It will definitely have xDrive and definitely use the turbo V8, but there are some blanks still to fill in…

In case the disguised pictures didn’t give it away, this is not the full release of the BMW M5 just yet – we’re still expecting that at the Frankfurt show. However, BMW has chosen to tease us with a few details to sate collective appetites until then, including competitive CO2 and economy figures of 241g/km and 26.9mpg.
This must be the “emotionally enthralling” bit…This must be the “emotionally enthralling” bit…Ah yes, and the fancy new xDrive all-wheel drive system. Like its arch nemesis from Mercedes-AMG, the next M5 will offer a fully variable system that’s selected by the driver. So yes, if you fancy a 600hp (it has to be that, doesn’t it?) M5 with just rear-wheel drive, that is going to be possible. Jolly good.
There are three settings for the M5’s xDrive: 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD. The car defaults to 4WD on start up, said to offer “a certain amount of slip at the rear wheels to produce the agility for which M models are renowned”. Beyond that the 4WD Sport setting is said to allow “even greater agility and sportiness”, combining “absolute precision, delightful handling and phenomenal traction.” It’s designed for dry track use apparently, but then there’s the MDM mode for 4WD Sport, aimed at more committed types. By diverting more power to the rear wheels and allowing more slip, BMW says it allows “the enthusiastic driver to send the sedan into a controlled drift.”

Then if you’re more enthusiastic, the DSC can be turned all the way off. Now this is available in the 4WD and 4WD Sport modes too, but – like the E63 – this is the only way to get the two-wheel drive mode. Call it the hero setting. Or the YouTube notoriety setting. With BMW on such good form for describing these settings, the view on 2WD is that offers “a pure form of driving enjoyment that captivates in its own unique way.” By doing gigantic powerslides, one assumes. God bless you Active M Differential.

Well of course we’re using lots of drift shotsWell of course we’re using lots of drift shotsThe 4WD and DSC settings can be included in the M1 and M2 buttons, presumably along with the gearbox, steering, powertrain and damper configurations. While there isn’t a power figure confirmed yet, the next M5 will use an evolution of the 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 used in the previous model – the turbos and exhaust are new, with higher injection pressure too. The gearbox is an eight-speed automatic.
What else do you need to know for now? Well BMW says this M5 is lighter than the outgoing one, the head-up display is 70 per cent larger than before and the gearbox allow multiple downshifts if you’re in an especially racy mood. Finally, BMW says the 0-62 and 0-124mph times “leave its predecessor trailing in its wake”. Bear in mind the old car did the latter sprint in 13 seconds…

Plenty to be excited by with this latest M5 then, it would seem. Expect more information to be forthcoming as the full debut approaches, and hopefully some undisguised pics too – stay tuned!

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