They Should All Be This Good: The 2021 BMW M5 Competition
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
You can go a whole lotta places on the web to find out just what a killer performance sedan the 2021 BMW M5 Competition is. What I'm more impressed by is what a killer car, period, it is.
I mean, yeah, it's fast. Yeah, it handles like very few other cars. It's an M5 Competition. It's supposed to. For the price, it damn well better.
Oh, heck---let's do the numbers and the gearhead stuff so we can say we did: It's a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8. 617 horsepower. 553 pounds per foot of torque. Zero to 60 in 2.8 seconds. No, not a typo---two-point-eight. The quarter-mile? 10.9 seconds at 128 miles an hour. Eight-speed automatic, launch control, and a livable 15 miles per gallon city, 21 highway estimate from the EPA, which is darn fine fuel economy for having the thrust of a Saturn V rocket. And handling precision? This car can read your mind. It is a literal extension of your hands and your brain.
The great thing about the 2021 BMW M5 Competition is that the power isn't there to overcome some deficiencies in the base vehicle---to cover up for weaknesses elsewhere. No, the 5-Series BMW is an excellent mid-sized sedan. The M5 just puts some more muscle into it and the Competition is the ultimate extension (so far) of what the car can do.
What the BMW M5 Competition made me wonder was---what would it be like if every car, no matter its make or model, were built to be as great at its intended mission, be that economy or space efficiency or whatever? Because, honest to God---this thing was just perfect. Well, apart from being able to afford it. But, even so---this level of excellence and performance just can't come cheap. Base price of the 2021 BMW M5 is $103,500, so a steep bar to begin with (the least-expensive 5-Series, the 530i, starts at $54,200). Thankfully, there's a ton standard, even beyond the firepower under the hood---a Harman Kardon surround sound audio system, heated 20-way power multi-function front seats, a heated steering wheel, remote start---all there.
And yes, of course, there were extra-cost options. The Competition Package, which turns an M5 into an M5 Competition, is $7,600, adding an M Sport exhaust system, 20-inch wheels, individual Shadowline lights and extended Shadowline trim, as well as M seat belts. The Voodoo Blue exterior paint is $5,000. The black full Merino leather interior is $3,500. The Driving Assistance Plus package (extended traffic jam assistant and Active Driving Assistant Pro) is $1,700. The Executive Package (soft-close automatic doors, rear sunshades, front ventilated seats, front and rear heated seats, front massaging seats, Parking Assistant Plus, drive recorder, active park distance control, rear-view camera and surround view with 3D view) is $3,350. Going fast requires stopping fast, so the M carbon ceramic brakes are a fine idea at $8,500. The M Driver's Package is $2,500, and saying goodbye to Harman Kardon and hello to Bowers & Wilkins' upgraded sound system will be $3,400.
Uncle Sam will relieve you of $1,000 for the gas guzzler tax and the destination charge is five bucks less than that, bringing the as-tested price of the 2021 BMW M5 Competition to $141,045.
I've driven a lot of cars in 25 years of reviewing them for (part of) a living. The past few years, it's been 104 cars a year. I honestly can't think of another one that was as rock-solid perfect as the BMW M5 Competition. Even with that price tag.