Official teaser campaign of the sixth-generation BMW M5 is underway ahead of its first scheduled public debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Whilst based on the all-new G30 5 Series, the new M5, in keeping with current practice of BMW M, carries its personalized internal chassis code F90.
Despite being powered by a 4.4-litre V8 like its predecessor, the new F90 breaks plenty new ground where the M5 nameplate is concerned. For the first time since the original E28 was launched in 1984, we will have an M5 distributing power to all four corners as opposed to purely driving its rear wheels.
It will also be the first M5 to have a torque converter in its transmission, the previous model’s 7-speed dual clutch ‘box ditched in favour of the ZF 8HP 8-speed conventional auto that has been in use in mainstream BMW models since 2010 – with more aggressive M-tuned shift maps, of course.
The M5’s new transmission and driveline configurations are known for some time. These two changes have sparked considerable debate among enthusiasts, but they are entirely necessary to accommodate outputs that have been boosted past the 600hp and 700Nm thresholds – because all-wheel drive is needed to safely put all that power on the road and there isn’t a dual clutch gearbox robust enough to handle those outputs.
The heavily-improved 4.4-litre V8 under the all-new M5's bonnet is built on the same block as the predecessor's engine, but armed with new turbochargers, improved lubrication and colloing, plus a modified and lighter exhaust system. The direct injection system is also beefed up to squirt fuel into the combustion chamber at higher pressures.
The official number has yet to be revealed, but suffice to say, the new M5 will be faster from 0 to 100km/h than the M550i xDrive (3.8 seconds) and the Alpina B5 Bi-Turbo (3.5 seconds), both by derivatives of the same BMW 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine. The old F10 M5 managed 3.9 seconds in its most powerful 600hp/700Nm 'Competition Edition' configuration.
The new M5’s M xDrive system enables fully variable front-rear torque distribution and works in tandem with the Active M Differential that helps shuffle power between the two rear wheels. It is a different setup from what is currently employed in the X5 M and X6 M models. The electronically-controlled system offers three operating modes –
- 4WD: The default safe setup for all situations.
- 4WD Sport: Increased rear-biased traction. Permits a greater degree of rear-wheel slip but still with the added safety net of all-wheel traction. Activated in conjunction with M Dynamic Mode.
- 2WD: Returns the M5 to the familiar RWD configuration. Can only be selected with stability control switched off.
An unprecedented amount of computing power will be managing the various on-board functions of the all-new BMW M5. A centralized processor unit controls both the central and rear differentials as well as the vehicle’s stability control system to deliver optimized dynamics at all times.
Just as the mainstream G30 5 Series, the all-new F90 M5 also embraces a high amount of lightweight materials in its construction concept notably featuring a carbon fibre roof panel. Despite the added burden of an AWD drivetrain, the F90 tips the scales lighter by an unspecified amount over the rear-wheel driven F10 M5.