Hot diesel 5-series to get a triple-turbo engine, 650lb ft and four-wheel drive
5 September 2011

BMW plans to unveil a new diesel-powered version of the BMW M5 next spring, Autocar has learned. The diesel variant of the M5 will be a triple-turbo monster that will also adopt all-wheel drive to make sure that it can put its power to the road. This modified X6 may be the car in which the new motor is currently being tested.

Senior sources have confirmed rumours of the first oil-burning M car, which will be powered by a 3.0-litre in-line six using a small turbo to handle launch and two more twin-scroll turbos once the car begins to build up speed.

See spy pics of a modified X6M

Although it will make slightly less horsepower than the new petrol-powered BMW M5, the final numbers are likely to be in the 500bhp to 550bhp range. Torque, meanwhile, will exceed the 500lb ft of the new petrol M5 by a considerable margin — and could push north of 650lb ft.

To handle those tyre-spinning forces, “you have to go to all-wheel drive,” explained one senior BMW official. “Otherwise you’ll be spinning your tyres all day”.

For the record, M brand global marketing manager Brian Watts confirmed only that the maker is looking at a diesel M car because it “certainly has some interesting potential”. But senior sources confirmed that the project is well underway and that perhaps the biggest uncertainty is over the nomenclature that the new car will ultimately use.

More in line with the new 1M, it appears likely that the diesel performance car will bear a nameplate along the lines of 550dXM — the ‘d’ for diesel and the ‘X’ for all-wheel-drive in BMW lingo.

Significantly, although the diesel is slated to find its first use powering the 5-series, BMW sources say that it should eventually show up in other models, likely including the X5 and possibly even the 7-series.

Paul A Eisenstein

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