Sector: Executive Price: £73,065 Fuel: 28.5mpg CO2: 232g/km
Rather fortunately for me, a lot of the readers of Fleet World are owners of companies or high-level directors. So this means that the staggering new M5 can grace these hallowed e-pages without too many guffaws of ‘hardly a fleet car is it?’.
So especially for your consideration dear reader, I forced myself to spend a week with it, coming fairly quickly to the conclusion that there is no better car on sale today.
There are flashier ones, more expensive ones, more efficient ones too, but for a breadth of ability that is almost mind-boggling the M5 has no peer. Here’s why.
I chugged down to Marlow for an event, motorway all the way and in no sort of rush. It managed late 20s mpg and the M5 was as comfortable as a well upholstered limousine. The ride quality for a car on 20 inch wheels and 560bhp performance is incomprehensible. It fairly floats along.
Quality of the very highest order is everywhere: the thick, buttery leather on the seats is better than you get in an Aston Martin, the brilliantly informative head-up display clearer than an F-15 fighter jet. The M5 is a big soft, fluffy pussy cat.
And then, when the mood took one day across some empty Middle England roads, I adjusted the steering, suspension, gearchange speed, throttle response and stability programmes and felt the car tense, arch its back, ready for a fight. Effectively, what was a nice cruising machine turned into a racing car.
The high-revving 4.4-litre twin turbo V8, howls to the red line, booms on the shotgun gear changes, turns into corners like a go kart, flings you out the other side with vicious acceleration. It is stupendously, ridiculously, gloriously fast – still riding beautifully mind – hunting out traction, flinging you forward with incessant force. And all the time, it’s still a big comfortable four door saloon.
Complaints? Well, for those who really care about their driving, the traction control can be a bit too invasive, and you switch it off at your peril, while if you were really being sensible, you could say that a big twin turbo diesel would make better real world proposition.
But that would miss the point. This is a magnificent piece of engineering, a tour de force of adaptability and performance. More characterful than a 911, as practical as a Mondeo.
Genius. That’s all you can say.