BMW’s M performance car division will give the seventh-generation M5 a new hybrid drivetrain that is set to boost its reserves to “over 700bhp” and offer “limited electric drive compatibility”, a source close to the German car maker has confirmed.
Due on sale in 2024, the new super-saloon is among a series of M models that will switch from a conventional petrol engine to plug-in hybrid power in a move that will provide it with a hike in power and performance.
Details remain scarce more than two years out from the new M5's launch, but Autocar has received information that suggests it will adopt a rear-mounted electric motor among a raft of major engineering changes.
The in-house-produced synchronous unit is claimed to operate in combination with a further-developed version of BMW's twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 engine used by today’s sixth-generation model and codenamed the S63.
The adoption of the electric motor is set to increase the M5’s reserves by more than 200bhp and up to 220lb ft to somewhere in the region of 790bhp and over 737lb ft of torque. The recently revealed Concept XM – which previews a production car due next year – packs 740bhp courtesy of a similar arrangement.
As with today’s BMW M5, drive will be channelled through an eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox with steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles, while a fully variable xDrive four-wheel drive system will bring a distinctive rear-biased apportioning of power in the car's more performance-focused driving modes.
Early installations of the drivetrain in prototype versions of the new M car are said to use a lithium ion battery similar in capacity to the 12.0kWh unit found in the BMW 545e xDrive. Mounted low beneath the rear seat, it operates at 354V and can be charged at up to 11kW.
Whether it will be used for production versions of the next M5 remains to be seen, although suggestions are that BMW M is developing its own performance battery with ultra-rapid discharge properties.