BMW M5 Pure

Cuts the price way harder than it slashes lap times

ALEX INWOOD

FIRST AUSSIE DRIVE

SLAPPING a Pure badge onto the rump of a BMW M5 creates certain expectations.

Particularly when BMW Particularly when BMW itself says this new Pure special edition is “raw and trackinspired”.

This makes you think the Pure M5 will be a strippedout special with less weight, less luxuries and a greater focus on hardcore performance. Could it even be an M5 CSL?

Sadly, the answer is no.

What this ‘special edition’ is, in essence, is a regular M5 without the super-sedan’s now-standard Competition Pack. That means power falls 11kW to 412kW (torque is unchanged at 680Nm), there’s no 10mm-lower ride height, no modified exhaust system and the dampers and steering system aren’t quite as sharp. It’s also a tenth slower to 100km/h at 4.3sec. There’s no tangible weight loss either; BMW says the Pure is about 5kg lighter.

It leaves you with the realisation that BMW has tried to create a track-inspired special by deleting the track-inspired package. It’s enough to hurt your brain.

Where the Pure badge really makes sense is with its new $185,000 price tag. That’s $44,540 cheaper than the normal M5!

Dropping the Competition Pack gear obviously saves some serious coin, but the Pure also does without some of the regular car’s lavish standard equipment and a few key options.

What you do get is the choice of special ‘frozen’ colours, which are normally a $5000 option, and different alloy wheels. Crucially, the M5’s Active M differential, dynamic damper control and quick-shifting seven-speed dualclutch ’box remain, which begs the question: Is the Pure a supersedan bargain, or has it lost some of the regular M5’s magic?

After performance testing at Sandown Raceway, we can confirm it’s the former. Losing 11kW has done nothing to blunt the M5’s ballistic straight-line performance and, while its 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 has plenty of low-down punch, its party trick is above 4000rpm and the way it pulls relentlessly and rapidly to the 7500rpm redline.

There’s nothing lost through the corners, either. It’s true that the Pure’s higher ride height means there’s slightly more roll onto the outside tyre at corner entry, but there’s still the same pointy front axle and super-glue levels of mid-corner grip.

Of course, get too excited with your right foot and the Pure will demolish its rear 295/30 rear tyres with an unforgiving tsunami of torque. Feed the throttle in, though, and there’s traction to burn.

All this means that when you hook the Pure up, it’s a breathlessly quick super-sedan, but it’s not perfect. While the steering is smooth and fluid in its rate of response, there’s still not enough communication between the front wheels and the wheel in your hands. The Pure’s standard exhaust also means you lose some of the M5’s aural fireworks.

So should you feel ripped off if you’ve just dropped $230K on a normal M5? BMW, naturally, says you shouldn’t. The purpose of the Pure is to expand the reach of M5 to different people at a different price point.

But the reality is, the Pure offers 99 percent of the regular M5’s performance for a fraction of the cost. It’s marginally slower and slightly softer, and its interior is a little less special, but in real-world traffic on real-world roads, we’re willing to bet you’ll appreciate the $45K saving more than the loss of a tenth in the rush to 100km/h.

If a BMW M5 is on your shopping list, this one’s a bargain, Pure and simple.

Model Engine Max power Max torque Transmission Weight 0-100km/h Economy Price On sale BMW M5 Pure 4395cc V8 (90°), dohc, 32v, twin-turbo 412kW @ 6000-7000rpm 680Nm @ 1500-5750rpm 7-speed dual-clutch 1865kg 4.3sec (claimed) 9.9L/100km $185,000 Now

PLUS & MINUS

Can’t be optioned with ceramic brakes; more steering feel would be nice Killer value, considering how little it gives away to the regular M5

DOLLARS AND SENSE

The last time an M5 was as affordable as the Pure was way back in 1993 with the E34, which cost $157,500. Back then the M5’s performance wasn’t quite so brutal, but its 3.5-litre straight-six was still good for 235kW/360Nm and a 0-100km/h sprint of 6.4sec.

HISTORY LESSON

This isn’t the first M car to wear a Pure badge. BMW last used the moniker on the E92 M3 in 2013, but that car’s equipment cut was far more substantial.

The M3 also retained the same 309kW/400Nm outputs from its 4.0-litre V8 as the regular M3, but cost about $30K less.

PICKIN’ UP, PUTTIN’ DOWN

While the Pure goes without some of the regular M5’s luxuries – sunroof, trick seats, blinds, softclose doors, among other bits – it does pick up some standard equipment you have to option on the normal car, like ($700) tyre pressure monitoring.

Call that special?

BMW has gone a bit nuts with M5 special editions lately. Two other limitededition models were launched alongside the Pure, called Nighthawk and White Shadow.

Both are limited to just 10 units each and cost $235,930, or $6000 more than a regular M5. Each is more powerful than the Pure, and share the same 423kW/680Nm outputs as the competition packequipped M5. There’s also lashings of carbonfibre, and each gets the choice of two colours in ‘frozen’ or metallic finishes.

A 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, normally a $10,000 option, is also standard.

OR TRY THESE...

Audi RS7 $238,500

WARP factor speed in a straight line and with one of best V8 soundtracks around. All-paw traction is mega, as is the interior, but it doesn’t have the rear-drive balance of the M5.

HSV GTS $96,990

LACKS the sheer straight-line ferocity of the M5 and RS7, but 0-100km/h in 4.5sec is still impressive for an 1881kg four-door.

Big-capacity blown V8 is mighty, although interior, as you’d expect, lacks the quality of Euro rivals. Still, it’s almost $100K cheaper...