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Tested: BMW M5 Pure Metal is an SA special

Road tests

Johannesburg - South Africa has a history with unique and limited-edition BMWs, including the likes of the 333i and 745i from yesteryear.

As a final curtain for the F10-generation M5 before the all-new 5 Series arrives soon, BMW SA introduced the M5 Pure Metal edition, of which just 20 units were made available at a price of R1 948 000 and all of which have been sold out. This ‘SA special’ was created as the ‘30 Jahre’ special edition produced by BMW Germany never made it to our shores.

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As a final curtain for the current M5, BMW created the 441kW Pure Metal edition.

The Pure Metal nameplate refers to the car’s shiny-happy metallic silver colour while there’s also some heavy-metal thunder under the bonnet. BMW massaged some extra grunt out of that 4.4-litre V8 turbo for peak outputs of 441kW and 700Nm – that’s 29kW and 20Nm more than the standard M5 and 18kW more than is offered with the optional Competition Package.

We took a demo Pure Metal M5 for a Vbox performance test at Gerotek, where the car shot from 0-100km/h in a blisteringly quick 4.4 seconds and a scenery-distorting 13.3 second quarter-mile. This isn’t any quicker than we managed in the slightly less powerful M5 Competition Pack, but we put this down to the vagaries of BMW’s moody Launch Control system.

Fighting for grip

Sometimes it lays the power down like a champion and finds that perfect balance between bogging-down and tyre-shredding wheelspin, and sometimes – as with this particular car – it doesn’t.

But when not fighting for off-the-line grip the Pure Metal still has the quickest in-gear acceleration of any M5 we’ve tested, taking just three seconds to roll on from 60-120km/h – two-tenths quicker than the M5 Competition Pack. The speed governor has been raised from 250km/h to 305km/h and this ballistic Beemer has no trouble getting to that number, whilst displaying impressive high-velocity directional stability.

Numbers aside, the appeal of the M5 has always been its ability to blend Ferrari-frightening pace with business-sedan luxury and space. With the configurable Drive Modes in their mildest settings the car plods around town fairly comfortably, without being too much of a handful, although that power’s always lurking and any half-aggressive throttle treatment gets those rear tyres a-chirping and the stability control light blinking.

Set the modes to their most aggressive and the car rants and snorts like a wild beast.

Driving it is about as subtle as having your ear bitten by Mike Tyson.

It takes serious brakes to arrest all this pace, especially in a big sedan weighing two tons, but the ceramic discs prove well up to the task. The benefit of this exotic and expensive material is that the brakes are far less prone to fading when hustling the M5 around a racetrack; the drawback is they sometimes tend to squeak in normal driving.

The Pure Metal edition comes with a Competition Package that includes lightweight 20 inch alloys, a free-flow exhaust, lowered and firmed-up suspension, and even more direct steering. The Active M Differential also gains its own control unit to further improve traction.

Inside, the car gets a special numbered plaque and the driver and front passenger snuggle into Sport multi-function seats upholstered in merino fine grain leather.

As for the next-generation M5, our sources tell us it will probably stick with the 4.4-litre turbopetrol but might be paired with all-wheel drive. The car will also go on a diet, shedding around 100kg with the use of more aluminium and magnesium in the body.

The new seventh-generation 5 Series arrives here in March, with the M5 set to follow later in the year or in 2018.

Follow Denis Droppa on Twitter @DenisDroppa

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