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In the eyes of most beholders, this appears to be an ordinary 5-series. Look closer…

Note the enormous steel brake discs, the 19” lightweight alloys, the chrome surround air intakes. Then there’s the numerous M5 emblems, discreet yet pronounced in equal measure. All of this integrates neatly with the distinguished kidney grilles and majestic sloping bodylines.

You see the problem. BMW’s M division has long been the linchpin for performance for executive saloons – despite numerous shots across their bows from AMG – and the M5 has long since led the charge. That this new generation model could be mistaken at a glance for its lesser-powered alter-ego might be cause for concern.

We see much the same on the inside. Few ‘M’ appendages can be seen on the beautifully mounted instrument panels and leather seats. As ever, BMW has all the high-quality boxes ticked. Only the gear lever and steering wheel – which, in a particularly neat touch, uses red and blue M colours for the stitching – give the game away. Once again, what we appear to have is a normal 5-series saloon. That is until we examine the beating heart under the bonnet.

The 4.4l V8 engine (with TwinPower Turbo package) produces 560bhp, will sprint from 0-100kph in 4.4s and will hit 305kph. Even on its leash, the M5 will still top 250kph. Suddenly this draws a different picture, one we’re happy to critique extensively. What better way than with a road trip.

Keen to miss the rush hour traffic, we hit the open road at 7am. The V8 rumble that bursts from the exhausts upon pushing the ‘on’ button rubs the sleep from our eyes nicely.

Starting on the outskirts of Dubai, we point the Beemer’s nose towards the 20+km stretch of winding tarmac in the Hajar mountains. Of course to get to the neighbouring emirate, this requires a thirty-minute highway sprint to get the M5 warmed up.

Though neutered in Comfort mode, a deft flick of the ankle sees us at highway cruising speed before anyone can even be bothered to snap their fingers. Road noise is muted but a faintly audible whine from the engine at high(ish) revs demonstrates there’s plenty more available.

The manual limiter stops us testing this theory. Set the limit to a perfectly legal 119kph, then mash your right foot: you’ll hit just short of 120kph easily, but go no further. As well as leaving sleeping speed cameras lie, this system is less alienating for the driver than standard cruise-control, and several clicks whizz past while we have a play.

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James Gent first started as a freelance motorsport writer in the UK, before an urge to be paid a monthly wage saw him move to Dubai in late 2011. A keen motoring enthusiast, he hopes that one day his garage will hold a Lamborghini Countach, as well as a WRC Lancia Delta Integrale.

James Gent

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