Munich - BMW’s hotly-anticipated M5 Competition has been revealed, ushering in a new era in which the most potent versions of the company’s M cars will be developed as standalone models, rather than marketed as simply a 'package'.

In the case of the new M5 Competition - due in SA in the third quarter of 2018 - this means a whole glut of performance, dynamic and stylistic enhancements, but let’s start with the important stuff.

Under the bonnet, the M5’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 has been fettled to produce 460kW at 6000rpm, 19kW more than the standard model. Peak twisting force remains at 750Nm, but there is a slightly flatter torque curve, with the maximum produced between 1800 and 5800rpm (up from 5600). 

But is it the new king of super saloons?

We’ll have to strap some equipment to it before answering that question, but it is 10kW more powerful than the reigning champion, Mercedes-AMG’s E 63 S, albeit the BMW is 100Nm short on torque. If we go by the actual claimed figures, the BMW is actually 0.1s quicker to 100km/h, with a quoted time of 3.3 seconds. 

The M5 Competition also sports a model-specific M Sport exhaust system that promises an even wilder soundtrack, and modified engine mounts designed to improve engine response. 

As with the standard M5, power is transmitted through an eight-speed M Steptronic autobox and M-specific all-wheel-drive system with a rear-biased set-up and a rear-wheel-drive mode for those wanting to indulge in some opposite lock. 

The Competition does get its own specific chassis tuning however, with various tweaks to the wheel suspension, springs and shocks making it a little firmer and bringing it 7mm lower to the ground.

The vehicle rides on 20-inch ‘Y-spoke’ alloys with wider rubber at the back - 285/35 versus 275/35 upfront. The Competition also gets gloss black treatment for the grille, fender gills, mirror caps, rear spoiler and bumper inserts - and there’s also a Competition badge to ensure that onlookers don’t confuse this with an ‘ordinary’ M5. 

The cabin embellishments are rather subtle, but fans of the performance division will appreciate the BMW M colours in the seatbelts and floor mats, and BMW has resisted the temptation to plaster the cabin with ‘Competition’ logos, although you will find one in the instrument cluster.

But how much?

Local pricing will be announced nearer to launch, but expect a fair premium over the standard M5’s R1 762 000 asking price.

IOL Motoring