The BMW M5 returns with 600hp and drive to all four wheels

21st August 2017
Bob Murray

After 34 years and five generations, the daddy of all super-saloons gets the one thing it’s never had before in the new version announced today: four-wheel drive. The BMW M5 has gone X-rated.


Here is a new M5 – F90 for product code fiends – that gets more of everything and a wider range of capability, blurring as never before the lines between tyre-smokin’ tail-out track monster and mild-mannered all-weathers family saloon. 

At the car’s heart is an electronics network that shows up in the cabin as a raft of M buttons that customise all aspects of the drive. You can even turn off the four-wheel drive.

Here’s what we know so far – with one bite-sized M5 fact for every year of the M5’s life…

1. With 600hp (592bhp) the new sixth-generation model has more than twice the power of the first M5 in 1984. That car was powered by the engine from the BMW M1 and hailed as the fastest four-door production saloon of its time.

2. 600hp is not an M5 record: it’s the same as the special 30th anniversary model of the outgoing range, of which only 300 were built. Regular fifth-gen (F10M) M5s had 560hp.

3. It is the fastest M5 ever, with zero to 62mph in 3.4 seconds. M5 number one in ’84 did 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds.

4. The new car can accelerate from 0-124mph time in 11.1 seconds.

5. The 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 has a 52 ib ft torque boost over the previous model, with 553 lb ft (750Nm) available between 1800rpm and 5600rpm.

6. The V8 is a revised version of its predecessor’s engine with, apart from the power and torque gains, improved lubrication and cooling. 

7. The TwinPower turbos are all new and their response varies according to which drive mode is selected.

8. Top speed is restricted to 155mph and there’s no confirmation (yet) of an M Driver’s Package with unlimited top speed, as there was with the 189mph previous model.

9. There is a new higher final drive ratio, primarily to reduce fuel consumption, which could theoretically extend top speed into the 190s.

10. The new car returns 26.9mpg on the official combined cycle with 241g/km of CO2.


11. Company car drivers will pay tax based on its 241 g/km CO2 emissions.

12. Spot the new car for its redesigned front bumper with enlarged air ducts at the front, and new diffuser at the back.

13. For the first time on an M5 the roof is made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic to save weight.

14. The front wings and bonnet are aluminium.

15. It is taller, wider and longer than the last M5.

16. Despite being four-wheel drive, it weighs slightly less than its predecessor.

17. The latest M5 colour is an intense blue called Marina Bay metallic. Also available are matt colours.

18. M multifunctional seats with more lateral support are now standard and complete with illuminated M5 logos.

19. The new M5 gets a new red start button.

20. There are two more new red buttons on the multifunctional steering wheel: marked M1 and M2, they control the driving settings, including xDrive and DSC stability control.

21. The running gear is a heavily revised and strengthened version of what went before, with handling being tuned at BMW’s Miramas test track in France and the Nürburgring.

22. M-specific variable damper control offers three driving modes: Comfort, Sport, SportPlus, with the same settings available for the M Servotronic steering.

23. The intelligent, torque-sharing xDrive all-wheel-drive system only brings the front wheels into play if the rears lose adhesion.

24. The most dynamic drive setting disables both the xDrive and the DSC stability system for, in BMW’s words, “track use only by experienced drivers”. 


25. BMW says critical to the car’s improved handling and stability is a new domed aluminium front panel that reinforces the front end.

26. Active M differential splits torque distribution between the rear wheels.

27. There’s a super-fast gear change track setting for the new eight-speed Drivelogic automatic Steptronic transmission.

28. The driver can configure the head-up display to show change-up gear-shift lights.

29. There’s a new M Sound Control button to quieten the exhaust (by closing flaps) if the car gets to loud in sports mode.

30. M Carbon ceramic brakes, available as an option, are distinguished by matt gold-coloured callipers with M logos.

31. The new M5 is on sale in the UK from February 2018 at prices to be confirmed.

32. It’s saloon only, unlike the limited-availability M5 Touring version of the second-gen M5 in the ‘90s and the V10 fourth gen’ of the mid-noughties.

33. Its big rival is the Mercedes-AMG E63 S with 612hp (604bhp) which costs from £88,490.

34. The previous-gen M5 is no longer available. The last limited edition 600hp Anniversary/ Competition Edition cars sold for £101,000 each.

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