A BMW rep has reportedly confirmed that the next-generation F90 BMW M5 will come with a long-rumoured all-wheel drive system to handle the massive power that will almost certainly come from its twin-turbo V8, according to Australian portal GoAuto.
Munich product expert Sven Arens told the publication that the ‘Bahn-storming super sedan will come with an advanced version of the company’s xDrive system – the first in BMW M’s history – with a significant rear bias compared to the standard version. “Yes, all-wheel-drive. 20:80 [torque] split,” he said.
Arens said the system was needed because BMW has reached the limits of rear-wheel drive performance. “Make the calculations yourself. Engines have become so powerful. For a reasonable saloon car, the cut off is 700 Nm of torque on two driven wheels. With the current M5 we are at 680 Nm and thanks to the fact that we use Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, it can get all the traction and all the power on the ground.
“If we are now stepping up to 600 hp, which means we are going to go beyond 700 Nm of torque, only if you would use a [Michelin Pilot Sport] Cup 2 tyre would you be able to transfer that to the ground. But then it means your customer would come in every 5,000 km for new tyres. They won’t be very happy,” he said.
Arens cited the most powerful V12-powered Mercedes-AMG models and the Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat as prime examples of cars that have breached the limit for two driven wheels. “Look at what Mercedes does, in their cars that have 1,000 Nm it’s only available from fourth gear, its limited to 700 Nm in first, second and third gear. So you need to cut it off, because otherwise it just turns into smoke.
“Look at the Hellcat, switch off the traction control system, and you’re not going anywhere. For two-wheel-drive, the limit has been reached, the next step must be all-wheel drive.”
An all-paw M5 would be able to hold its own against the upcoming Mercedes-AMG E 63, which is expected to be available solely with all-wheel drive. The Audi RS6, on the other hand, is quattro only, while Jaguar could also offer the XFR with its own AWD system as an option, following in the footsteps of the F-Type R.
Also confirmed are some of the engine’s provisional specifications, and they’re in line with what everyone has been expecting. “It is going to be a V8, obviously,” Arens said. “Double turbo. Modelled around 600 hp.”
The eight-pot in question is expected to be an uprated version of the current F10’s 4.4 litre biturbo V8, with updated engine management, cooling and turbochargers to produce the intended power figures.
With the al-wheel drive and the lighter bodyshell – thanks to the increased use of aluminium and high-strength steel – introduced on the new G30 5 Series, the new M5 is expected to be quicker than both the current M5 and the new M550i, putting its 0-100 km/h sprint time under four seconds for the first time.
It’s still unclear if the all-wheel drive system will be standard-fit or offered as an option, but Aren’s words suggests that – shock, horror – the next M5 will only be available with power sent to all four wheels. What do you think of this move?
SPYSHOTS: F90 BMW M5