Then there is the two-wheel drive mode. Go there and it will probably result in smoking tyres and you facing the wrong way. On the day it was left to BMW GTC racing driver Gennaro Bonafede to demonstrate pure rear-wheel drive adrenalin.
Back to our drive and the M5 handled every twist and turn of the new Kyalami track with ease. The electronic steering, so often a point of criticism, was extremely accurate and the power delivery through the eight-speed gearbox was excellent, particularly in manual mode using the paddles. There were moments of delay in response in auto mode but put everything in massive attack and the M5 just gets on with it. The ’box is not as brutal as in the last generation, but that means a more comfortable commute so it’s a compromise worth having.
As good as the M5 was on the track, I have to say it might be a little too good. It was confident and confidence-inspiring, almost to the point of cruising around the track. It scrubbed off speed effortlessly, got the power down superbly and not once felt as though it was relinquishing control to the laws of physics, in spite of its size and weight.
The new M5 is easy to drive and drive fast. In fact when you think of a track car, perhaps it really is the perfect example. While we can only assume it is going to be everything a 5 Series should be on the road in terms of comfort, its ability to be that comfortable and controllable on track while delivering such blistering performance puts it firmly into the everyday supercar category and that used to be occupied only by, well, supercars.