Tarmac Superhero

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Also known as the “ACS5 Sport Saloon”,  it saw its world debut at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. Well, this time, we’re climbing behind the wheel of a one locally!

The M5 is no slouch but the best can always get better. The AC Schnitzer upgrades the M5’s 4.4-litre bi-turbo V8 by tweaking its brain and adding a custom exhaust system boosts the power output from 560 hp to 620 hp. The tuning also sees the torque curve being shifted towards the lower range and also increases the peak torque figures from 680 Nm to  and a massive 790 Nm.

We were told that this car is capable of 305 km/h. That is almost three times the speed limit of the expressway up north. You will be required to have the balls that are three times larger than stock to achieve that blistering speed.

The best thing is, it barely looks different from a standard M5 at a glance. But a closer look will identify the front carbon fibre spoiler, a new front grille, a rear carbon fibre diffuser, rear roof spoiler and a discrete rear deck-lid spoiler. More obvious details that give this away as not your average M5? The badging and the exhaust note.

Acoustically, a new nice gruff tone was added to the M5 with the installation of AC Schnitzer’s twin sports silencer with valve control, visually outlined with the chromed tailpipes. This is also accompanied by some unique engine bay styling as well as a trick GruppeM carbon fibre air intake.

The air intake is not just a fancy air box made from exotic materials, it’s a ram air intake, with the scoops located behind the kidney grill. At speed, this forces more air into the system and increases the engine’s responsiveness. More to that, we absolutely loved the induction noise it introduced – an intoxicating whoosh accompanied with the little whine of the turbos spooling.

Is it fast? Well if you need to know the numbers, 0-100 km/h in a little bit over four seconds, but it’s the rolling start where the ACS5 really shines: the torque comes in strongly after 2,000 rpm. We were told that the tuning removes the “torque plateau” of the original tune and the peak comes in at 3,000 rpm. This configuration provides a great hoot for a spirited daily drive!

The ride is further enhanced with a AC Schnitzer suspension spring kit, which lowers the German brute by about 25mm. A mild drop, but this ensures compatibility with the factory adjustable shocks. You can spec AC Schnitzer’s own 21-inch Type VIII forged rims, as pictured here, for better road feedback with the lower tyre profiles. The trade-off? A slightly more bumpy ride.

Customization also extends to the interior, with the i-Drive system controller receiving a  aluminium “black line” cover that is designed to look like the company’s signature Type V rims. A dash of raciness: Aluminium pedals with matching foot rest and floor mats in cushy velour. The possibilities don’t end here, you can stuff an AC catalogue’s worth more!

We’ve driven the stock M5 – it’s an awesome car with class. However, after spending a day grinning madly and giving the ACS5 all the beans we had, this is a different kind of beast. It builds on all the things we liked about the M5 and tops it off with a light dash of “look-at-me”. The AC Schnitzer ACS5 Sport Saloon, its the Hulk in Superman’s outfit.




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