!
The car’s new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic offers extremely fast shift times and optimises change points to deliver the best performance. A higher final drive ratio also helps reduced fuel consumption.
The set-up allows drivers to choose fully automatic shifting in “D” mode and sequential switching of gears in “S” mode. This is possible both with the new short gear selection switch on the centre console as well as via M-shift paddles on the steering wheel.
And for the first time, the M5 is being offered with xDrive all-wheel-drive (AWD) configuration. BMW’s AWD system is highly flexible as in normal driving conditions it is 80 per cent rear wheel biased in terms of power delivery. It can also sense wheel spins and will act accordingly when it comes to shifting power to ensure there’s no loss of traction power. This operation is done by electronically controlled limited-slip differential.
With the all wheel drive set up, driver can choose from five different configurations based on combinations of the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) on/off and M xDrive modes (MDM, 4WD, 4WD Sport, 2WD).
When the driver opts and switches to M Dynamic mode (MDM, 4WD Sport), the car instantly becomes sharper and more agile. This is because more torque is fed to the rear axle and the rear wheels give more wheel slippage which in turn permits controlled drifts and playful handling, but with controlled oversteer. Meanwhile, the pure rear-wheel-drive 2WD mode is designed for track use by experienced drivers and is dedicated entirely to pure driving pleasure without restrictive control systems especially DSC intervention.
Complementing the powertrain set-up is an agile chassis which engineers designed and tested on the in-house race track in Miramas in France, as well at the world’s toughest test track – the famous Nordschleife loop of Nürburgring track in Germany. Keeping the car planted on the road are the 275/40 R 19 tyres up front and 285/40 R 19 at the rear. BMW claims the tyres have been specially homologated for this vehicle.
As a road-going car, comfort features include the speed sensitive electromechanical steering system which provides the right steering torque for every driving situation. The car boasts incredible turn-in, coupled to excellent steering feedback, yet in city and short-distance traffic it adapts to offer low steering forces during manoeuvring and parking.
The first 400 units to be released for sale are designated as First Editions with unique exterior paintwork and interior trim colours.
INFINITI Engineering Academy – Sifting for future tech leaders
Amidst the hustle and bustle of a Formula One weekend, there is a quiet revolution taking place. While most team bosses are scouting out and testing new driver talent, the folks at Renault F1 are taking their partnership with related luxury brand and title sponsor INFINITI to a new level by building on their multi-year effort to scout engineering talent.
And there is no better proof of their commitment to the program than the fact that this multi region competition run under the INFINITI Engineering Academy moniker has resulted in employment contracts to past participants.
The year ending race at Abu Dhabi served as the selection platform for participants from the Middle East region, with ten semi-finalists going into a protracted skills and strategy selection process that resulted in three finalists who were put through another set of skills contests after a session where invited media (including us) put various questions to them, with scoring input that added to the judges scores.
After this session, the three finalists moved on to the final challenge, which involved assembling a four-cylinder bank header with the series of pipes and splitter of the exhaust assembly. It was here that the region’s winner Fahim Choudhary won his opportunity to join the winners from the six other regions to participate in a year long internship program with the two companies in the United Kingdom, complete with a good salary, company car, travel and accommodation – six months with Renault Formula One’s facilities and a further six months at INFINITI’s European Technical Centre at Cranfield.
Fahim is a student with Lancaster University in Dubai.
Tommaso Volpe, Director, INFINITI Global Motorsport and Performance Projects, said: “The INFINITI Engineering Academy has grown every year, and now in our fifth year, competition for our limited number of slots is intense. Our partners at Renault Sport Formula One™ Team and Harvard University have helped us select the brightest engineering students from around the globe who will contribute to the future of the sport and the automotive industry.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing, also commented: “Attracting top new talent is crucial for success in Formula One™, so we want to make sure that together with INFINITI we select the best engineers to work for this programme. Each one of these young engineers brings fresh perspectives and new ideas to the race team, which are vital.”
Interestingly, this year’s edition of the program saw Harvard University involved with Dr. Julia Minson, an expert in decision science, involved in the process. Dr. Minson is working with the INFINITI Engineering Academy to conduct ground-breaking research into decision making in engineering, and how the very best engineers perform under pressure to make decisions when faced with vast amounts of complex data. The learnings from the research will then be incorporated by both the INFINITI engineering and motorsport teams to optimize their decision-making processes.