DEEP in the heart of the Constitution State, thereΆs an area called “DevilΆs Hopyard.” State forest – the land comprises a waterfall that gushes into a ravine that cuts through a narrow valley between two steep ridges. Legend has it that Puritans were convinced/spooked that the perfectly round divots in the rocks below the falls must be marks left from the DevilΆs happy hooves. Hence the name.
In the Hopyard, a road rises, falls, twists, and bends between hillside and river. Devil BMW turf. ThatΆs why we chose DevilΆs Hopyard as our location for the first BMW enthusiast segment back in 2007. Then, it was a test of mettle and viewpoints: did the e39 M5 have the cojones to put down the standard e60 550i? We threw in an M6 for good measure. The M6′s 5.0 L, 510 hp V10 blew in everyoneΆs doors that day.
We concluded, rather diplomatically, that the e60 5er was a flambéed luxe sedan that stepped in favor of Chris BangleΆs new sporting luxury. The Ά07 550iΆs performance specs remained a respectful half step behind the Ά00 e39 M5: the 550iΆs (N62B48) 4.8 L V8 made 360 hp and 360 torques @ 3400 rpm , respectively, versus the M5′s venerable (S62) 5.0 L V8 which produced between 394-400 hp and 395 torques @ 3800 rpm.
With curb weights nearly identical – 3,803 lbs and 3,792 lbs, respectively – simple math assured us that with the same driver, the M5 would eek out a victory on the backroads and in the straights. The M5 was harder and meaner – and the 550i just a little soft, despite strong and able performer.
Now, weΆre on today.
The unduutf8g road through the Hopyard is wet with recent rain.
ThereΆs a briskness to the air so the 245/45 run flat all-seasons on the 2011 BMW 550i arenΆt as pliable as they could be. Proof comes with the hazard indicator blinking away on the instrument display panel. ItΆs probably not helping that every few hundred yards or so the 4,343 pound 550i is catching air.
Looming a second or two behind in the rearview is Richard in his damn-near flawless 2000 BMW M5. The shine on the blue sedan coupled with those amber halo eyes seem to wink for attention. Yes, purists note that RD opted to swap the original headlights to the LEDs that were standard issue in the waning days of the e39.
Continued at ... ADLX: Battle Royale: e39 BMW M5 v. f10 BMW 550i/