Engines like the one shoehorned into the M5 need to be savoured while they are still around – even if your neighbours don’t think it’s all that cool…
Date acquired March 2018
Total mileage 12,418
Mileage this month 3246
Costs this month £0
mpg this month 23.9
It’s to be expected that the 4.4-litre, twin-turbo #V8
lurking behind the M5’s kidney grille is going to generate levels of heat normally associated with my living room when someone ignites the fire and forgets to turn the central heating down. What I didn’t expect was how much cooling it requires post engine shutdown, no matter what the length of journey. Nor how much noise is generated in the process.
In the early hours, after a late-night run back from evo HQ , the M5 can get a bit of a pant on and doesn’t hold back on the decibels (around 88), and it can be a good five to seven minutes before it’s sufficiently cooled. Only Mercedes’ new AMG G63 has annoyed the neighbours with more of the same and for longer.
Lift the M5’s aluminium bonnet and it’s clear why those eight cylinders can get a little hot under the collar. Most modern engines look larger than a Spitfire’s Merlin when dressed with the de facto moulded plastic cover, but remove the M-branded hat from the S63 motor and there’s barely a millimetre to spare. As a piece of packaging it’s quiet remarkable, although I can’t imagine the independent specialists who will be working on it in a decade’s time thinking the same.
Despite its antics after every run the F90’s V8, like those found in AMG’s hotrods, is a mighty piece of engineering to control. It doesn’t have the theatrics of the Affalterbach power units in terms of vocal support every time the crank rotates, but its performance is on a par and it’s every bit as exciting when you let it off the leash. Yet despite being based on the motor fitted to its F10 predecessor, the considerable changes #BMW-M
has made have turned a potent yet anodyne engine into a characterful and deeply layered V8. And while its downsized and electrified replacement will blow our minds in terms of technology, I’m worried it won’t tug at our heartstrings like this one does. Truth be told, I already know it won’t.
Which means we should enjoy cars such as the M5 while we can. One day we’ll need to dig deep on these memories of driving a car with supercar performance, sports car agility and family practicality as we’re transported everywhere in an electric pod.