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Model S Performance vs BMW M5

Discussion in 'Model S: Driving Dynamics' started by CapitalistOppressor, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. CapitalistOppressor

    CapitalistOppressor Active Member

    Jun 18, 2012
    #1 CapitalistOppressor, Jun 29, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
    Edited 8/30/12 to include current track data and reflect what we now know.

    I came across some haters loudly and obnoxiously claiming M5 has drastically better performance than Model S Performance (They compared themselves to Sig Perf to give themselves a price advantage, but the real competitor is the regular Performance model).

    They literally were saying "how can some stupid little car company in California come up with a car even remotely as good as the M5, which major competitors like Mercedes and Audi can't even touch." Didn't seem crazy to me in terms of speed comparisons but I am very pro Tesla ATM so argued my points anyways. Basically, I was confident that Model S handles better, so I argued it wouldn't embarrass itself on a road course.

    In terms of facts, I knew that at least one customer review wrote that Model S Performance "felt" faster than his M5 even though its not actually a faster vehicle. He said the Model S Perf felt "like a rocket ship" while the M5 felt like a "bucking bronco" (Turns out it was faster. 2013 M5 is much faster than previous model years, and 2013 M5 is fairly closely matched to MSP.). I got curious as to the actual performance of the two cars and found some interesting stats. So, lets start with the basics that everyone looks at.

    Model S Performance
    Weight ~4600lbs
    Accel - Factory reports 0-60 in 4.4 seconds - Edmunds reports 4.3 with no rollout, MotorTrend reports 3.9 with 12" rollout.
    Horsepower - 416
    Torque - 443 ft-lbs
    Price - $84,900

    BMW M5
    Weight ~4300lbs
    Accel - Factory reports 0-60 in 4.3 seconds with DCT - Edmunds reports 4.3 with MT, 4.1 w/DCT no rollout. Car and Driver and MotorTrend report 4.0 MT and 3.7 DCT with 12" rollout.
    Horsepower - 560 @6000RPM
    Torque - 502 lb-ft @1500RPM
    Transmission - 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shifting mode, or manual transmission.
    Price - $92,000

    Based on testing by Edmunds and MotorTrend, it's clear that the 0-60 times of these cars are virtually identical if M5 is equipped with a manual transmission, while M5 with the DCT can be a couple of ticks quicker. Except.

    M5 is an ICE vehicle. Take a look at that DCT transmission. An automatic with a manual paddle. Peak torque at 1,500RPM, peak HP at 6,000 RPM. A reviewer who says Model S Performance "feels" faster, like "a rocket ship" while the M5 feels "like a bucking bronco". Still, he thinks M5 is faster and the 0-60 is 0.2 seconds faster (with DCT) which makes him right for 2013. Except.

    M5 achieves the 0-60 time using a computerized launch routine. Here is the Car and Driver Test Notes regarding that launch control -

    So think about that for a second. Model S Performance has an electric drive with the following attributes. Linear acceleration and access to ALL of its torque at any time. So now to the key stat, provided by Car and Driver on its instrumented test.

    The M5 has a 5-60 speed of 4.6 seconds ... !!

    5-60 means a rolling start as opposed to the computerized launch from a complete stop that is only useful in a drag race. Consider that for a moment.

    Model S Performance has linear acceleration with 100% available torque at any speed. It can't rev its engine to some arbitrary peak performance number then launch to win a drag race. Linear acceleration means a smooth linear curve. If the Model S accelerates from a rolling start it should get to 60mph quicker than it would if it started while standing still. I *think* it will do it in a bit less than ~4.1 seconds, though I have no data to back that up yet.

    Regardless, I think its an open question as to just how QUICK the M5 is (MotorTrend thinks MSP is probably quicker, sorry M5 :crying:). It will clearly beat a Model S Performance in a drag race, or in any top speed measurement. However, that is only if the M5 is equipped with DCT. Against a manual transmission I'd bet on MSP in a drag race. MT equipped M5 has been clocked doing a 1/4 mile in 12.4 seconds, vs 12.5 for MSP. But the 12.4 is with a weather adjustment. When you race head to head the only thing that matters is who reaches the end first, not your temperature and altitude adjusted time.

    Also, I would be remiss if I didn't point out M5 is working VERY hard to match or exceed MSP in a drag race. Using the computerized launch control or popping your clutch is a fairly brutal act and neither your transmission nor your clutch will love you for it. The only mechanicals between the Model S motor and the wheels are the differential, which is mechanically more robust than a clutch. And M5 is much more reliant on skill and split second timing. It's just much harder to screw up when all you need to focus on is stomping on the accelerator.

    Both of these cars handle almost equally well (M5 turns slightly better, while MSP has better brakes), and it looks highly likely that MSP can out accelerate an M5 coming out of turns, and really though most of the performance envelope on a road course.

    With it's best in class brakes and electric powertrain, I'd feel fairly comfortable betting on the Model S Performance in a road race. The M5 driver would have to be exceptional to keep the car in the meat of its power band at different speeds and in turns, while the Model S driver just needs to keep the car under control. So it really is "bucking bronco" vs. "rocket ship".

    Or maybe I'm wrong .. :wink:


    2013 BMW M5 Road Test Car and Driver
    World Exclusive! 2012 Tesla Model S Test and Range Verification - Motor Trend
    2012 Tesla Model S Track Test


    Here is the original Review from Rowan which helped inspire this thread and my argument with the Tesla haters. Turns out that he owns an M6, not an M5, but it was a great review and I have zero doubt that the Model S Perf would pwn the M6 even easier than M5.. :p (see note)

    Rowan Trollope | Test drive - Tesla model S - AWESOME

    Note - Subject to such pwnage occurring in an environment that lacks long straightaways where top speed becomes a factor :)

    Here is data from MotorTrend -

    		                Base Price 	Weight 	        Power   0-60 mph 	60-0 mph 	Lat grip
    BMW M5 	                        $92,095 	4384 lb 	560 hp 	3.7 sec 	110 ft 	        0.94 g
    Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG 	$96,805 	4256 lb 	550 hp 	3.9 sec 	113 ft 	        0.92 g
    Porsche Panamera Turbo S 	$176,275 	4388 lb 	550 hp 	3.5 sec 	105 ft 	        1.00 g
    Tesla Model S P85 	        $105,400 	4766 lb 	416 hp 	3.9 sec 	105 ft 	        0.92 g
    Quote from MotorTrend Article -

    Edmunds Inside Line -

  2. widodh

    widodh Model S 85 and 100D

    Jan 23, 2011
    Venlo, NL
    This will be settled when some person with a Model S Perf bumps into a M5 owner.

    They will make a nice video, place it on YouTube and we can all watch the M5 being owned :)
  3. spatterso911

    spatterso911 P100DL - Raven

    Mar 3, 2012
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Having owned a few versions of the M5, I can say that it has evolved wonderfully over it's lifetime. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed each version (some purists despise the E60 variant over the E39 as blasphemous), but what really sets the previous and current model on another tier is it's top gear power. The car just has spunk for as long as you can push it. I know that the car can handle 180+ mph speeds and still have more power. The F10 (current model) fixes one of the biggest gripes about the M5 (low end torque) at the expense of the normally aspirated - high rev concept, but provides more useable acceleration in city driving. I can tell you that it is possible to get smoked by a mini cooper or similar at a stoplight just because the car could not gather enough torque quickly from a dead stop. The F10 would most definitely never have that happen. I wouldn't bet against an F10 M5 vs a Model S Performance if I were you.

    The M5 is a quintessential performer on the track for sedans, and routinely beats its major competitors, regardless of their better 0-60 times (practically useless data IMHO).

    Now, probably the biggest question for the Model S Performance is how it would perform at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. A lap time of less than 7:55 would best the current M5 and set the tone to discuss the power and handling. For now, too many unanswered questions re: steering and traction at the limit to be able to say with any confidence how it would perform against an M5 at the track.
  4. Johann Koeber

    Johann Koeber Active Member

    May 1, 2012
    Schweinfurt, Germany
    Thanks for compiling all the data.

    How is the gas consumption on an M5?

    Just curious.
  5. spatterso911

    spatterso911 P100DL - Raven

    Mar 3, 2012
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    17 city/22 highway
  6. Frank Herfjord

    Jan 7, 2012
    Numbers mean nothing and you can argue until the cows come home. What matters is real world performance. I think it's time Tesla put the model S through some laps on a track to compare - like Laguna Seca.

    I'm thinking the Model S performance should be able to pull more Gs in the corner than the M5 thanks to the weight distribution. But the M5 probably has better brakes, and the lower weight will help. Who has the stiffer chassis? Does the M5 have double wishbone suspension? What are the wheel dimensions on the M5 compared to the S performance wheels? There are just an incredible number of factors that can decide whether a car is fast or slow. The only numbers that can give a true measure of performance are lap times, everything else like 0-60 are just parts of the equation. The torque levels are so different between the two cars that even that doesn't make too much sense.
  7. loganss

    loganss Spaceman

    Mar 6, 2011
    It's too bad the chances of the STIG taking the Model S around the Top Gear track any time soon is slim to none.
  8. Blurry_Eyed

    Blurry_Eyed MS Sig #267, MX Sig # 761

    Dec 29, 2011
    #8 Blurry_Eyed, Jun 29, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2012
    First, I find it wonderful that the Model S is even able to evoke comparisons to such amazing cars like the BMW M5 and the Audi A7. It tells us that Tesla has hit it's mark in creating a premium sedan that people will start to look at as a great car, not an electric vehicle. Another thing to keep in mind when having debates with people who are comparing an ICE vehicle to the Model S is it's an amazing achievement for what you could argue is basically only a 2nd gen vehicle to even be in the same league as the M5 or A7. BMW has had decades to refine the M5 and internal combustion technology has had decades to mature and reach higher and higher levels of performance and efficiency. Same with Audi. They have had decades to build on the shoulders of all the research and development that has been poured into internal combustion technology as well as all the other systems related to automative transport.

    Now I think the best argument is that ICE vehicles are on the flatter end of the development curve. They don't have a whole lot of potential upside in terms of efficiency or performance (at least that's my totally uninformed opinion, not being a car guy). Where as the sky is the limit at this point in time with Tesla and EV's in general. Elon said himself that actual, known battery improvement will be happening over the next 5 years at a rate of 8-10%. I don't think there is any way that the efficiency of a gasser is going to improve at that rate over the next 5 years (unless you slap on a hybrid system, which is basically a nod that the move to electric is a necessity). Usually the people who debate you will just go to their fail safe argument that either the range/recharge time is not sufficient for them or that the cost is too much for the performance you are getting. On one level they are right. Perhaps if you want to drive your car all day like a race car and be able to pull into your pit stop (Gas station) and immediately get back out on the road and drive like a banshee, then with the current tech (even with a 30 min supercharge) the Model S is a 'failure'. But that is not the point of the Model S. It is meant to be a great car for every day driving that rivals the great GT cars of the world and a great car for the occasional times when you need blistering performance of the likes of an M5 (if you get the performance model, though the standard Model S is no slouch in the performance and handling arena!).

    If I recall my history correctly, the whole BMW M division was started in 1972 (meaning there is over 40 years of development history there vs. roughly 9 years for Tesla) and they were initially focused on developing racing cars for BMW. I've never driven a M5, but I would assume there are some compromises in terms of ride compliance, comfort and every day drivability in order for it to perform like it does. From what I've read and what people have commented on, the Model S does not have those compromises. It doesn't have to because of the power train it uses and the technology it employs. So all this to say is that if the Model S is even close to the M5 right now, it is a stunning achievement, but my opinion is that the Model S performance is a superior car to the M5 when you look at all the elements, not just performance. Just imagine in 5 years what the Model S will be like. It most likely will put all the arguments to rest in terms of comparisons to cars like the M5 or A7 or what ever else is the best of the best at that future date.

    Think about this, it's only been 5 years since the introduction of the iPhone and look at how is has changed the mobile computing market and how it has evolved in that period. Can Tesla have that kind of impact? Don't know, but it will be great to see what they can do over the next 5 years!
  9. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

    Apr 3, 2009
    Well... A buddy of mine has an M5.... And there's a strip 25 minutes away.... Haha they're going to see my mug all summer there. I'll try to get him to come out to a grudge night and compare (thought its only straight line acceleration)
  10. ElSupreme

    ElSupreme Model S 03182

    Jan 13, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    Both of these courses have straight stretches where the lack of top speed will make the Model S times look abysmal.
  11. W8MM

    W8MM R1.5 #325 + Mdl S #01380

    Jan 5, 2007
    Cincinnati, USA
    ^^ This!

    Our Roadster 1.5 can suck the headlights out of any car with real license plates attached up to about 40 MPH. What a hoot! No practice required to slip, then dump, the clutch. No worries about bogging the ICE motor with poor selection of initial RPM. My CAT could repeatedly obtain perfectly launched acceleration runs.

    However, if I'm driving in freeway traffic over 50 MPH, the competition is much stronger. Cars like 5.0 liter Mustangs are problematic. I don't even try to impress other drivers at 70 or above. The torque is falling off as RPMs rise (due to back-EMF effects of electric motors), and beating the wind out of my way consumes a whole bunch more of what is left. By 100 MPH, ICE performance cars can pass me like I'm tied to a stump.

    It'll be interesting to see how the Model S's behavior differs (if at all) from the Roadster in performance vs. speed.

    Since the Nordschleife has lots of high-speed straight bits, even Sabine Schmidt may have a hard time breaking much below 9 minutes there. BTW, she almost got a delivery van down to 10 minutes!
  12. meloccom

    meloccom Moderator Aus/NZ

    Feb 11, 2008
    Sydney Australia
    I think a great idea for a video to launch Model S in Europe, would be to have a Model S Performance time trial around the Nurburgring. Ben Collins, the previous stig, versus Sabine Schmit the Nurburgring Queen.
    Split the screen and you could compare both drivers technique and see where each was faster.
    I think this would go viral.
  13. Zextraterrestrial

    Mar 11, 2010
    Humboldt/Los Altos
    Model S is pretty good from 60 -100 - much better than the roadster from what I've heard
    I imagine the Roadster will beat the S off the line then the S will kick just keep coming and tie it at the 1/4 mile mark and then blow it away up to 130mph
    (It seems like the S has a bit more that they are holding back for longevity of components and Battery, I didn't notice peaking at 320kW but I was trying to pay attention to driving too)

    I really, really want to see the skidpad #'s Anyone?
    Do they need to have the car tested by a 3rd party for that?
  14. WhiteKnight

    WhiteKnight _____ P85 #549 _____ Sig Red / Sig White

    Jun 27, 2011
    Someone else pointed out on this site (maybe it was you ;-)) that the Model S Performance and Roadster have identical quarter-mile times and the Roadster is faster 0-60 so by definition the Model S has to be faster from 60-100.
  15. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2006
    CA CA
    It looks like the Roadster will beat the Model S in the 1/8th mile but The S will be victorious in the 1/4 mile.

    I remember that Car and Driver had the Roadster as the fastest car they ever tested from 40 to 60.
  16. J in MN

    J in MN S60 P12635

    Jul 23, 2008
    And that is the biggest disadvantage of a single speed transmission. One could probably find a different, non-production final drive ratio that is optimized for a particular track.
  17. TEG

    TEG TMC Moderator

    Aug 20, 2006
    Hey, long time no see. Welcome back! I enjoyed your post! :biggrin:
  18. Jason S

    Jason S Model S Sig Perf (P85)

    Apr 20, 2012
    Rocklin, CA
    The M5 has 1/4 mile speed at 122mph with 12.0 seconds flat.

    I think by most measurements the M5 has the crown for pure power. You may need some skill to put that power to the ground properly, but it has the numbers.

    So if you want to beat the M5 on a track you need to have one that forces many corners and doesn't have enough straight road to let the M5 above 130mph. Then the expected better cornering from the S and the lack of skill required to speed up and slow down will put the S ahead for the track time.

    But I think you still need to give the M5 its due -- it is definitely more powerful.
  19. dtich

    dtich #P708

    May 31, 2012
    Los Angeles
    so, speaking of this... i have been daydreaming about the possibility of (bribing a tesla employee, who shall remain forever nameless, for) removing the top speed limiter. what do you think the car can actually do? the performance model of course... what would be the downsides to attempting this, say, on motor heat and wear, etc.? do you think the actual engine system firmware will be 'hackable' to achieve this aftermarket?

  20. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

    Apr 2, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    I was told at the event that the Roadster would win the 0-60, but the Performance S and Roadster would tie at the 1/4 mile. Take that with whatever grain of salt you need...

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