The lure of a coupe or hot hatch is almost impossible for a petrolhead to resist.
The former is an “ideal” sports car, for fewer doors makes for a more rigid body. Plus, the limited space can deter people from tagging along, so you end up having more fun in your lighter and more agile ride.
Meanwhile, a hot hatch is the ideal car for many an enthusiast. It is practical enough to drive every day and enormous fun when you’re alone. If you could only have one car, this is an excellent choice.
Where does that leave a car like the BMW M5 Competition?
BMW M5 COMPETITION: EXECUTIVE ROCKET
On the surface of it, the M5 Competition does not seem like a car an enthusiast would want.
It is relatively big and hefty, and it has all-wheel-drive instead of just rear-wheel-drive. And in this hue, it looks too innocuous. Heck, the only go-faster bits are the huge wheels, equally large brakes, and quad exhausts.
It does not have the brash looks of its M3 and M4 siblings, whose grilles look like they were designed to swallow – or cook – rivals.
But this suits the M5 Competition’s character. While its stablemates are styled to attract attention, the M5 is like an assassin in a tailored suit. Indeed, drivers who are unfamiliar with high-performance cars will just assume that the M5 is a modified 520i.
That mistaken impression, however, will be shattered the moment this sedan leaves you in its wake.
Its burbling exhaust note, delivered by the turbocharged 4.4-litre motor, cannot be mistaken for anything else but a V8. The way the BMW M5 Competition revs and growls is not something that an inline-6, much less a 4-cylinder, can replicate.
But instead of being raucous, the M5 Competition is refined. It does not need to sound fierce, for there is plenty of ferocity in how it moves.
FROM QUIET TO RIOT
The M5 Competition is a machine that enjoys being flogged. Sure, it can potter around town gently cossetting its occupants, but it is in its true element when the driver demands more.
See that winding corner there? Charge towards it, nail the brakes at the last moment and turn the wheel. The nose tucks in, not violently but eagerly, for you have just whetted the car’s appetite.
The BMW M5 Competition makes light work of sweeping bends, and will even take on smaller and tighter twists with gusto. With “Sport” selected for almost every option, this sedan is like an athlete in his stride.
Unfortunately, without a racetrack, the car’s concrete jungle workout is rather limited. I’m pretty sure it was only getting warmed up, for it hardly broke a sweat.
What makes the M5 Competition so compelling is that it just feels so much better than the M5 I drove several years ago. To me, that car was hugely capable, but felt like it only had one mode: obliterate.
This Competition model feels more complete, for it has other facets to its character. It is quiet when you need it to be, and an absolute riot when the driver is in a naughty mood.
The BMW M5 Competition is a modern muscle car from Munich. With a delicious V8 soundtrack, sublime handling and handsome styling, I have suddenly forgotten how much fun coupes and hot hatches can be.
BMW M5 Competition 4.4 (A)
ENGINE 4395cc, 32-valves, V8, twin-turbocharged
MAX POWER 617hp (625PS, 460kW) at 6000rpm
MAX TORQUE 750Nm at 1800-5860rpm
POWER TO WEIGHT 325.6hp per tonne
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 3.3 seconds
TOP SPEED 250km/h (305km/h unrestricted)
CONSUMPTION 8.8km/L (combined)
PRICE INCL. COE From $540,888 (after $20k VES surcharge)
AGENT Performance Munich Autos