BMW F90 M5 Buyers Guide

The all-new F90 generation BMW M5 was introduced in 2018, marking the beginning of a new era for the M5 series. It replaced the F10 M5, which had been in production since 2011. The M5 stands as a top of line for-performance sedans, blending the comfort and sophistication expected from BMW's 5-Series with the heart and soul of a sports car.

This new model signifies a significant evolution, incorporating advanced technology and design to exceed the expectations of even the most discerning drivers. The challenge of creating an M5  model is always not an easy task, as each generation must surpass its predecessor in performance and innovation.

At the core of the 2018 M5 is a powerful 4.4-liter V8 Twin Turbo engine, delivering 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Combined with an eight-speed M Steptronic transmission and the new M xDrive all-wheel-drive system, it achieves 0-60 mph in just 3.2 seconds.

This powertrain not only sets new benchmarks for acceleration but also offers a dynamic driving experience with customizable modes that adjust power distribution, steering, and suspension settings to the driver's preference.

The exterior of the new M5 strikes a balance between aggression and subtlety, blending both elements in a way that might leave some observers unaware of its true identity as an M5. For those that know, you will be able to tell from its wider stance, distinctive M-specific elements such as the kidney grille, side vents, mirror caps, and the quad-exhaust system that hints at the power within.

The sedan's aerodynamic lines and sculpted surfaces not only enhance its visual appeal but also improve performance, reducing drag and increasing downforce for better stability at high speeds.

Inside the M5 offers a driver-centric environment that smoothly combines premium materials with M-specific enhancements, including sumptuous Merino leather sport seats, an M Sport steering wheel, and a bespoke instrument cluster that underscores the vehicle's performance-oriented ethos.

Occupants are treated with a host of features, from an advanced infotainment system to comprehensive driver assistance technologies and customizable ambient lighting, all designed to provide an unrivaled level of comfort and connectivity.

The all-wheel-drive system on the M5 can be switched between three driving modes: 4WD, 4WD Sport, and 2WD. In addition, it also comes with a few drive modes that can be selected depending on how you want to drive the M5.

These modes allow the driver to tailor the vehicle's performance characteristics to suit their driving style or the demands of the road. At the heart of this system are the M1 and M2 buttons on the steering wheel, which can be programmed with preferred settings for engine response, suspension stiffness, steering feedback, and the xDrive system's behavior.

The M5's drive modes include the default Comfort setting, which optimizes the sedan for everyday driving by softening the suspension and moderating the engine's power delivery. Sport mode sharpens the vehicle's dynamics, enhancing throttle response, tightening the suspension, and offering more direct steering feedback.

For those seeking the ultimate driving experience, the Sport Plus mode further intensifies the car's performance attributes and adjusts the all-wheel-drive system for more rear-biased power distribution, making it ideal for track days or spirited driving on winding roads.

Some of the competitors to the M5 over the years include the Mercedes-AMG E63, Audi RS7, Porsche Panamera Turbo, and the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing.

The BMW M5 is one of the original and staple when it comes to high-performance sedans, and the new F90 M5 is no slouch.

Model Changes (Breakdown by Year)

2018 BMW M5

The 2018 model is the first full year of production for the M5, which replaced the F10 M5.

Featuring a 4.4-liter V8 Twin Turbo engine that produces 600 hp.

The starting price for the BMW M5 was $104,000.

2019 BMW M5

In a move to keep the F90 M5 fresh and appealing, BMW introduced a range of new exterior colors along with minor updates to the optional equipment packages for 2019. These tweaks not only offered customers a wider array of customization options but also ensured that the M5 remained at the top of luxury and performance sedan offerings.

Simultaneously, the infotainment system received a significant boost with the integration of BMW's latest iDrive software update. This enhancement not only improved the system's user interface but also introduced new features and functionalities, making the in-car experience more intuitive and connected.

 The starting price for the 2019 BMW M5 was the same as the previous year.

2020 BMW M5

In 2020, BMW introduced the M5 Competition variant, raising the stakes in the high-performance sedan segment. This variant elevates the M5's capabilities with an increased engine output to 617 hp, including a more aggressive suspension setup designed to enhance driving dynamics and track performance.

The M5 Competition distinguishes itself not only through mechanical upgrades but also with unique styling cues that emphasize its more assertive character. Features such as black exterior trim, a specific M Sport exhaust system that produces a more visceral sound, and exclusive wheel designs set it apart, making it instantly recognizable to enthusiasts.

The starting price for the M5 Competition was $110,000 ($6,000 more than the standard M5).

Additionally, BMW unveiled the limited edition M5 Edition 35 Years, joining the lineup as a tribute to the M5's legacy. This special edition is based on the M5 Competition and is presented in an exclusive Frozen Dark Grey II exterior color, exuding a sense of exclusivity and prestige.

 The interior is equally bespoke, with luxurious black leather upholstery accented by beige contrast stitching, 20-inch alloy wheels finished in a striking Graphite Grey, gloss black brake calipers, and gold anodized carbon fiber trim adding a touch of elegance.

Photo by Bring a Trailer

The Edition 35 is not just about looks; it comes standard with the Executive package and M Driver's package, the latter raising the speed limiter to an impressive 189 mph from the standard 155 mph. With only 35 units allocated for the U.S. market out of a global production of 350 examples, it represents a rare opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts to own a piece of BMW's storied performance heritage.

The starting price for the M5 Edition 35 Years started at $129,000 ($19,000 more than the M5 Competition).

Alongside these upgrades and special editions, BMW has continuously improved the M5 range's technology and safety features. The introduction of new driver assistance features and an updated infotainment system across the M5 range ensures that drivers enjoy not only exhilarating performance but also an unmatched level of comfort, connectivity, and safety.

2021 BMW M5

In 2021, the BMW M5 lineup underwent a significant mid-cycle refresh, introducing a series of updates aimed at enhancing its aesthetic appeal and technological edge. The exterior received a comprehensive makeover, characterized by a more prominent grille that aligns with BMW's current design language, alongside new headlight and taillight designs that offer a more modern and aggressive look.

The refresh also included revised front and rear bumpers, further emphasizing the sedan's dynamic stance and performance capabilities.

Inside the interior, there are upgrades aimed at improving the overall in-car experience. Central to these enhancements is the introduction of a larger 12.3-inch central infotainment display, offering improved graphics, a more user-friendly interface, and seamless integration with mobile devices.

The refresh extends to the materials used throughout the interior, with higher-quality finishes and soft-touch surfaces.

In addition, there were multiple new paint choices, allowing for the standard brake calipers to be available in either high-gloss black or red finishes. The Competition model received an update with a new full Merino leather color option, an additional Track drive mode, and upgraded shock absorbers.

These new dampers are enhanced by a recalibrated control system, which, according to BMW, is designed to elevate ride comfort, particularly during high-speed driving.

The starting price for the BMW M5 was $105,000 and M5 Competition started at $112,000.

2022 BMW M5

For 2022, BMW has further cemented the M5's legendary status with the release of special editions, notably the M5 CS (Club Sport). This exclusive variant stands out with its reduced weight and increased power output, producing an impressive 627 hp.

The CS variant enjoys a range of weight-reduction strategies, making it 230 pounds lighter than the M5 Competition, according to BMW. This reduction makes it the fastest and most potent production car ever produced by the company.

Distinctive elements of the CS include its lightweight M carbon-fiber front seats with significant bolstering for enhanced support and the inclusion of two rear bucket seats, emphasizing its performance-oriented design.

The CS features striking bronze-colored 20-inch wheels, and customers have the option to equip their vehicle with Pirelli P Zero Corsa performance tires at no additional expense.

The starting price for the M5 CS was $143,000, making it $30,000 more than the regular competition model.

2023 BMW M5

While the highly sought-after, limited-production 627-hp BMW M5 CS is no longer available, the 2023 M5 model comes with subtle equipment changes to its lineup. In a notable shift from previous years, BMW has transitioned the M5 Competition from a standalone model to an optional equipment package, allowing for greater customization.

Additionally, two new exterior paint options, San Remo Green metallic and Skyscraper Grey metallic, have been introduced, expanding the palette of choices for new buyers.

However, this update comes with the discontinuation of several colors including Brand's Hatch Grey metallic, Snapper Rocks Blue metallic, Motegi Red metallic, Donington Grey metallic, Bluestone metallic, and Frozen Bluestone metallic, marking a significant update in the M5's visual offerings.

On the interior front, BMW has updated the M5's luxury offerings with the addition of Individual Smoke White/Black Full Merino leather and Tartufo Full Merino leather options, enhancing the cabin's premium feel and appearance. These new leather options provide customers with more avenues to personalize their M5 to their taste.

However, amidst these additions, BMW has made the decision to remove the optional Bowers & Wilkins Diamond Surround Sound System from the list of available features. This change reflects a shift in the brand's strategy towards interior options, balancing new introductions with the phasing out of certain amenities to refresh the M5's appeal and ensure it continues to meet the evolving preferences of its clientele.

The starting price for the 2023 BMW M5 was $111,000 and M5 Competition started at $117,000.

BMW F90 M5 Common Problems

The BMW M5 is celebrated for its blend of high performance and luxury, but like any vehicle, it has its share of common problems that potential buyers and current owners should be mindful of.

It is important to remember that it is essential to perform a Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) from an authorized dealer or experienced independent mechanic to reveal all issues before you purchase your vehicle.

Electronics and Infotainment System Glitches: The BMW M5 occasionally encounters glitches within its electronics and infotainment system, affecting navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and the digital instrument cluster, which can disrupt the user experience.

Oil Leakage: Some F90 M5 models are prone to oil leaks, primarily around the oil cooler or engine gaskets, highlighting the need for regular monitoring and early detection to prevent significant damage.

Transmission Issues: The 8-speed M Steptronic transmission in the M5 may experience rough shifts or hesitancy, especially in lower gears or during downshifts, with BMW addressing these concerns through software updates and adjustments.

Suspension Noises: Owners have reported hearing creaks or clunks from the suspension system, particularly in higher mileage vehicles or those driven on uneven roads, necessitating routine inspections to identify and rectify any issues.

High Tire Wear: The high-performance nature of the F90 M5 can lead to accelerated tire wear, especially with aggressive driving or when using tires not optimally suited to the vehicle's dynamics and power output.

Exhaust Flap Malfunctions: Issues with the electronically controlled exhaust flaps can result in an inconsistent exhaust note or error message, though these are typically fixable through dealer service.

Battery Drain Issues: Reports of battery drain in some vehicles have been linked to the electrical system's software not fully shutting down post-engine off, pointing to the intricacies of modern automotive electronic systems.

Recalls

2018-2020 BMW M5 vehicles

Backover prevention: sensing system: camera (Recall no. 19V684000)


The back-up camera and display settings can be adjusted such that the rear view image is no longer visible and the system will retain that setting the next time the vehicle is placed in reverse. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 111, "Rearview Mirrors."

2018 BMW M5 vehicles

Fuel system, gasoline: Storage: Tank assembly (Recall no. 18V473000)


The fuel level sensor in the fuel tank may become stuck against an in-tank fuel line, causing the fuel gauge to display an inaccurate and possibly larger amount of fuel than is actually available.

2018 BMW M5 vehicles

Fuel system, gasoline: Delivery: Fuel pump (Recall no. 18V323000)


In certain driving conditions, the engine control unit software may cause the fuel pump to stop.

2019-2020 M5 vehicles

Power train: Automatic transmission (Recall no. 19V883000)


The transmission wiring harness can become damaged, resulting in an electrical short circuit.

2019 BMW M5 vehicles

Fuel system, other: Delivery: Fuel pump (Recall no. 19V513000)


The high-pressure fuel pump may not have been properly attached to the engine, which may cause the fuel pump flange to crack, resulting in a fuel leak.

2020-2021 BMW M5 vehicles

Backover prevention: sensing system: camera (Recall no. 20V598000)

A small portion of the rearview image may be slightly obscured. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard number 111, "Rear Visibility."

Maintenance and Ownership Costs

Compared to other high-performance luxury sedans, owning a BMW F90 M5 is considered to have relatively low maintenance requirements.

However, it is important to remember that regular maintenance and repairs will still be necessary, and the costs can vary depending on whether you take your car to a dealer or an independent mechanic.

Here are the suggested service schedule and intervals per BMW:

1 YEAR OR 10,000 MILES

  • Replace engine oil and oil filter
  • Replace coolant
  • Comprehensive vehicle inspection according to BMW standards

2 YEARS OR 20,000 MILES

  • Inspect and replace fuel filters as needed

3 YEARS OR 30,000 MILES

  • Replace brake fluid (Note: After the first replacement, every 60,000 miles thereafter)
  • Comprehensive vehicle inspection and necessary adjustments

6 YEARS OR 60,000 MILES

  • Replace engine air filter and spark plugs
  • Inspect and replace brake pads and brake rotors, as necessary
  • Replace transmission fluid for automatic transmission models
  • Comprehensive vehicle inspection and necessary adjustments

9 YEARS OR 90,000 MILES

  • Replace timing belts and hoses
  • Comprehensive vehicle inspection and necessary adjustments

Here is a rough estimate of typical service costs associated with the BMW:

Oil Change - As low as $225 for independent mechanics and $300 for dealers.

Minor Service - Typically includes oil change, cabin filters, and engine filters. The cost from a dealer is around $1,500

Major Service - Typically includes all the above plus spark plugs, brake flush, and trans flush, expect about $2,500 from a dealer.

Tires - A set of high-performance tires like Michelin PS4 will cost about $2,000.

Brakes - M5s that are optioned with carbon ceramic which should last forever. Aftermarket brake pads that are OE equivalent will cost about $800 for a full set. Steel breaks would cost about $6,000 to replace.

Options List

The BMW M5 comes with a list of options to choose from.

The Executive Package is a popular choice for the M5, often recommended for its comfort and convenience. This package includes soft-close doors, power rear sunshade and manual side window shades to reduce cabin heat, ventilated front seats, active park distance control, and surround-view cameras with 3D view to aid parking.

Additional features include a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, Icon Adaptive LED headlights with Laserlight for better visibility, and wireless charging, WiFi hotspot, and enhanced USB & Bluetooth for seamless connectivity and charging. These enhancements contribute significantly to the luxury and functionality of the vehicle, making it a favorite among M5 owners.

Other notable options for the F90 M5 include the Driving Assistance Plus Package, offering drivers a suite of advanced aids to enhance safety and convenience on the road. This safety feature includes adaptive cruise control, which automatically adjusts the vehicle's speed to maintain a safe distance from the car ahead.

Lane-keeping assistance helps keep the vehicle centered in its lane, while cross-traffic alert warns of approaching vehicles from the side, enhancing overall driving safety and convenience.

For those seeking unmatched braking performance, the M Carbon Ceramic Brakes option is a must-have, offering superior stopping power ideal for track days or spirited driving, ensuring the M5 stops as impressively as it goes.

For enthusiasts looking to push the M5 to its limits, the M Driver’s Package is an attractive option, increasing the top speed limit and including a voucher for a high-performance driving school (when purchased brand new by its 1st owner), allowing owners to fully exploit the M5's capabilities in a controlled environment.

The addition of Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection further enhances the vehicle's usability in low-light conditions, improving nighttime visibility and safety by identifying pedestrians that might be otherwise obscured from view.

In addition, the interior can be optioned with Full Merino Leather, covering the seats, dashboard, and door panels with high-quality leather for a sumptuous interior atmosphere.

Externally, the 20" M Alloy Wheels add a touch of personalization and improved aesthetics with various styles, complementing the dynamic lines of the M5.

For added comfort during colder months, a heated steering wheel provides a warm touch, enhancing driver comfort. Lastly, the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility ensures seamless smartphone integration, keeping drivers connected with ease.

On the other hand, the BMW Individual program takes customization to the highest level, providing an expansive array of personalization choices that stretch the boundaries of what's possible. This program is akin to having a blank canvas where almost any vision of personal taste can be brought to life.

It offers an extensive selection of paints, fabrics, leathers, and other materials, enabling customers to create a truly bespoke BMW that reflects their individual style and preferences to the finest detail.

Because of the strict approval requirements, cars that went through the BMW Individual program are considered highly desirable. These cars usually command a higher premium in the market due to their exclusivity and uniqueness.

Key Options

  • Executive Package
  • Driving Assistance Plus Package
  • M Carbon Ceramic Brakes 
  • M Driver’s Package
  • Full Merino Leather
  • Upgraded wheels
  • BMW Individual exterior or interior

2018 BMW M5 options list

2022 BMW M5 CS options list

BMW F90 M5 Price and Values (M5 CS)

The Best BMW F90 M5 To Buy

When it comes to buying a M5, there are a few key factors to consider that can affect the car's long-term value.

For M5s that will most likely appreciate in value will be the performance variants such as the M5 CS and the M5 Edition 35 Years, because it was only made for 1 year and not many of them are around, they are more sought after and will be a future collector vehicle.

On the other hand, the M5 Competition stands out as a highly desirable variant, offering a compelling alternative with its increased horsepower over the standard M5 and a stiffer suspension setup, enhancing the driving experience for those seeking more spirited performance.

In terms of market stability, your best choice would be a 2018-2022 BMW M5 (Competition included).

The 2018-2021 M5 offers lots of cutting-edge technology, thrilling performance capabilities, and luxurious amenities, making it a standout choice in the high-performance sedan segment. With its powerful engine and advanced all-wheel-drive system, it provides a blend of speed, comfort, and sophistication, setting a high standard for what a sports sedan can achieve.

However, on the other hand, all F90 M5s will remain a strong purchase simply because as hybrid technology becomes more widespread among cars, internal combustion V8s are becoming highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts in the current market.

In addition to limited edition models, the condition and mileage of the car are also important factors to consider when buying an M5. There are many that have been driven hard and have been highly modified. But the ones that are more likely to retain their value in the long run and will fetch the most money will be a well-maintained car with low mileage.

Therefore, it's important to do your research, compare prices, and look for well-maintained cars if you are considering purchasing a Huracan with the goal of not losing any money.

Conclusion

In conclusion, for around ($60,000+) the BMW M5 is a great first luxury car hack that you can drive without losing money.

While competitors like the Mercedes-AMG E63, Audi RS7, Porsche Panamera Turbo, and Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing make their mark in the market, the BMW M5 holds the distinction of being the longest-standing car in this segment for good reason.

As a testament to its appeal and consistently innovative updates, the M5 continues to set benchmarks for performance, luxury, and technological advancement, firmly establishing its legacy and appeal among driving enthusiasts.

If you're in the market for a high-performance sedan, the M5 is a top choice that you won't regret.

Car Hacking Shortcuts

  • Special editions like the M5 CS, M5 Edition 35 Years, and M5 Competition are desirable and will be future collectibles. 

  • Executive Package optionis desirable. 

  • 2018-2021 BMW M5s are a great hack.

  • Look for well-maintained, low-mile M5.


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