What is it?
The sixth-generation BMW M5. The car to which, somehow, BMW’s M Division has added the driveshafts and controllers and clutch plates and joints and everything else necessary to so contentiously switch its long-serving super saloon idol from two driven wheels to four. That has also been made larger in every dimension than the car it’s succeeding; that has a more powerful, torque-laden turbocharged engine, too, and the most sophisticated electronic chassis control system that any of BMW M’s performance saloons and coupes have ever had.
All of that is true - and yet this car is also lighter than its simpler, rear-driven immediate predecessor. Admittedly, only by 15kg – but still; it’s lighter. That’s where we are. You can replace a two-wheel drive performance car with a four-wheel driver in 2018, and save weight. My ghast is well and truly flabbered.
But will it stay that way? And would yours, after a good, fast cross-country blast on British roads in this 591bhp fast four-door? Has the aforementioned big switch been made with the delicacy and care we’d all hope for?
If you’ve been a follower of the M5 for the better part of its remarkable three-decade-long history, you can look forward to a full Autocar road test workout on the new car and a separate group test get-together with a couple of likely adversaries in the coming weeks. By the time both are done and dusted, there will be no room for doubt in any important area.