For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Porsche Panamera are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The BMW M5 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Panamera offers all wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The M5 doesn’t offer all wheel drive.
Both the Panamera and the M5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Panamera third among large premium cars in their 2011 Initial Quality Study. The M5 isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are better in initial quality than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 13th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2011 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Porsche vehicles are more reliable than BMW vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Porsche fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 50 more problems per 100 vehicles, BMW is ranked 21st.
The Panamera Turbo’s standard 4.8 turbo V8 produces 16 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 500) than the M5’s 4.4 turbo V8. The Panamera Turbo S’ standard 4.8 turbo V8 produces 53 lbs.-ft. more torque (553 vs. 500) than the M5’s 4.4 turbo V8.
The Panamera S4/Turbo’s standard fuel tank has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the M5 (26.4 vs. 21.1 gallons).
For better stopping power the Panamera Turbo’s optional front brake rotors are larger than those on the M5:
The Panamera offers optional heat-treated ceramic brake rotors, which last ten to twenty times as long as conventional cast iron rotors, don’t rust, don’t fade during repeated high speed braking, and their lighter weight contribute to better braking, handling and acceleration. The M5 doesn’t offer ceramic brake rotors.
The Panamera offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. BMW doesn’t offer an active suspension on the M5.
The Panamera has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Panamera’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The M5 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Panamera is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the M5.
For better maneuverability, the Panamera’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the M5’s (39.3 feet vs. 41.3 feet).
The Porsche Panamera may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 50 to 450 pounds less than the BMW M5.
The Panamera offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The M5 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Panamera offers an optional rear wiper. The M5 doesn’t offer a rear wiper.
The Panamera will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the Panamera will retain 49.52% to 56.38% of its original price after five years, while the M5 only retains 41.25%.