The new 5 Series flagship is set to offer a choice between rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive for the first time. It is tentatively due to be unveiled at the 2017 Geneva motor show, with a developed version of BMW’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine under the bonnet.
Like the current car, it will use a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, but the engine's peak output is expected to increase from the 552bhp and 502lb ft of torque of today’s model.
Along with the rest of the 5 Series range, the next M5 will feature an evolved design that takes influence from the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé concept of 2013. Photographed development cars confirm it’ll get a more heavily raked rear window and a sloping boot deck, giving it a sleeker profile and more shapely rear end than the current model.
Inside, much of the car’s dash design will resemble that of the new 7 Series, and it'll also get 48-volt electrical architecture to enable advanced autonomous driving systems. A self-steering mode will operate up to a pre-determined speed, and a sophisticated anti-collision system and fully autonomous braking will also be available.
In-car technology will come from BMW’s fifth-generation iDrive system, as used by the new 7 Series. It supports new touchpad and touchscreen functions, allowing passengers to operate features in a similar style to that of a smartphone, with familiar pinch, point and swipe commands, or alternatively via an updated rotary dial mounted on the car’s broad centre console.
Insiders suggest the tech-heavy 2017 M5’s price could increase slightly compared with the current model, so a starting figure of around £75,000 seems likely.
When it arrives, the M5 will rival the next-generation Mercedes-AMG E63, which is also due to be launched in 2017. That car will use the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 engine from the GT sports car, but with peak power increased to as much as 600bhp.