BMW M5 Competition: a 700bhp daily!
There's something in the tea (or the beer) that they drink in Bavaria, because the folks at BMW’s M Division seem to consume copious amounts of it and then go on to build some of the finest sports sedans known to man. The fundamentals for BMW M’s greats have always been simple, a high-strung engine at the front, luxury for four in the middle, and a practical boot at the rear. With a dash of sportscar-demolishing performance for good measure ― like I said, the beverages in Bavaria… are a tad stronger than found elsewhere. And ideally this concoction of an automobile shouldn’t work at all in the real world, with idiots on the streets, potholes and what not.
But time and again, BMW has proved the naysayers wrong, defying the status quo and turning the BMW M5 into one of the greatest performance cars of all time. And Dr Nirmal Krishnan, who owns this road-going rocket ship, has prescribed the build with an additional dose of performance.
A 700bhp daily? The doc definitely took BMW M’s slogan of ‘too much is just right’ a bit too literally. It’s safe to say that Dr Nirmal knows his cars. His M5 Competition shares its garage space with a beautiful 911 GT3 as well as a Lamborghini Huracan, and the doc has owned multiple BMW M cars in the past, finally hitting the sweet spot with this F90 BMW M5 Competition. He seldom keeps his cars in stock form, after all, he’s a resident of ‘Mod’s Own Country’, and the M5 is no different, having lent itself to plenty of hot-rodding along with jaw-dropping looks. I usually like to dive into the meat of the matter when it comes to TUNED cars with the stuff under the bonnet catching my fancy first, but with Nirmal’s Bimmer, it’s the Twilight Purple Metallic paint job that catches your attention before anything else, and this is probably the only one of its kind in the country. This particular M5 is the pre-facelift or pre-LCI model in BMW-speak, and the doc has sourced all the bits and bobs from the updated body kit to the LCI headlights and the grille from BMW in India as well as abroad, to make sure that the car is up to the correct spec. The styling updates also include an M5 CS aero kit finished in carbonfibre, which amps up the aggression, and the sedan sits beautifully on the 20-inch gold bronze forged wheels which are straight off the M5 CS, wrapped in Michelin PilotSport 4 S tyres that give you a glimpse into the car’s awesome performance potential. There’s no ginormous upsize, Nirmal has stuck to the OE sizes in order to not mess with the four-wheel-drive system’s ratios and by extension, the performance, and that sets the tone for this build.
The 4.4-litre turbo’d V8 under the bonnet is the life of the party, and the addition of a JB4 piggyback tuning box from Burger Motorsport transforms the engine’s performance from seriously quick to mind-numbing levels. The tuning box doesn’t simply manipulate boost levels to bump up the power levels on offer, instead, being a plug-and-play affair with the CAN Bus controller. What that essentially means is that the maps can be toggled via the car’s OE switches for the drive modes or the engine sensitivity settings in iDrive, which gives the build a very OE and reliable feel. BMWs have always lent themselves to tuning beautifully, and the technical wizardry is supplemented by an Akrapovic Evolution exhaust with a catted downpipe, which sounds beautifully subtle when you need it to be with the valves closed, and even when the engine is on song, the soundtrack is one of a purposeful thunder rather than being uncouth riot.
An Eventuri intake helps the mill breathe better while liberating a few more horses, and the performance definitely reflects that, with the M5 running on its 100 octane map producing 700bhp and clocking 0-100kmph in 2.87 seconds, that’s over half a second quicker than the ‘stock’ M5 Competition! 200kmph comes up in a shade over 9 seconds, and Nirmal insists that he is running a more conservative state of tune for all-round reliability. He goes on to mention that the engine is capable of putting out nearly 800bhp in its absolute max state of tune, but he respects the power plant’s limitations as well, with the rods on the F90 model engines known to fail should there be too much power on tap. When I ask the doc about any future mods lined up for the M5, he mentions that an upgrade to the charge cooler is in order, to help the Bimmer perform in top shape when he’s taking it for track days at the Kari Motor Speedway in Coimbatore. Nirmal himself doesn’t refer to his car as a sleeper, especially this shade making it appear louder than a certain news anchor arguing during a prime time debate. But in his words, Nirmal refers to the M5 having a split personality, akin to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde with its stealthy businesslike demeanour being replaced by ballistic performance should you indulge in a friendly traffic light GP. Except that Dr Jekyll wouldn’t be bonfiring the rear tyres off a 700bhp daily in his fictional universe ― that’s a fantasy which Nirmal gets to live for real!