“I heard the new M5 has a launch button,” a friend said to us.
“Uh…no, don’t think so,” we replied.
“Seriously, check the manual,” he insisted. “You press this button and hold the shift lever up and just step on it and it takes off. Incredible.”
We checked the manual and found no mention of a launch button, but that's because it's reserved for European-spec M5s. However, U.S. versions of Bimmer’s latest badmobile do have a button marked “M” that immediately sets the sedan up for maximum performance, tweaking the engine, throttle, transmission, suspension and stability control to ensure you have all the car can offer under your right foot. With 500 horsepower and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, it’s a very substantial offering indeed. In fact, it might as well be called a launch button because we could swear our faces distorted like wind tunnel techs or aerial stuntmen when we stomped on the go pedal with “M” engaged.
There’s one button we don’t recommend clicking off – it’s labeled DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) and disables this rocket’s high-tech stability and traction control system. Engaged, DSC metes out power like a belay on a rock climbing rope – you get enough to let you have some fun, but not too much so you get into trouble. Click DSC off and the effect is like letting the rope run freely with you hurtling downward with nothing to prevent you from pancaking on the valley floor like Wile E. Coyote. Not our idea of a good time in an $82,000 sedan.
But the 2006 BMW M5 is about so much more than pure speed. After all, there’re lots of cars out there for less money that can honk on down the highway in a blur. The M5 is special. It’s chock-full of high-tech gizmos that make it exciting and progressive so you feel like the most leading-edge driver on the road.