2018 BMW M5 spy shots

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A new generation of the BMW 5-Series is just around the corner, and with it will come a new M5 sledgehammer. We now have more spy shots of a prototype for the new M5.

Our photographer confirms that the engine fitted to the car is a V-8, likely to be an updated version of the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 used in the current M5. This engine produces as much as 600 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque in the M5 30 Jahre Edition, built last year to celebrate the nameplate’s 30th anniversary, and we expect similar figures in the new M5.

Instead of upping power significantly, the engineers are likely to be more focused on reducing weight. Thanks to the adoption of the modular 35up platform that debuted in the 2016 7-Series, the new 5-Series should weigh around 220 lbs less than the current model, and similar weight savings should also benefit the new M5. The current model’s curb weight has bloated to as much as 4,123 lbs. Higher strength steels and carbon fiber-reinforced plastic are used in the 35up platform to help shed the weight.

Beyond the new platform, another dramatic change for this generation of the M5, the F90 to all the hardcore fans, will be xDrive all-wheel drive, most likely as an option. The information was confirmed earlier this year by M boss Frank van Meel, a former Audi quattro employee. He explained that the all-wheel-drive system to be employed will normally send torque to the rear wheels, only sending some forward when slip is detected. The standard transmission is likely to be a seven-speed dual-clutch unit. It’s not certain yet if a conventional manual will still be offered.

As for the design, a look inspired by the latest 7-Series is a given. From the spy shots, we can see a very wide and low front bumper flanked by pumped fenders. We can also see part of the lower intake and the hexagonal mesh pattern the engineers have selected. At the rear, a small diffuser has been integrated with the bumper unit. Inside the massive wheels are equally massive perforated brake discs.

While the new 5-Series is expected this year, we’re not expecting this M5 version until sometime in calendar year 2017, meaning it will likely arrive as a 2018 model. However, in BMW M tradition, we may still see a thinly-veiled concept version prior to the launch of the production model. Direct rivals include the Audi RS 6, Cadillac CTS-V and Mercedes-AMG E63.

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