The next M5 is likely to get four-wheel-drive but with a trademark rear-drive bias, says the chief of BMW’s ‘M’ division, Frank van Meel.
He told reporters at the Paris motor show: “The M5 has to drive like an M5 does today, but with better traction as well.
“If we continue the power increases in the future then probably the next generation M5 and M6 will have so much torque and power that we need to think about those solutions.
“If we go on a direction of four-wheel drive, for us it will really be like a rear-wheel drive with more traction,” he said. In other words, power to the front wheels only when needed.
Observers in Europe say the powertrain in the new M5 is likely to deliver around 450kW (600bhp), but van Meel wouldn’t be drawn on whether it will be development of the current car’s twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 or a more powerful version of the twin-turbo straight-six in the M4.
Given the ongoing European Union clampdown on emissions and the drive towards downsizing, there’s every possibility that a heavily revised straight-six tuned to deliver upwards of 450kW will be used, say Paris show commentators. The engine in the ultimate M4, the GTS, generates around 370kW (494bhp).
Spy pictures of a camouflaged M5 testing at the Nurburgring circuit give very little away, apart from what appears to be a more prominent kidney grille and intake for cooling. The familiar quad tailpipes are evident.
“An M car must have agility, precision, and dynamics. These are cars designed for the track. In motorsport it’s about every gram.”
Some European motoring outlets have already driven prototypes of the standard new 5-Series and especially praised it for its precise steering, a characteristic that will make it way into the M5.
Use of aluminium in the chassis and carbon-fibre reinforced plastic in the body of the standard new 5-Series has reduced the kerbweight by around 100kg.