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First look: BMW’s new M5 breaks out

Coming soon: The next-gen BMW M5 sports sedan will make its debut in Shanghai.

All-new BMW M5 revealed as a thinly veiled concept ahead of Shanghai debut

BMW logo5 Apr 2011

By MARTON PETTENDY

BMW has broken the official shackles of its next-generation M5, which will make its world debut at the Shanghai motor show in precisely two weeks, before it hits Australian showrooms early next year.

The Bavarian brand’s long-awaited answer to Mercedes’ bahn-storming E63 AMG sedan, which will be joined in China by the world debut of the all-new 6 Series Coupe, was presented to selected members of the media in Munich on the weekend.

Full details and images of the redesigned 6 Series Coupe, which is due on sale here around the same time as the F10-series M5, were released three weeks ago, while the M5 will appear in Shanghai as a thinly disguised concept version of the production car.

No official technical details have been provided, with BMW saying only that the 2012 M5’s “high-revving V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo technology generates the power output required for outstanding performance”.

The move to a heavily reworked version of BMW’s existing twin-turbo 4.4-litre direct-injection V8 – which is already seen in various states of tune in everything from the (hitherto) range-topping 550i sedan, 550i GT, upcoming 650i Coupe and Convertible, 750i, X5 M and X6 M – is expected to deliver significantly more performance than those models, as well as the previous E60 M5.

14 center imageSold here between June 2005 and November 2010, that model’s astronomical 5.0-litre V10 produced 373kW and 520Nm of torque, while BMW’s twin-turbo V8 delivers as much as 408kW and 680Nm in the X5 and X6 M models.

Expect the new M5 to eclipse the outputs of both of the M division’s SUVs by serving up about 420kW and 700Nm, while also lowering the M5’s fuel consumption figure by up to 25 per cent courtesy of a lower-displacement engine and a fuel-saving idle-stop system.

It will mark a return to V8 power for the M5, which in E39 series guise was powered by a naturally aspirated 4.9-litre bent-eight that developed 294kW and 500Nm. The long-running 1999-2005 E39 – the last M5 to offer a conventional manual transmission – was BMW’s top-selling M5 until the E60, which attracted no fewer than 20,548 buyers.

Unlike the old M5 (and Alpina’s version of the F10 5 Series), which was available only with a seven-speed automated manual SMG transmission, BMW’s latest high-performance large luxury sedan will drive through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, which should come with four driving modes - Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus and M Drive.

Visually, the BMW M5 concept scores a more aggressive front bumper and wider front quarter guards with trademark chrome-rimmed side air-vents and LED repeater lamps.

Differentiating the new M5 from lesser F10 5 Series models at the rear is a deeper bumper with downforce-generating rear diffuser, a subtle bootlid spoiler and a pair of twin exhaust outlets.

Also providing a clear pointer to what the production M5 will look like are exclusive black twin five-spoke 20-inch alloy wheels wearing 265/35 ZR20 tyres at the front and 265/35 ZR20 tyres at the back. Naturally, the M5 will come with a lower M-specific ride height and beefier brakes.

The new M5 will top the new 5 Series sedan range that went on sale here in May 2010 and currently comprises the 520d, 528i, 535i, 535d and 550i.

The Concept M5 will make its world premiere in Shanghai on April 19 alongside the global debut of the 6 Series Coupe and the Asian debuts of the BMW Vision ConnectedDrive roadster coupe from last month’s Geneva motor show and the 1 Series-based BMW ActiveE.

Also making its Chinese debut will be the facelifted 1 Series Coupe and Convertible range, which goes on sale here in June – a month before BMW stages the global launch of its all-new 1 Series hatch range, which arrives here in October. BMW’s new 6 Series Convertible hits Australia late this month.

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