The sixth generation BMW M5 Saloon has been unveiled ahead of its launch that will take place in February 2018. The new M5 features an upgraded V8 engine and a new M-specific, all-wheel drive system known as M xDrive. Key to this heightened level of performance is the introduction of M xDrive and its adaptability thanks to a central control module and the variety of different dynamic modes that can be selected. When first started, the car is in four-wheel-drive mode with the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) switched on. But it comes with various driving dynamics modes, up to a track-friendly pure rear-wheel drive without DSC.
Power comes from the latest 4.4-litre V8 engine with TwinPower Turbo technology. It delivers a 600 hp and 750Nm of torque from 1800-5600 rpm, an increase of 70 Nm over its predecessor. The model can now accelerate from 0-100 kmph in just 3.4 seconds, making it the fastest M5 yet. Power is transferred via a new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic. The engine characteristics can be changed by pushing the Drive Performance from the basic setting ‘Efficient’ to ‘Sport’ and ‘Sport Plus’, both of which provide a faster turbo response.
Improved lubrication and cooling systems include an oil pan with a small front silencer and an indirect charge air cooler, which is more powerful than its predecessor, despite its smaller size. The oil supply, which is operated by a variable pump, is designed for racing track applications and allows high G acceleration with no risk of oil starvation. The exhaust manifolds have also been modified to ensure the best transfer of exhaust gas energy into the two turbochargers. Through the use of a resonator between the two rear silencers, the M engineers have also reduced the car’s mass. The exhaust note is flap-controlled and is influenced by the different driving modes to enhance the driving experience further. An M sound control button allows the driver to reduce noise levels at the push of a button.
Power is transmitted to the road via the newly developed M xDrive all-wheel drive system. M xDrive brings the front wheels into play only when the rear wheels reach their limits of adhesion. The main components of M xDrive are based on the intelligent all-wheel drive BMW xDrive system and Active M differential, controlled by a central M-specific vehicle dynamics control system. The drivetrain is stiffer and stronger than the previous model, while the transfer case constantly controls the torque distribution between the front and rear axles. The Active M differential splits distribution of the drive between the rear wheels. With M xDrive, the DSC intervenes only when necessary in extreme situations, so that the high engine power can be converted almost without power loss.
Enthusiastic drivers can configure M xDrive at any time according to their needs. In the default setting with DSC and 4WD switched on, the new M5 is similar to the typical M rear-wheel drive dynamic characteristics when accelerating out of a corner. The traction of the all-wheel drive system also provides impressive acceleration values from 0-100 kmph in 3.4 seconds and 0-200 kmph in 11.1 seconds. If the driver switches to M Dynamic mode (MDM, 4WD Sport), the M5 becomes sharper and more agile. More torque is fed to the rear axle and the rear wheels give more wheel slippage. This allows controlled drifts and playful handling, but with controlled oversteer. The pure rear-wheel-drive 2WD mode is designed for track use by experienced drivers and is dedicated entirely to pure driving pleasure without restrictive control systems.
The new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic allows fully automatic shifting in “D” mode and sequential switching in “S” mode. This is possible both with the new short gear selection switch on the centre console as well as via M-shift paddles on the steering wheel. The shift characteristics of the gearbox can be changed via the Drivelogic gear shift lever on the gear selector. Drivelogic Mode 1 stands for efficient driving with comfort shift times. Mode 2 supports fast driving with shortened shift times. Mode 3 is optimized for track driving with extremely short shift times. Those who prefer manual shifting in “S” mode can also make multiple downshifts to the lowest possible gear, for example when braking into tight corners.
Much of the testing for the new F90 M5 took place on the in-house race track in Miramas in France, as well as on the toughest chassis test track in the world, the Nordschleife of the famous Nürburgring. A few other highlights of the new M5 include M xDrive, eight-speed M Steptronic transmission with Drivelogic, M-specific variable damper control (three driving modes: Comfort, Sport, SportPlus) with electronically controlled shock absorbers and M Servotronic steering (three driving modes: Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus).
The tyres for the sixth generation M5 were specially developed, with 275/435 R20s at the front and 285/30 R20s at the rear. They are mounted on light-metal cast double-spoke bicolour wheels. These wheels are also optionally available in Jet black. Brake pads have been developed using a special M compound, characterized by lower weight compared to conventional cast iron brakes. At the front and rear, perforated and internally ventilated brake discs are mounted within blue-painted six-piston callipers with an M logo designation. M Carbon ceramic brakes are also available as an option, distinguished by matte gold-coloured callipers with the M logo designation. BMW M Carbon ceramic brakes have even better performance, less fade and improved thermal stability.
Design wise, the new BMW M5 is specific to M. For example, the redesigned front bumper with its enlarged air openings has the task of supplying the cooling systems and brakes with sufficient cooling even in race track applications. The track width is greater than the car’s predecessor, the front wings are aluminium for weight reduction and carry characteristic M-sport cooling gills. The bonnet is also made of aluminium, while the roof consists of a very light and stable carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) – the first time such an innovation has been used in an M5. The rear diffuser was also redesigned, while the M-specific rear apron and the M rear spoiler, coupled to purposeful sill panels, all enhance the sporty and powerful appearance of the M5. The exterior mirrors are also M-specific and designed dynamically. The hexagonal, central air intake is not only separate from the side air intakes, but also integrates the oil cooler.
The focal point in the M5 is the driver’s seat, from which all switches and buttons can be operated. All vehicle functions are located in the driver’s field of vision. The large digital display from the BMW 5-Series was reconfigured specifically for M. It informs the driver about dynamic modes, the all-wheel drive M xDrive and the Drivelogic setting. The speed warning alarm is adjustable and shift lights inform the driver when it is the optimal time to change gear in manual shift mode. The data can also be reflected in the head-up display. Almost all of the dynamics systems can be configured via the central touch-screen display, centre console button and M-Sport steering wheel. The central information display also has a gesture control.
The M5 is now started with a red start button, marking out its sporting intentions, while two red lacquered buttons M1 and M2 next to the shift paddles on the M multi-function steering wheel control the driving settings, including xDrive and DSC, as well as engine, transmission, damper and steering characteristics, plus the head-up display. The M multi-functional seats are now offered as standard and provide better support in the shoulder area. The seats also offer lateral support for keen drivers, with an illuminated M5 logo, finished in Fine grain Merino leather. The seats feature electric adjustment, seat heating, and a memory function. The seat depth can be electrically adjusted, along with the seat backrest width.
The new M5 is available in a variety of exterior colours, some of which are exclusively reserved for the model. A brand new shade is Marina Bay blue metallic, an intense blue colour. Also available on request are matte colours such as Frozen Dark Silver or Frozen Arctic Grey.