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Full details: BMW’s new M5 uncloaked

M5 comes alive: BMW M division's newest model features a rear lip spoiler, diffuser, quad exhaust outlets - and some 412kW.

BMW reveals key performance and technical details of cracking new M5 super sedan

15 Jun 2011

BMW has revealed first images and almost all key performance data for its bahnstorming new M5 super sedan, which is claimed to crack 100km/h in just 4.4 seconds on its way to an unbridled top speed of 305km/h with an optional M Driver’s Package.

That makes the first turbocharged M5, which BMW says can also hit 200km/h in only 13 seconds, three-tenths quicker to 100 than its V10-powered predecessor (4.7 seconds) and 0.4 seconds quicker than the M3 Coupe (4.8), retaining the F10-series M5’s position at the top of BMW’s performance tree.

However, at least on paper, the fifth-generation M5 – which emerges identical to the BMW Concept M5 that debuted at the Shanghai motor show in April - will take one-tenth longer to hit Australia’s national highway speed limit than its upgraded arch-rival, the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG sedan due here a handful of months earlier in November.

And, while the Mk5 M5 is easily the quickest M5 as well as being slightly faster than the 2012 E63 (300km/h with a similarly optional AMG driver’s Package), its top speed falls short of the 330km/h offered by its derestricted forebear.

No kerb weight figure has been revealed, but with the F10 gaining weight across the board and the similarly twin-turbo V8-powered 550i sedan – which has topped the redesigned 5 Series range here since June 2010 – weighing 1830kg, the new M5 could be heavier than the 1855kg E60.

The secret to the new M5’s more rapid pace is quite clearly its twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 that has now been confirmed to deliver 412kW between 6000 and 7000rpm and 680Nm of torque from as little as 1500rpm and to as much as 5750rpm.

The first V8 M5 engine since the 1999-2005 E39’s 294kW/500Nm 4.9-litre bent eight therefore packs 10 per cent more power and 30 per cent more torque than the previous (2005-2010) M5’s 373kW/520Nm 5.0-litre V10, even if it doesn’t brandish the latter’s 8000rpm-plus redline.

Delivering 4kW more power but the same peak torque as the closely related 408kW/680Nm V8 in the M-badged X5 and X6 wagons, the 4395cc M TwinPower Turbo engine is also a development of the 300kW/600Nm engine in the 550i sedan and GT, new 650i Convertible, 750i limousine and X5/X6 xDrive50i.

14 center imageIt features a pair of twin-scroll turbos, direct-injection, cross-bank exhaust manifold and Valvetronic variable valve control to make 2kW more power than the 2012 E63’s similarly downsized, force-fed 5.5-litre twin-turbo V8, which delivers 386kW/700Nm, or 410kW/800Nm in ‘Performance’ guise.

Apart from the E63, the next M5 will face competition from another new large luxury sports sedan in Jaguar’s facelifted XFR, which arrives in Australia in October featuring new interior and exterior cosmetics but no change to its 375kW/625Nm supercharged 5.0-litre V8, which offers the same 4.9-second 0-100km/h acceleration.

Audi will present S6 and then RS6 flagships for the all-new A6 line-up that launches here in July, but expect the new M5 to be priced somewhere between the 2012 XFR ($210,990) and outgoing E63 ($240,985).

Despite producing higher outputs and quicker acceleration than its forebear, the 2012 M5 is also 30 per cent more fuel-efficient at 9.9L/100km, thanks to the standard fitment of idle-stop and brake energy regeneration systems, and other EfficientDynamics technologies.

That falls slightly short of the facelifted E63’s 9.8L/100km official fuel consumption figure, although the Euro 5-compliant M5’s stated CO2 emissions figure of 232g/km narrowly undercuts the latest E63’s (230g/km).

Key to the new M5’s efficiency is a variation of the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission seen in the M3, which is not to be confused with the seven-speed single-clutch automated manual fitted exclusively in the old M5.

Operated via paddle shifters on a leather-clad M steering wheel, the M Double Clutch Transmission (M-DCT) features launch control, Drivelogic, full manual override, traction-optimised automatic gear selection, low-speed assistance (crawl), an automatic park mode and an M-specific gearshifter.

It transmits power to a new Active M (rear) Differential with an electronically-controlled multi-plate limited-slip function that can deliver up to 100 per cent locking action.

Although the E39 - BMW’s top-selling M5 until the E60, which attracted 20,548 buyers – was the last M5 to come only with a conventional manual gearbox, there is speculation the F10 could, like the E60, become available as a six-speed manual in the US.

Beneath the next M5’s subtle bodykit, there is a unique chassis set-up including M-tuned Servotronic steering, and damping and stability control systems adjustable via an M Dynamic setting.

Like lesser 5 Series models, the new M5 will be able to program chassis and engine settings via steering wheel buttons, but also adds the ability to change diff performance and to program two individual set-ups – up from one with the outgoing model’s M Drive button.

Standard M5 additions include an M-specific instrument cluster with black-panel technology, a new-design leather-covered centre console, M sports seats with Merino leather trim, exclusive Aluminium Trace interior trim strips, BMW Individual roof liner in Anthracite, power-adjustable steering wheel, four-zone climate-control, M-specific head-up display, Xenon headlights and ambient lighting.

Beefier brakes with blue callipers and 19-inch double-spoke M light-alloy wheels will be standard - instead of the 20-inch alloys seen on the Shanghai concept - but the next M5 will be available with a host of options from the 5 Series sedan.

In Europe, they include Comfort Access, M multi-function seats, active seats, automatic soft-close doors, automatic boot opening and an electric glass roof.

Naturally, there will also be a host of driver assistance options from the BMW ConnectedDrive menu, including Adaptive Headlights, High-Beam Assistant, BMW Night Vision with pedestrian recognition, Lane Change Warning System, Lane Departure Warning System, Surround View, Speed Limit Info and internet access.

It is not yet clear whether BMW plans to release a wagon version of the fifth M5 since 1984, to replace the E61 M5 Touring sold between 2007 and 2010.

But the M5 will eventually be topped as the quickest BMW – not by the 2013 i8 plug-in hybrid super-coupe that sprinted to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds while returning just 3.76L/100km in concept guise, but by the upcoming TwinPower M6 Coupe.

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