As BMW has already revealed, the next generation of the BMW M5 (F90) is a four-wheel drive high-performance sedan with overwhelming power output and torque at its disposal. However, it was recently revealed that the next M5 was initially conceived as a rear-wheel drive sedan.
This was divulged by Dirk Hacker, vice-president of BMW’s M division, to Autocar. According to Hacker, the first prototype for the BMW M5 (F90) that was built over three years ago was a rear-wheel drive vehicle. He remarked that back then, having a rear-wheel driven M5 was the natural, “historic way to go.” The M5 has been – for the past five generations – a rear-wheel drive high-performance sports sedan.
Nonetheless, BMW M changed its mind. As Hacker disclosed, the M Division realized that they were beyond the limits of longitudinal acceleration. This means that adopting a four-wheel drive system for the sixth generation of the BMW M5 was the only option.
This development resulted to the creation of the BMW’s first ever all-wheel drive M5. In particular, the system in the new M5 is a new M xDrive developed by BMW M. The new M xDrive works with a central transfer case with multi-plate clutch and, as desired, transmits drive variably between the front and rear axle. Interestingly, the M xDrive comes with three different modes (4WD, 4WD Sport, 2WD) that work with three Dynamic Stability Control modes (DSC on, MDM, DSC off) to offer five different driving configurations.
The base setting had the DSC on and was 4WD operational. The M Dynamic configuration, meanwhile, has the MDM and 4WD Sport modes activated, allowing for easily controlled drifts. The other three configurations have the DSC switched off for each of the three M xDrive modes. Interestingly, one of the configurations (DSC off and 2WD) transforms the new BMW M5 into a pure rear-wheel drive sedan, allowing drivers to still enjoy the driving dynamics offered by the previous generations of the high-performance sports sedan.
Power for the new BMW M5 is sourced from a 4.4 liter biturbo V8 engine that delivers around 600 hp (447 kW) of output and 553 lb.-ft (750 Nm) of torque, as sent through an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic gearbox. With this amount of power, the next-gen M5 could sprint from zero to 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds, and achieve a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). The optional M Driver’s Package could raise the top speed even further to 189 mph (305 km/h).
BMW opened the order books for the BMW M5 in September 2017, with a price tag of EUR117,900. Deliveries are expected to commence in spring 2018.