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    The refined M5 continues to delight and astound with its abilities – whoever’s at the helm – but those auto wiper settings need sweeping changes…

    As text messages go, this was a good one. ‘Are you free to drive my M5 to the Nürburgring 24 Hours race and test drive the new M3 CS while you’re there?’ My stubby fingers couldn’t type an answer fast enough. The majority of the drive there may be a dull one, but the M5 was a very pleasant companion, refined and supple in its Comfort setting, while its easily operated infotainment set-up and Bowers & Wilkins upgraded stereo kept me entertained. But thus far a well-specced 520d would have done the job equally effectively.

    Thankfully, the first speed limit sign I encountered upon entering Germany was of the derestricted variety, and I discovered why an M5 is twice the price of the 520d. Its ability to accelerate from 120kph (75mph) to its limiter at an indicated 263kph (163mph) is ridiculous for a machine that weighs nigh on two tons, and never fails to bring a smile to your face. It’s ferociously unrelenting, and with the sports exhaust bellowing its approval each time you change gear it’s a thoroughly intoxicating process. It’s rock steady at speed, too, and feels like it could sit at the limiter all day long.

    Once off the autobahn the roads around the Ring offered plenty of opportunities to enjoy the performance, with the all-wheel drive offering a surfeit of grip in all situations. Even on streaming wet roads the M5 just stuck to the tarmac and got on with the job.

    The journey home was in pretty filthy weather and I was reminded how poor BMW’s programming for its automatic wipers is these days. In my E46 3-series and E39 5-series it was spot-on, but more recently the wipers are often hyperactive in light drizzle and impossibly lethargic in monsoon conditions – surely it can’t be that difficult to get right? Swapping the LED headlight aim for driving on the right was a doddle, though, using the iDrive controller.

    Overall, the M5 returned 28.5mpg for the trip: pretty decent for a machine with almost 600bhp, and 1855kg to lug about. It’s a special car, and one that seems to get better the further you drive it. You’re a lucky man Mr Gallagher. Do let me know when another road trip is in the offing… Bob Harper (@m5bob)

    Date acquired March 2018
    Total mileage 7701
    Mileage this month 2622
    Costs this month £0
    mpg this month 24.3