June 24th, 2012

BMW’s 30,450,000 grain, 227 fps 4-Wheeled Bullet

In a masterful piece of Madison Avenue magic, BMW portrays its M5 “super-sedan” as the four-wheeled equivalent of a speeding bullet. In this clever, CGI-enhanced marketing video, an M5 is “shot” from a giant barrel. It then speeds across the Bonneville Salt Flats towards a giant bullseye — just like a bullet heading toward a target. Along its path, the M5 shatters a giant apple, and then slices through three giant water balloons. Far-fetched? Yes. But the illusion is superbly-crafted, making for two very compelling minutes of movie-making.

Watch BMW Video

Measuring the BMW M5 in Bullet Terms
How does the M5 measure up compared to real bullets shot from real rifles? With a 66.9″ body width, the BMW M5 is a 1700mm projectile. When we convert the M5’s rather porky 4350-pound curb weight* to grains, we find the M5 weighs an astonishing 30,450,000 grains. (Yes that’s 30.45 MILLION). The M5’s electronically-governed top speed is 155 mph. That equates to 277.33 fps — pretty slow by ballistics standards. A typical hunting projectile flies ten times as fast. And even a 9mm handgun bullet travels four times as fast.

M5 ‘Knock-Down’ Power More Than Adequate for Big Game
When it comes to knock-down power, a speeding M5 beats even a 50 BMG bullet hands down. At 500 yards, a 750gr A-Max fired from a 50 BMG has about 8625 foot/lbs of retained energy (this assumes 2700 fps MV).

By contrast, with a terminal velocity of 277.33 fps, the 4350-lb BMW delivers 5.199 Million foot/lbs of retained energy. We think that’s more that enough “hitting power” to cope with any size North American game. But there are certainly some “Zombie” Hunters who might still wish for more power.

How about trajectory? Well we can’t answer that one for you. Last time we checked, Bryan Litz had not calculated the G1 or G7 BC for a BMW M5, so we can’t figure the car’s come-ups using JBM Ballistics. Still, we’re sure that, if BMW gave Bryan an M5 to play with, he’d be happy to spend a few months gathering “data”. But we do suspect it might be a bit challenging to get a 4350-lb sport sedan to fly through the sky-screens of Bryan’s chronographs.

*BMW M5 curb weight based on Car & Driver Report and 7000 grains per pound conversion.

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