"Spacious sports car" is a term that could easily be used to describe BMW's M5 Touring, with a 373 kW V10 engine and 1 650 litres of storage space. It is now available to South African buyers.
The only 5 Series Touring on sale locally, the M5 wagon shares the sedan's five-litre V10 engine with outputs of 373 kW and 520 Nm. It accelerates from 0 - 100 km/h in a blistering 4.8 seconds and is electronically limited to a top speed of 250 km/h.
Average fuel consumption for the sports wagon is quoted at 15 l/100 km.
Built for the suburbs and the track
However, despite the Touring's inherent dynamic shortcomings versus sedan or sports coupe body styles - a centre of gravity that is higher and further to the back - the M5 Touring still manages to clock an impressive 8 minutes 15 seconds on the Nordschleife of the Nürburgring Race Track.
But the wagon excels on a practical level too, offering five full-sized seats (with a 60/40 backseat split) and a loading space that extends from 500 to 1 650 litres.
The luggage compartment can also be ordered with a Storage Package that comes with individual subdivisions in the floor of hte luggage compartment, folding partition panels and lashing belts in the side panels.
A semi-automatic roll-up cover conceals your cargo while the rear window opens separately. An automatic tailgate opening and closing function is optional.
Looks the part, too
Aesthetically, a front airdam, side sills, air intakes in the side panels, a rear airdam and four protuding tailpipes all spell the M5 Touring's sporting intentions.
Beneath the metal, improvements over the "regular" 5 Series Touring are significant, especially with regards to the suspension, steering and dynamic stability control.
Electronic damper control and variable M differential lock are two systems that influence the suspension and handling characteristics of the Touring.
According to BMW, torsional rigidity has been improved too, with reinforcements between the side sills and the luggage compartment floor to comply with M division requirements.
As with the sedan, the wagon is fitted with a seven-speed SMG with Drivelogic with 11 driving programmes that allow for individually adjustable gearshift characteristics.
BMW's M5 Touring costs R1 050 000 and includes a five-year/100 000 km Motorplan and a two-year warranty.