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This is it, then. The F90 BMW M5, slated to make its appearance in 2018, has been caught for the first time running about within the vicinity of the German carmaker’s test facility near the Nurburgring Nordschleife. As is the case with early sightings of a completely new model, the prototype here has been sufficiently masked in camouflage – expect layers to be peeled away in the coming months.

With that said, the F90 BMW M5 will likely adopt the latest design language so expect a more aggressive front fascia, particularly when it comes to the design of the lower air intakes. Elsewhere, a 3D-sculpted kidney grille and thinner LED headlights are expected to make an appearance. At the rear, the M5 will likely possess OLED taillights that were first seen on the BMW M4 Concept Iconic Lights show car.

The quad tailpipes and high-performance braking system is the dead giveaway, of course. Moving on from the aesthetics, the F90 BMW M5 is expected to carry on with the same twin-turbo 4.4 litre V8 in the current F10 BMW M5, albeit reengineered to produce up to 626 hp and around 750 Nm of torque!

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If upping the power wasn’t enough, the next-gen M5 will weigh a whole lot less than the current car as the F90 sits on the 35up platform that premiered on the G11 BMW 7 Series – reports are indicating a weight loss of around 100 kg. The ‘Carbon Core’ architecture on the M5 will likely include carbon-fibre crossbeams in the construction of the roof as well as liberal applications of aluminium is different parts of the chassis.

Aside from that, the next big thing to happen on the F90 BMW M5 will be the optional inclusion of xDrive all-wheel drive. Unlike regular systems however, the xDrive setup employed in the F90 BMW M5 will transfer all of its power to the rear wheels, with the front axle receiving a share only when it is deemed necessary.

In terms of performance, one can expect the all-paw M5 to sprint from nought to 100 km/h in under four seconds and power on to an electronically-limited top speed of 250 km/h. Aside from a sedan variant, the F90 BMW M5 is expected to be offered as a M5 Touring wagon as well to combat the Audi RS6 Avant and upcoming Mercedes-AMG E 63 Estate.

GALLERY: F10 BMW M5 LCI