2021 BMW M5 is everything we hoped for

At last, the 2021 BMW M5 is here to liven up the party. The new M5 is based on the refreshed design of the seventh-gen 5-Series sedan and will inherit the xDrive all-wheel drivetrain of the outgoing M5. BMW is also debuting the M5 Competition model to send shivers down the spine of Alpina's newest B5 sedan.

When talking about an M5, it's best to start with the engine. True to form, the new M5 is powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine with direct injection, unique cross-bank exhaust manifolds, and upgraded cooling. It churns out 600 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which is available from 1,800 to 5,690 rpm.

If you think that's cool, wait until you hear about the M5 Competition. It has a retuned 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 with 617 horsepower and a wider torque band. Apparently, the engine churns out the same 553 pound-feet of torque, but it does so from 1,800 to 5,860 rpm.

The 'standard' M5 accelerates to 60 mph in 3.2-seconds while the M5 competition model takes 3.1-seconds. Both variants have a top speed of 155 mph, but you can raise it to 190 mph by choosing the optional M Driver's package.

Admittedly, the Alpina B5 has more power and torque than a standard M5, but the M5 Competition has four more horsepower to even the score. Both engine variants are connected to an 8-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission with three shift modes: Efficiency, Sport, and Track. Power is routed to all four wheels courtesy of BMW's M xDrive all-wheel-drive system with an Active M Differential. This means torque vectoring between the left and right rear wheels to offer better handling and stability.

Outside, the 2021 BMW M5 follows the updated design theme of the new 5-Series. It has a larger kidney grille with M-specific double bars rendered in a glossy black finish. The M5 also receives a resculpted front bumper with larger air inlets and adaptive air ducting to improve aerodynamics and overall efficiency. You'll also find slimmer headlights, a new rear bumper and diffuser, and revised L-shaped taillights.

The new M5's muscular appearance is made bolder with new 19-inch bi-color alloy rollers wrapped in low-profile performance tires. Meanwhile, the M5 competition makes do with larger 20-inch forged alloy wheels. The anchors are provided by six-piston blue brake calipers with M compound brakes and vented discs. BMW's excellent M carbon-ceramic brakes are optional across the board.

Make no mistake, the new BMW M5 is a serious performance contender. But then again, it remains a luxury car to the core. The interior is blessed with a pair of larger 12.3-inch displays for the instrument and center console running the latest version of BMW's iDrive7.

It also has standard wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and BMW's Personal Intelligent Assistant. The seats are wrapped in premium Merino leather (available in three colors) while the headliner is covered in Alcantara.

Additional standard equipment includes interior ambient lighting, a subtle rear spoiler, remote engine start, a rearview camera, 4-zone climate control, wireless charging, and Wi-Fi hotspot.

The new BMW M5 is also equipped with advanced driver assistance systems including lane departure warning with steering correction, frontal collision and pedestrian warning, blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high beams, and a rear collision preparation system. Also standard is BMW Maps which calculates your routes based on real-time traffic data.

The 2021 BMW M5 has a base price of $104,495 (inclusive of $995 destination charges) while the M5 Competition is at $112,095. The first deliveries are expected to arrive after the global launch this August.