Packing 620whp, this absolutely awesome Individual Imola M5 is a full-on powerhouse… and a sensible daily – our sort of car for sure. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Viktor Benyi.
620WHP F10 M5 Magnificent daily-driven Powerhouse
DAY OF THE RED 620whp Imola red F10 M5
We think about the F10 M5 a lot. A lot. Rarely a day goes by when we’re not thinking about BMW’s mighty M machine because it’s just so utterly awesome. Obviously, it’s not for everyone – and neither are the potential running costs – but if you want a big, comfy, ultra-fast machine that can slip under the radar 99% of the time, you’d have to go an awfully long way to better an BMW F10 M5. We’d say it’s the sort of BM that you grow into over the years as a long-term BMW fan, moving your way up through the classics, maybe some Threes, before taking the plunge on a full-fat M monster but Ravi Dolwani decided to do things a little differently because, you see, this is his first-ever BM and, as you can also see, he’s not one to mess about because this is a serious performance build.
“The interior I kept original besides two of my favourite mods: the BMW electronic steering wheel in Alcantara and the 3D Design billet shift paddles”
Obviously Ravi has enjoyed numerous cars during his 31 years upon this planet so he’s not jumping into the performance deep end without any prior experience but we have a lot of respect for someone who decides that their first Bavarian motoring experience will be behind the wheel of an F10 M5. Then again, if you want someone to experience the best of BMW, few cars do it all as well as this one does. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, though, because we’d like to know what makes Ravi tick when it comes to all things automotive. He kicked off his motoring life with a Fast & Furious-inspired Honda Accord Coupé build, exactly what you’d expect from a young man at that time, but since then Ravi’s tastes have evolved and developed and you’ll find him spending time in some rather more exciting machinery. “I’ve always been a fan of BMWs, but more so Porsches and I own a 996 Turbo,” he says, which is very nice but the F10 M5 is quite a different machine and seems like a curious direction to head in. “After having two-door cars for the longest time, I wanted a nice comfortable sedan.
However, I didn’t want to compromise four doors for performance or looks,” reasons Ravi. “The F10 M5 was the perfect performance sedan in my eyes. When the BMW market for CSF really started to take off about three years ago I became more serious about owning a BMW. Once we started making the chargecoolers for the car, it was an obvious choice to buy as I could also use it for a R&D, marketing car,” he says. It’s at this point we should probably explain that Ravi happens to be the director of CSF, which produces all manner of high performance cooling solutions, so owning an F10 M5 wasn’t just a passion purchase, it made good business sense too. If only all purchases as exciting as this could be justified so sensibly.
So, there was definitely a plan in place for the M5 when Ravi purchased it but it was obviously going to be quite a different build to the previous projects he’d undertaken. “My Porsche 911 Turbo 996 is heavily modified, with upgraded turbos, suspension, RUF and TechArt exterior parts, GMG roll-cage, Porsche motorsport wheel. At the time of me taking possession of the M5 I had just finished displaying my Evo X, which was a fully custom-built race car. That build was my first ground-up build, and it took a lot out of me (mentally and physically)… So for this build, my goal was to make a fun and reliable bolt-on upgraded car that looked good, and that could be used as a demo car for CSF for the next one-to-two years to showcase our BMW cooling program,” explains Ravi.
“With my M5’s rare Imola red paint I knew I had a striking car to begin with, and just wanted to accent the red with gloss black and carbon. Nothing too over the top, but an OEM+ look,” and he’s absolutely achieved that goal.
We’ve already established that performance mods were going to be a big part of this build and Ravi has put together one seriously rapid M5. “My plan when buying the car was to use it as my daily driver. Therefore, I wanted something that was reliable all the time; I didn’t want to deal with CELs, or problems that come with too much power, or anything that was going to keep the car down too long to complete,” he explains. “For example upgrading the turbos would then require new clutches, which would then possibly require new axles, and so on and so forth – it gets to be a slippery slope at some point,” he says and he’s not wrong. “For the engine, I wanted to start by adding simple bolt-on upgrades which also enhanced the look of the engine bay. I started out with the RK Autowerks carbon fibre cold air intake system with the red filter housings, which looks awesome,” says Ravi and we can only agree, with the RK logo-embossed intake pipes being especially sexy. They are joined by a pair of CSF x Pure Turbos chargecoolers, naturally, finished in custom Fire Engine red with a hammer texture clear coat and they look suitably awesome as a result. “I wanted a super high quality exhaust for a great sound, but also something that was adjustable if I wanted to drive in an OEM-style quite mode,” says Ravi and his exhaust of choice is a Frequency Intelligent Exhaust Valvetronic cat-back system with black diamond tips and remote valve control. It looks awesome, with those fat quad tips that really fill out the rear bumper, sounds seriously impressive on paper and, going by FI Exhaust’s YouTube videos, sounds even more impressive in real life and has given Ravi exactly what he was after. “The wi-fi-controlled exhaust is a game changer, especially when you don’t want the sound and just want to cruise in quiet,” he smiles, and it’s given him the best of both worlds in one exhaust system. “After that I added a VF Engineering Stage 1 Hex Tune and it really woke the car up! The cracks, burbles, pops, etc. it didn’t have that before, and it really changed the soul of the car. Having the tune done after the list of engine mods really brought everything to its full potential,” he grins. “After having the car for about six months, and also taking the car to Shift S3ctor in May, I got the bug for more speed. Then came the Evolve Automotive downpipes and Stage 2 tune from VF!” and that brings us up to speed on the power upgrades, with speed being the operative word. While Ravi hasn’t had a chance to get his M5 on the dyno just yet, based on the mods he’s running and other owners’ gains, he reckons his F10 is pushing around 620whp and 650lb ft wtq, monstrous numbers that have turned it into an absolute beast and this shows you just how incredibly capable that S63 V8 power plant truly is.
While the monster power is a big part of this build, with Ravi using his M5 for essential R&D work it’s also a marketing machine and that means it had to look the part and it really does. In a world filled with silver, grey, black and white cars it’s so refreshing to see M owners opting for more vibrant hues and while we expect to see more M3s and M4s finished in some striking shade, we love the fact that there are plenty of bold M5s out there, with Ravi’s being one of them. As he himself said, the Imola paint on his example was a big part of what made it so appealing to him and it’s a great colour, without doubt one of BM’s best reds, bold and bright, strong and striking, just what you want, and it works so well on the M5. “I wanted to go with an OEM+ look,” explains Ravi. “It’s just the style of all of my builds.
Clean but impactful. Something that anyone could relate to and appreciate, just something clean, reliable, and fun to drive all the time,” he says and we’d say it’s mission accomplished. That’s not to say that this M5 is shy or retiring in any way, it’s still a big, bright red beast of a machine, but it manages to be all that without being offensive or obnoxious. To enhance the M5’s looks and that striking black and red colour scheme, Ravi has added a selection of carbon fibre additions in the shape of a full PSM Dynamic carbon aero kit, which comprises that aggressive front lip spoiler for maximum performance during half-mile racing, side blades, a sculpted rear spoiler and utterly gorgeous rear diffuser, arguably one of the best we’ve seen, with a lower section that extends out into a pair of side splitters. The crowning glory of the styling enhancements is without doubt that awesome, custom-painted Agency Power carbon fibre vented bonnet, with its bare carbon vents, which is just dropdead gorgeous and really amps up the M5’s muscular looks. Elsewhere, Ravi has added a smattering of additional touches to bring everything in-line with the red and black colour scheme, applying an IND Distribution gloss blackout kit along with chrome delete on the BMW roundels and a reflector delete, leaving no traces of chrome visible anywhere on the body and it’s this attention to detail that we really appreciate and which elevates the build. The interior, meanwhile, has been left almost completely untouched but the two mods that Ravi has carried out in here happen to be two of his favourites on the entire car; “The interior I kept original besides two of my favourite mods: the BMW electronic steering wheel in Alcantara and the 3D Design billet shift paddles. These are the engagement points to the car and totally change the connection the driver has to the car,” he says and, as an added bonus, they also happen to look fantastic too.
To go with his M5’s bold looks, Ravi has added a KW HAS kit to enable him to give the car a nice drop without sacrificing the adjustment from his electronic dampers and then, of course, came the small matter of picking the right wheels for the build, and we all know how important that is. “Going with the OEM+ theme of the build, I knew I wanted the wheels to be some type of black. I debated for a while between matt, some special type of black finish like a new black chrome, or double tint finish. But ultimately, I went with the classic gloss black to match all of the accents of the car and keep that OEM+ vibe with the car that I was looking to build,” he says. “I debated putting the car on an air bag suspension system, and going with wheels from my good friends at Rotiform, but I just couldn’t bring myself to put the car on air, not yet anyway. I wanted to enjoy the M suspension for at least a full year. That led me to classic wheel brands like BBS and possibly one of their new FI-R wheels. I almost pulled the trigger on the FI-R wheels, but I wanted something a little more rare, and customized with better fitment. This left me looking at custom forged wheels from the likes of HRE, ADV-1, Vossen, Rotiform, etc… At the same time I was looking for wheels, my friend Imran, owner of Evolve Automotive in the UK, was starting a forged wheel brand called 6Sixty. He had owned an F10 M5 demo car himself, and he told me had “the perfect spec in 21s” for the M5. I trusted him, his wheel designs are killer good looking, I knew from his other businesses the engineering behind the wheels was going to be sold and the quality was going to be top-of-the-line. The wheels were lighter than the OEM 20” Competition wheels, and look stunning. I took the centre caps to my paint guy to have the centre cap logos touched with the same Imola red for a nice custom touch and the wheels were ready to go.”
The wheels look fantastic on the M5; the twin-five spoke design, with its subtle detailing and concave profile, works really well on the big machine and gloss black ties-in perfectly with the rest of the colour scheme, the red centre caps just adding the finishing touch.
Ravi’s M5 really is a mighty machine; it looks awesome, with that bold red and black colour scheme along with the carbon aero elements giving it some serious presence, and then there’s the awesome performance and it’s not just for bragging rights either, as Ravi actually uses the massive power he’s got on tap. “We raced it at Shift S3ctor and the car hit 156mph in the half-mile,” he grins, which is seriously impressive stuff but he’s not done yet; “I want to get the car to Shift S3ctor again, and see what I trap in the half-mile with the stage 2 tune and downpipes added into the mix. But if I get the bug for more speed, then the Pure Turbos Stage 2 upgrade and clutches will be going in!” he exclaims and they’ll really take the performance into the stratosphere. Whatever Ravi decides to do in the future, he’s got plenty of time to plan because it sounds like this M5 is here to stay; “I have no idea what my next car will be… but it will most likely be something that can help promote the CSF brand. This car is fairly new to me, and I’m just getting to the point where I’m driving it almost daily,” he adds. A 620whp daily? That’s just the M5 life.
“To enhance the M5’s looks and that striking black and red colour scheme, Ravi has added a selection of carbon fibre additions in the shape of a full PSM Dynamic carbon aero kit”
DATA FILE BMW F10 M5
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 4.4-litre V8 S63B44, RK Autowerks carbon fibre cold air intake system with matching red filter housings, CSF x Pure Turbos liquid-to-air chargecoolers in custom Fire Engine red with hammer texture clear coat, Evolve Automotive ceramic-coated and copper-lined cat-less downpipes, FI Exhaust Valvetronic wi-fi cat-back exhaust with Diamond Black tips, VF Engineering Hex Tune Stage 2. M DCT seven-speed gearbox
POWER AND TORQUE Approx. 620whp and 650lb ft wtq
CHASSIS 9.5x21” ET 20 (front) and 11x21” ET25 (rear) 6Sixty Design Emblem wheels in gloss black with custom Imola red centre caps, 255/30 (front) and 305/25 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres, Project Kics R40 Iconix open-ended racing wheel nut set in black with gold inner trim, KW HAS kit
EXTERIOR Individual Imola red, PSM Dynamic full carbon aero kit comprising front lip, side blades, rear spoiler and rear diffuser, Agency Power carbon fibre vented bonnet custom-painted Imola red, IND Distribution gloss blackout kit, chrome delete on BMW roundel badges (front and rear), reflector delete, Rhino Customs & Detailing full PPF clear bra and five-stage Ceramic Pro coating
INTERIOR M Performance steering wheel, 3D Design billet extended paddle shifters in gloss black with custom accents by IND, Radenso Radar RC M radar detector and laser jammer system
Carbon rear diffuser is simply epic Remote for wi-fi exhaust valve Controller for Radenso radar detector and jammer system M Performance steering wheel and 3D Design paddles. Bonnet vents have been left unpainted RK Autowerks carbon intake system. 6Sixty Design Emblem 21S. Exhaust Valvetronic catback system.
“I added a VF Engineering Stage 1 Hex Tune and it really woke the car up! The cracks, burbles, pops, etc. it didn’t have that before, and it really changed the soul of the car”