There are some things that we assume are certain in this world. The sun rises in the east, freshly buttered toast always lands upside down when you drop it on the kitchen floor and the BMW M5 is always, always, always launched down the road by the rear wheels only.
That’s what we get for assuming. While the sun most definitely rises in the east and I’ve peeled far too many pieces of buttered toast off of the kitchen floor to doubt the second assumption, BMW have just shattered the third belief.
The new 2018 M5, revealed in camouflage form recently, will not only have a 4.4-liter twin-turbo spinning out 600+ horsepower and 500+ lb/ft of torque. It will also be driven by BMW’s new M xDrive, a rear-biased AWD system that looks to be a lot of fun. No manual transmission available. You’ll get an 8-speed, torque converter Steptronic slushbox and you’ll like it. Boy, will you like it.
Using a special center differential and a ton of software witchery, the new M5 will function primarily as a rear-wheel drive car, with the front wheels only receiving power when needed. Bump the settings to 4WD M Dynamic Mode and you’ll dial in a little more tire slip, allowing you to steer even more with the throttle while still having the performance benefits of all four wheels being driven when needed.
It’s still not an M5, though, if you can’t boil the tires right off of the wheels. If rubber destruction is your goal, switch off the Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and dial it over to 2WD mode. The center transfer case disconnects and all power goes to the rear’s Active M Differential. Lurid, smoky slide mode activated.
BMW indicates there are other changes to the interior to make it sportier and better laid out but haven’t released any pictures. Admit it. When it comes to the M5 are we really concerned about all that stuff anyway?
We’ll see the real deal at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. We should get firmer horsepower and torque numbers, a full view of the cockpit and pricing at that time. Until then, try and keep the buttered side up.