BMW’s new M5 super-saloon has been spotted testing again ahead of its August reveal; it'll do battle with the 2017 Mercedes-AMG E 63

The next-generation BMW M5 will be revealed this August with a variable all-wheel drive system and an uprated V8 engine producing around 600bhp, making it the most technically advanced car to wear an M badge yet.

In the run-up to its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show, the car is undergoing high-speed testing at the Nürburgring, where it has been spotted this week wearing new design features including larger front air intakes to supply its twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine with more air.

BMW M5 prototype review: super saloon goes four-wheel drive

Despite being based on the current car's unit, power for the 2018 5 Series flagship (which has been imagined without covers by Autocar in the picture below) will be substantially increased from the old model's 552bhp, overtaking the limited-run 592bhp M5 Competition Package as the most potent M5 yet and aligning the car closely with its archrival, the latest Mercedes-AMG E 63, which has 603bhp in its fastest guise.

The car will use a specially developed version of BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system - the first time one has been used on an M5 - that uses a multiplate wet clutch located in the gearbox on the output to the front driveshaft. It provides a continuously variable split between front and rear axles to enable advanced torque vectoring.

This will improve agility and performance, but also enable more fuel efficient running in less aggressive engine modes. In total, the car will have up to five driving modes, including an M Dynamic setting where 100% of torque will be sent to the rear wheels, accessed through buttons mounted on the steering wheel.

This widened flexibility for the car's drive systems will be enhanced with the fitment of an eight-speed automatic gearbox in place of the outgoing car's seven-cog system. The new torque-converter 'box will be based around the standard ZF-produced gearbox used in other 5 Series models.

The BMW M5 has been shown in new leaked images. Click here to see them.

This long list of technical upgrades will make the new M5 the fastest accelerating and most dynamically capable M5 yet, with the old car's 4.3sec 0-62mph time due to be beaten by close to a second thanks to the new car's improved traction and peak outputs. Top speed will again be restricted to 155mph, although an optional M Driver’s Package will enable buyers to raise it to 190mph with new engine management software and the fitment of Z-rated tyres.

BMW senior vice-president Hildegard Wortmann told Autocar earlier this year that the model will make as significant a step forward from its predecessor as the latest 7 Series has, both in terms of performance and technology.

Details of the new M5’s chassis set-up remain under wraps. However, engineers involved in its development say it adopts a largely bespoke double wishbone (front) and multi-link (rear) suspension system, together with new electro-mechanical steering that includes the active rear-steer function available on selected 5 Series models. Its body structure was leaked onto the internet in CAD drawings last year.

Along with the rest of the 5 Series range, the next M5 will feature an evolved exterior 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 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.

Following its reveal and public debut, the car will go on sale at the start of 2018. Insiders have said the tech-heavy model will be priced higher than the outgoing model, so a starting figure approaching £80,000 is possible.

Additional reporting by Greg Kable

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Comments
11

18 April 2016
More power, more torque, more electronic gadgets, more driving aidz....the M5 will be a better couch to pop some chips and coke while burning fuel in 10mph traffic. Vanity.

No manual - no fun

26 April 2016
I can live without the manual, but can't live with the synthesised engine sound track of the current car, which presumably this one will inherit. It will be a soulless technofest, rather like a Panamera.

Wouldn't it be great if they did a modern take on the E39 M5, n/a V8, 550 bhp, that noise, no driver aids. Thats why the original C63s were so loved, but the world doesn't work that way anymore. Suppose I just have to dream on....

28 May 2016
Why continue to ride slower and slower, with a soulless engine and music synthesizer? Put the turbos and two cylinders in the trash and rebuild a modern M5 E34.

13 October 2016
The M car(s) has become a gin palace all that driver aid stuff belongs in the luxo 550/m/d models etc why would you pay all that money for am M car in the first place to have a computer drive the car for you..even just parking it which to me is a sort of measure of your control of the car..if you can't park it then you probably shouldn't own it. Leave that sort of thing for audi drivers.

31 March 2017
Full agree with the comments above; the thing sounds dreadful; probably the worst in the BMW range after the four cylinder diesels. If Mercedes and Audi can make a turbocharged V8 sound good why can't they? I find it arrogant. "They'll just have to take what we give them and like it."

31 March 2017
This is typical Autocar now. Utterly passionless reporting of an unfolding tragedy.

2 April 2017
Why all the fuss?,600bhp,after market tuners have been getting way more than this !,plus,is manual all that relevant nowadays?,they change way faster than your average driver,some auto blip,rematch cal it what you will,there's even Radar on the five series that changes gear for you by using Satellite Navigation to optimise mpg,I guess for the purists a manual is a must,they had manual in the states yet an auto here,no,time to move with the times,the next ten years cars are going to change a whole lot.

Peter Cavellini.

11 May 2017
Should be an option until each and everyone has been convinced that auto is the future.

Cheers!

16 May 2017
The auto changes gear beautifully once you're on the move. The stop start function catches it out a fair bit of the time, though, when it is slow to engage gears. It then sets off with a bang from the transmission from time to time. The things sound absolutely pants with the synthesised noise sounding like a very wimpy V10.

16 May 2017
High performance cars are fast becoming a soulless techno-fest. It's not just about absolute power, grip or performance, unless you are trying to overcompensate for insecurity about something. Those are nice to have, but they aren't the main reason for buying these cars. They have to be engaging and entertaining to live with, or you might as well stick with the 520d. AMG and M cars have been fun, but I'm having to buy American cars nowadays to get anything with actual character. I like my V8s naturally aspirated and big, thanks.

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