2003 BMW M5

When introduced, the M5’s 400 horsepower (give or take a couple) brought gasps. An executive sedan with the power output of a supercar? BMW must be mad, was the general consensus. A short drive in an M5, however, will dispel any notion of a lack of capacity on BMW’s part. The M5 is a very sane exercise in moving a handsome, comfortable, and spacious sedan to extreme velocities with surgical precision. While you can certainly disable the traction control and have a smoky good time with hooliganish burnouts, the M5’s forte is pretending it’s a much smaller car than it really is. Its reflexes are taut, its brakes are among the best ever fitted to a sedan, and the engine is superb. It sounds it, too, as it breathes through eight individual throttle bodies for lightning-quick throttle response, and exhales though sweet-sounding quad pipes. Outside, the modifications over the standard 5-Series car are restrained, with alterations to the front and rear air dams, a rear decklid lip spoiler, and split-spoke alloy wheels. From a driver’s perspective, one of the best features is the excellent manual transmission, rare in this class of mid-sized sport sedans. Another is the excellent M-Division tuned suspension, which puts the handling of the M5 in a class above.

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