2016 BMW M5 spotted for the first time

We’ve already seen BMW‘s new 5-Series undergoing testing on the road, but this is the first time we’ve seen the super-hot M5 version, due at the start of 2017. The new Audi RS6 rival is set to finally get four-wheel drive in the UK, and power will soar past the 600bhp mark.

The prototype has been seen at familiar stomping ground for the M5; BMW’s track testing centre at the Nurburgring racetrack. As usual the camouflaged prototype gives few details away, but evident is the more prominent front grille and intake designed to increase cooling. The wheels, likely to be non-standard, hide the required huge brake discs, while the familiar quad tailpipes are proudly displayed.

In terms of propulsion there’s plenty to speculate on. Some sources suggest the current 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine will remain with some fettling to improve emissions and fuel economy. That engine, albeit in detuned form, will continue to be used in the 2016 7-Series, and the M5’s fuel economy and emissions are already class-leading so it’s far from out-of-date.

But with the continual clampdown on emissions and the drive for downsizing, there’s every possibility that a heavily turbocharged V6 could be used, possibly even with hybrid electric assistance. Considering the i8 sports car uses a three-cylinder hybrid powertrain, it certainly isn’t out of the question. What we can predict with near-certainty is the power will increase over the 600bhp mark.

Also likely is that the new M5 will get an ‘XDrive’ four-wheel drive option for the first time. In our exclusive interview with the head of BMW’s M-division Franciscus van Meel, we were told that “probably the next generation M5 and M6 will have so much torque and power that we need to think about those solutions (to traction issues).”

However van Meel insisted that “if we go on a direction of four-wheel drive, for us it will really be like a rear-wheel drive with more traction.”, with a rear-biased setup than can send power to the front only when required. Use of aluminium in the chassis and carbon-fibre reinforced plastic in the body of the standard new 5-Series will reduce the kerbweight by around 100kg, and we can expect the same from the new M5. That should mean performance moves up a significant step.

Are you looking forward to the new BMW M5 hitting the showrooms? Let us know what you think in the comments section below…

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