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Dr Jekyll meets Mr Hyde

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07.12.2017

The new BMW M5 is a truly schizophrenic car. In a nice way. After all, with 600 horsepower, who wouldn’t be crazy?

Muhammad Ali once famously said that he would “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Unfortunately, on a cold morning around the Estoril racetrack, outside Lisbon, Portugal, I got stung first. The latest iteration of BMW’s super sedan, the M5, is a vehicle that makes the term “wolf in sheep’s clothing” a truism. It is a direct product of the horsepower wars between the German car giants, and even though the previous afternoon we had driven the other bookend to BMW’s performance car lineup, the electric i3s, which are a vision of the future, the new M5, based on the latest G30 generation of the 5-series, is a vision of the present. Packed with 600 horsepower, seriously, absorb that number for a second, six hundred horsepower. I have driven very fast and very powerful cars, but never something so brutal, yet so comfortable.

Around Estoril, one of the classic racetracks in the world, the M5 was brutal. The new car has so much power that BMW’s mad engineers in the ‘M’ division finally relented and made the M5 an all-wheel drive car. However, there exist two “MDM” switches on the steering wheel, which stand for “M Driving Mode.” The first MDM1 makes the car sporty by making everything just that little sharper but retains the four-wheel drive aspect. The second mode, MDM2, should be called the “MAD” switch, as it limits traction control and makes the M5 a primarily rear-wheel drive car. To ensure that you do not turn it on accidentally, BMW makes you confirm the........

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