Rigorous testing is being conducted on BMW's new M5 before it makes its public debut next spring. These shots of the car drifting around the Nordschleife indicate just how thorough these tests are.
What the engineers did was to light up the hot 5-series' rear tires around the historic German circuit. When the bonnet was lifted to plug the M5's powerplant into diagnostic equipment, we got our first glimpse of its new 4.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V8.
Instead of the naturally aspirated V10 that powered the outgoing car, the new car features the forced-induction V8 that can deliver at least 550bhp in the new M5.
This provides more power than the current car's 500bhp and because of its pair of turbochargers, it offers significantly more torque.
When placed in the X5 M and X6 M, this engine generates 501lb ft -- 117lb ft more than that of the outgoing M5. The hottest 5-series that is currently offered is Alpina's B5 Biturbo.
This specialist manufacturer's offering is equipped with a twin-turbo V8 too but its inlet and exhaust systems are different from the expected set-up in the M5. Rather than the B5's eight-speed auto, the M5 is expected to receive a dual-clutch transmission.
Stop-start is featured in efforts to improve fuel economy and cut CO2 emissions. Watch out for the next M5 at the Geneva show next March. But similar to the outgoing car, this debut is likely to be in the form of a design study instead of the full production model.