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For those of us who love the practicality of station wagons, BMW has built what may well be the ultimate appliance: the M5 Touring. The recipe is simple: take one 5-series wagon, plant Bimmer's 507-horsepower V10 in the engine bay, hook it to the 7-speed SMG, and infuse the whole shebang with the style, handling and attitude you've come to expect from a car sporting the "M" badge.

Only this time, the sub-5-second 0-60 time is associated with a car that will happily transport the wife, kids and associated luggage (maybe the family pooch, too) on whatever road trip you happen to dream up. We'd be dreaming up trips to vacation spots that are far away, with scenic, curvy roads connecting the origin and destinantion. Then again, a straight-through blast down I-95 to visit the Mouse would probably be fine, too. We're confident good time would be made.

Alas it's all a dream, because we're not scheduled to get The Practical Man's M5. Actually, with a sticker price of over £67,000 -- the equivalent of $131,000 in the greenbacks -- it wouldn't make it into the average family's garage anyway. That doesn't mean it's not worth swooning over, though. Speaking as someone with the whole family unit + dogs at home, staring at pictures of this thing is the grown-up equivalent of the Countach poster I had on my bedroom wall back when being a grown-up was the furthest thing from my mind.

Press release after the jump.

[Source: BMW]


PRESS RELEASE:
New 5 Series range introduces the ultimate driving estate and brand new efficiency and safety technologies

BMW has announced details of the revised 5 Series Saloon and Touring range, topped off by the new BMW M5 Touring. From its launch in 2003, the E60 5 Series delivered year-on-year sales records and received numerous accolades. The new 5 Series is set to build on that success with more performance, efficiency, practicality and owner appeal. Offering new engine technology to increase performance yet improve economy by up to 25 per cent, and class-leading comfort-focused equipment such as Lane Departure Warning System, the new 5 Series is set to remain the benchmark Executive car.

The new BMW M5 Touring
Powered by the back-to-back International Engine of the Year-winning engine driving through BMW's unique seven-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox, the new M5 Touring offers up to 1,650 litres of boot space for owners needing to move sizeable loads...... quickly.

Performance
With the previous M5 Touring (E34) only available in left-hand drive, the arrival of the new M5 Touring marks the first time the high-performance estate has been offered to British customers. Powered by the same normally aspirated 5.0-litre V-10 cylinder engine as its Saloon counterpart, the new M5 Touring redlines at 8,250rpm. 507hp and 520Nm of torque propel the car from zero to 62mph in 4.8 seconds (only 0.1 seconds slower than the Saloon). Without the 155mph electronic limiter the new M5 Touring would be capable of achieving 200mph while still transporting the largest of loads.

This balance of ultimate practicality and performance is summed up by Lee Connolly, BMW UK's Product Manager for the new M5 Touring "The M5 Touring will be the perfect car for delivering supercar owners' luggage to their holiday homes in France or Spain. Usefully, their luggage will arrive before they do!"

Transmission
These levels of performance are in part made possible by the world's first seven-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox with Drivelogic in a production car. The gearbox features eleven different change patterns to offer the driver a personally-tuned driving experience - six settings vary speed and response of gear change in a manual mode and there are five automatic modes. A Launch Control function delivers the fastest possible acceleration from standstill.

Traction
Like the Saloon, the new M5 Touring features a three-stage DSC+ traction control system. The default mode offers drivers high levels of performance and stability. M Dynamic Mode allows an enthusiastic driver the ability to push the M5 Touring to, and beyond, the absolute limits of traction, permitting some sideslip and countersteering before the system cuts in and is selected in the M Drive Manager (see below). If the DSC button is pressed, DSC+ is completely disengaged.

BMW M's variable M differential also offers the highest levels of driving stability and traction, especially when accelerating out of high-speed corners, with up to 100 per cent of drive being transferred to the rear wheel with most traction. Finally, the Electronic Damper Control (EDC) system offers three suspension settings to complement the prevailing driving conditions.

MDrive Manager packages these programmable settings, so that the touch of a single button sets the car up as required. Like a boy visiting his favourite sweet shop, the M5 driver can select his preferred settings for power, gearbox, EDC and DSC modes, Head-up Display and the degree of Active Seat bolster support, via the iDrive menu. One-touch of the M Drive button on the steering wheel then selects the desired combination and instantly changes the character of the car. One moment the M5 Touring is a placid and practical family car, the next it's more akin to a track day special.

Exterior design
Visually, the new M5 Touring follows BMW M's philosophy of high performance shrouded in the body of a standard car with discreet styling enhancements that highlight the potential under the skin. The larger front air dam, side sills, monikered side gills and a rear valance with BMW M's quad tailpipes protruding all hint at the performance of the world's most dynamic estate car.

Interior
Internally the new M5 Touring features the same enhancements as the 'standard' 5 Series (see below) as well as offering the Active Seat bolsters from the M5 Saloon. In addition, the Touring variant comes with BMW's innovative iDrive control system with new short cuts - eight freely programmable buttons for instant porgramme selection. Finally, music aficionados can now specify the BMW Individual High End Audio system that uses 16 loud speakers to generate an ear-ringing 825 watts.

The new BMW M5 Touring starts production in March 2007 and will be priced at £67,075 on the road.

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