Performance enthusiasts aren’t used to associating electrified powertrains with BMW M cars. However, times are changing, and the Bavarian carmaker is gearing up for a full-blown offensive towards electrification, and M Performance cars are unlikely to be spared. Markus Flasch, the former CEO of BMW M, confirmed to Drive – Der Playboy Mobility-Guide in September 2021 that the next-generation BMW M5 would have electrification.
There’ll be high-performance hybrid vehicles, when we’re talking about long-distance performance – like for the successor to the M5 or large X automobiles.Markus Flasch, CEO, BMW M (Drive – Der Playboy Mobility-Guide issue 01) in 2021
V8 Hybrid with 2024 launch
CAR magazine reported in August 2020 that the 2024 BMW M5 would be available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain that includes a V8 petrol engine. Autocar‘s report from January 2022 suggests similar specifications. The report mentions using a single rear-axle-mounted electric motor that generates 200 hp and 220 lb-ft, taking the total output of the next-gen BMW M5 to 750 hp and 737 lb-ft. The internal combustion engine would be a 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 unit.
Like the current generation BMW M5, the PHEV would also get an 8-speed automatic transmission. The test mules reportedly use a 12 kWh battery that’s positioned under the rear seat bench, leaving the trunk space unaffected. The final version may get a battery with high-discharge properties that could improve electric output and enhance the overall performance of the plug-in hybrid super saloon.
A previous Autocar report dated August 2021 states that BMW may offer the plug-in-hybrid option on the M550i. The powertrain would comprise a 3-liter turbocharged straight-six engine with an electric motor mounted on the gearbox. The e-motor may generate around 107 hp, which is only half of what CLAR platform-based PHEV’s e-motor(s) can deliver. Hence, the total system output would be in the region of 338 hp and 442 lb-ft. The M550i would be a halfway house between the regular 5 Series and the full-blown M5.
Exterior and Interior
Expect the next-generation BMW M5 to pack some distinctive visual oomph better than the present generation model. Spy images suggest that the new M5 would feature a sporty and black kidney grille, large air intakes, aggressive bumpers with intakes and aerodynamic benefits, and low-profile tires. On the inside, expect the M5 to offer bucket sports seats with contrast stitching and M Performance badging, unique display graphics, a red start/stop button, and a steering wheel with M1 and M2 buttons for driver-specific chassis settings.
Car enthusiast and auto illustrator Shkelqim Ameti (Instagram: germanysfinest43) created the above render of the next-generation BMW 5 Series. The render showcases a pronounced lower lip with an aggressive splitter, black roof, and the Marina Bay blue shade. The rendered sedan also features the M badge on the grille, sharp LED headlamps, DRLs, flush-fitting door handles, dual-tone alloy wheels, and blacked-out door mirrors.
Spy shots of the BMW M5 PHEV emerged on Motor1.com in March 2022. The test mule was spotted in Northern Europe, and a few days later, it was seen at the Nurburgring also. Bodywork details were not visible as the vehicle was heavily camouflaged, but the ‘Hybrid Test Vehicle’ badge was enough to spill the beans and trigger speculations. The car was also seen with enormous ventilated brake discs at the front and rear, only seen on BMW M cars.
The spy shots revealed quad exhaust pipes, black alloy wheels, and sleek door-mounted rearview mirrors. We saw sleek headlamps and tail lamps, and vertical air vents on the edges of the bumper also in these pictures.
BMW M5 Hybrid features
Expect the next-gen BMW M5 hybrid to pack most of the bells and whistles of the latest large BMWs, including the BMW Curved Display with a digital cluster and infotainment integrated into one large black panel, iDrive 8.0, and Digital Key Plus with Ultra-Wideband technology. An M5 wouldn’t be suited for autonomous driving—it would be a pure driver’s machine that would demand total control and attention. Nonetheless, by the time it arrives, Level 2 autonomous driving capability will be more common than now, so expect the sedan to feature lots of ADAS features.
The BMW 5 Series is currently offered with two plug-in hybrid models in the United States; 530e (RWD) and the 530e xDrive sedan. The former provides 21 miles of pure electric range, while the latter comes with 18 miles of EV range. Both come with a 2-liter twin-scroll turbo-petrol engine which makes 181 hp on its own and 288 hp with electric assistance. The combined torque output is 258 lb-ft. In Europe, there’s also a 530e Touring version on offer.
|Aspect||Next-gen BMW M5 specification|
|Powertrain||V8 engine + electric motor|
|Max Power||750 hp|
|Max Torque||1,000 Nm|
|Price (UK)||GBP 105,000+|
All-electric i5M after 2025
An all-electric BMW i5M may be inevitable, but it’s unclear whether the model would be based on the Cluster Architecture or the electric-only Neue Klasse platform. However, for the electric i5M to pack a better performance than the next-gen M5, BMW would have to make significant developments in battery technology to reduce weight as EVs are inherently heavy. A Neue Klasse-based M car would only arrive towards the end of this decade.
We will see the first battery-electric M car performance model (referring to the i4 M50) ready later this year. We will see high-performance hybrid variants pretty soon, and we will see high-performance battery electric vehicles in a couple of years.Markus Flasch, former CEO at BMW M Division during a chat on Youtube with BMW Australia in April
Featured image: BMW