BMW M5 Design: Aesthetic and athletic – a precision blend


Familiar M design language based on the sporty yet elegant proportions of the BMW 5 Series Sedan.

  • Bespoke details directly influenced by technical requirements.
  • Impressively resolved overall package represents an expression of outstanding conceptual harmony.

BMW M5 2012

On the race track the new BMW M5 is every inch the high-performance sports car, but it also impresses on the journey there and back with the steady assurance and comfort of a premium-segment business sedan. The conceptual harmony for which M cars are renowned sees its qualities in these disparate environments brought together into a compelling overall package.

The design of the body faithfully showcases the standout characteristics of the new BMW M5. The dynamic proportions and stylishly authoritative appearance of the BMW 5 Series Sedan has been further enhanced by the addition of M-specific design features. The carefully selected modifications are geared precisely to meeting the technical demands of the car, making them a central element of the high-performance Sedan’s overall concept. The car’s extraordinary potential is highlighted subtly and with impressive authenticity by the distinctive design elements on its front, sides and rear end.

Key elements of the car’s typically BMW proportions are its long bonnet, broad wheelbase and set-back passenger compartment. Powerfully taut and precisely contoured surfaces underline its air of stylish assurance when viewed from the side. The roof line flows dynamically towards the rear and into the clearly defined, classical sedan boot. The design elements created specially for the BMW M5 body are influenced directly by technical considerations – such as the extra air required to feed and cool the engine and high-performance brakes, the wide track of the chassis and the specific measures introduced to optimise the car’s aerodynamic efficiency.

Front apron: dynamically formed intakes ensure precise airflow and optimum cooling.

The design of the front apron clearly embodies the supreme power of the new V8 engine. The contour lines of the bonnet converge in a V to the brand’s hallmark double-kidney grille with customary M black slats, whose wide-spread arrangement emphasises the cooling air requirement of the engine behind the grille, as do the three air intakes in the lower section of the front apron.

The size and form of the air intakes are tailored precisely to the specific cooling system of the new BMW M5. They ensure a sufficient supply of air, even in extremely hot conditions, to not only cool the engine, engine oil, transmission oil, turbocharger and charge air, but also to maintain the temperature required by the power steering fluid and engine management unit.

The arrangement of the air intakes over various levels creates an impressive depth which underlines the dynamic, forward-thrusting appearance of the Sedan. The functional significance of the forward-projecting central aperture is emphasised by the width of the car, which spreads out towards the road surface, and the protruding form of the contour lines.

The two side air intakes, meanwhile, have a dynamically curving form. Positioned far to the outer edges of the car, they emphasise its wide track and fill the spaces in the front apron the BMW 5 Series Sedan normally reserved for foglamps. At the lower edge of the front end, air-channelling flaps developed on the race track ensure optimised aerodynamics.

The airflow is channelled precisely around the underbody of the car as well. A specially sculpted contour lip helps to guide the inflow of air underneath the car onto the horizontally-mounted engine oil cooler. It then flows along the engine shield until it hits the Venturi front end, which is angled to accelerate the airflow and therefore counteract aerodynamically detrimental turbulence around the underbody.

The standard-fitted bi-xenon headlights of the new BMW M5 generate daytime running light with visually unique LED light rings. The indicator lights positioned on the car’s outer edges each consist of 10 LED units. LED accent lights cut across the top of the customary BMW twin round headlights to perfect the intent look – both during the day and in night-time driving – characteristic of BMW models.

Prominently flared wheel arches, three-dimensional gills, eye-catching side skirts.

The long wheelbase, set-back passenger compartment and high-gloss black side window borders clearly accentuate the stretched silhouette of the new BMW M5. Muscular flared wheel arches spotlight the wide track, which helps give the car its unshakable roadholding and impressive lateral acceleration. Wheels sitting flush with the bodywork and lowered suspension – a gift from the specially tuned chassis – enhance the car’s sporting presence when viewed from the side. The model-specific 19-inch M light-alloy wheels in double-spoke design also assist in this regard. The lightweight construction of the optional 20-inch forged rims is highlighted by their five slim double spokes. This design clears a line of sight to the high-performance brakes with six-piston fixed callipers, hinting at the precision with which the driver can adjust the car’s handling.


Elsewhere, the front side sections carry a fresh take on the hallmark M gills. The three-dimensional shaping, a wide chrome frame and the free-floating look of the indicator bar, which bears the M logo, give the intakes an extremely deep-set look. This underlines the functional role of the gills, which, on the car’s left flank, for example, aid heat dissipation from the coolant circuit’s expansion tank.

The aerodynamically optimised form of the exterior mirrors is emphasised by a horizontal crease. The mirror casings are painted in body colour, the mirror base and lower edge in high-gloss black. The form of the mirror casings has been optimised in the wind tunnel according to the specific airflow characteristics generated by the BMW M5 body.

The side skirts of the new BMW M5 also have a design very much of their own. A particularly powerful bulge at the back end of the skirts and a crease rising slightly to the tail divert the eye to the rear wheel arches – and therefore to the driven axle of the high-performance model.

Broad, powerful tail generates optimum airflow.

The design of the tail provides an effective expression of the superior sports performance and supreme roadholding of the new BMW M5. As with the BMW 5 Series Sedan, the focus on the car’s width through the predominance of horizontal lines is lent additional emphasis by an athletically formed rear apron. The bespoke rear apron of the M5 provides a fluid transition into the wide wheel arches, drawing even more attention to the drive forces channelled through the rear wheels.

A diffuser integrated into the lower edge of the rear apron provides efficient airflow through the back end of the underfloor section. A signature M feature of the new BMW M5 is the twin-pipe exhaust system, whose tailpipes are positioned wide to either side of the diffuser and have likewise aerodynamically formed surrounds. The subtle gurney-style rear spoiler on the boot lid also aids the car’s aerodynamics by providing additional downforce at high speeds, in particular, and therefore contributing to the Sedan’s assured handling at all times.

The L-shaped rear lights fit the brand’s template, down to the distinctive night-time look. Three LED-powered light strips shape the face of the characteristically homogeneous units, and the direction indicators and braking light are also fed by LED units. The reflectors are arranged immediately below the rear lights. This is higher up within the rear apron than they are situated on the regular BMW 5 Series Sedan and accentuates the car’s powerful, muscular form particularly strongly.

Customers can choose from eight exterior paint colours for the new BMW M5. These include the exclusive M variants Monte Carlo Blue metallic, Silverstone metallic and Singapore Grey metallic.

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