For those searching the new car market for a large and really fast saloon, the BMW M5 may be one of the first options that come to mind. While the M5, starting at nearly £75,000, is incredibly fast and has a luxurious interior, it’s not necessarily the car to suit all super saloon enthusiasts.
Perhaps you’d prefer something more powerful, more affordable or just want to be different. If any of this applies to you, then this is the guide you want. Here’s our rundown of five alternatives to the BMW M5 worth looking at.
Audi RS 7
A high-performance version of the A7 Sportback, the RS 7 is hard to miss on the road with its big and bold coupe-esque body and the roar from its 4.0-litre turbo petrol engine. Offering a whopping 552bhp (like the latest M5), the RS 7 also utilises Quattro four-wheel drive and a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox. The result of all this is a stunning zero to 62mph sprint time of 3.9 seconds – compared to 4.3 for the standard M5.
The engine in the RS 7 is not only really powerful, it’s clever too. It features cylinder-on-demand technology which can automatically shut down four of the engine’s eight cylinder when little power is demanded, improving fuel economy and lowering CO2 emissions in the process.
Other strengths of the RS 7 include the plentiful grip offered in all sorts of conditions by the Quattro set-up, the extensive standard kit list and its feel of exclusivity as this Audi is a rare sight on UK roads.
Lexus GS F
Lexus created the F version of its GS saloon very much with beating the BMW M5 in mind. Compared to the German saloon, the GS F is a little bit cheaper and considerably lighter overall. Under the bonnet of the Lexus is a 471bhp 5.0-litre V8 petrol engine.
Rather than focusing on pure speed and agility, Lexus decided that the GS F should excel at creating a lot of noise and excitement. If that sounds like your sort of thing, then that’s plenty of reason to give this Lexus a closer look.
The Lexus GS F can certainly offer lots of drama, but it’s also at the same time one of the most precise handling and responsive saloons on the market.
Mercedes E63 AMG
One of the M5’s fiercest rivals, the Mercedes E63 AMG saloon offers dramatic styling and an even more flamboyant engine – a 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8 with 549bhp. The noise and torque you can get from this monster saloon can be incredibly intoxicating.
In standard form, this Merc covers the 0-62mph sprint in just 4.1 seconds, which is two tenths of a second less than the M5.
The E63 AMG isn’t just all about the engine, however, it can also be pretty civilised, offering a roomy cabin filled with high-quality materials and numerous luxuries. Like the M5, the E63 AMG can be sensible or dramatic when the circumstances suit.
Tesla Model S
In some ways the Tesla Model S is radically different to the BMW M5, with the powertrain being the most obvious difference. While the M5 has a twin-turbo V8, the Model S relies on battery-powered electric motors. How powerful those motors are depend on what specification of the Model S you go for of course.
If you go for the standard 70D model you’ll get 325bhp, but the range-topping P85D offers an incredible 682bhp and an ‘Insane mode’ function which put the zero to 62mph sprint time at just 3.1 seconds.
Travel range is projected somewhere between 275 and 330 miles and there’s zero emissions at all times. The Model S also has saloon-esque practicality. In fact, it’s hard to think of another saloon that feels as roomy within as this Tesla does.
The electric powertrain does automatically make this quite a bold choice of alternative to the M5. But the Model S is an interesting car, with the tech and performance to rival or even surpass the BMW saloon.
Jaguar XF S
The Jaguar XF S is really in a lower league than the M5 when it comes to power and performance, but perhaps you don’t have the budget for the BMW and it is more in the region of, say, about £50,000. If that’s the case, then the XF S is well worth considering as a ‘cheaper’ alternative.
With either a 296bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel or a 375bhp 3.0-litre V6 petrol under the hood, the XF S is no slouch. The 0-62mph time is a respectable 6.2 seconds with the diesel or just 5.3 with the petrol V6.
The XF S is also great to drive, delivering very responsive handling, an enjoyable ride and smooth gear changes from its eight-speed automatic transmission.