Ever since the debut of the BMW M5 Concept at this year’s Beijing Auto Show in April, speculation has run rampant about BMW’s fifth generation of its super sedan. How much power would it have? Would BMW keep a six-speed manual option available? Would the next M5 have an all-wheel drive option?
Well, speculate no longer because BMW just released the details for its forthcoming 2012 M5. Powered by the same 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 as the X5 M and X6 M SUVs, BMW bumped up output for its flagship sports sedan to 560 hp between 6000 and 7000 RPM and 502 lb-ft of torque from just 1500 RPM, which should make the TwinPower engine setup virtually lag-free from takeoff. Those numbers compare well to the outgoing car’s 507 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque from its high-revving naturally aspirated V10. Not surprisingly in the battle of high-power super sedans, BMW’s figures put the new M5 ahead of the supercharged 556-hp Cadillac CTS-V by a smidge.
Transferring that power to the ground through the rear wheels is BMW’s seven-speed M Dual Clutch transmission with launch control and a host of other menus for different styles of driving from low-speed assistance to an automatic parking mode. If you expected BMW to simplify the dozens of computer-selectable engine and transmission programs for the F10 series car, you may be disappointed. BMW also makes no mention of providing the option of a row-it-yourself transmission with a clutch pedal, but rumors persist that the Bavarians will make one available specifically for the North American market.
Still, BMW designed the car to go fast, and it appears to do so quite well. Company-provided numbers put the M5’s 0-62 time at just 4.4 seconds and its sprint to 124 mph just 13.0 seconds. The M5 will hit an electronically-controlled 155 mph limit unless optioned with the M Driver’s Package that raises the top speed to 190 mph. While the acceleration numbers appear to be considerably slower than the last figures our sister publication, Motor Trend, wrung out of the previous generation M5 when they tested it against the CTS-V in 2009, rest assured that BMW often provides very conservative figures.
The car provides all of that performance in a decidedly understated package compared to its radical-looking E60 predecessor. The biggest giveaways to the car’s performance potential are the flared wheel arches, 19-inch double-spoke M wheels, front bumper with massive air inlets to feed the turbocharged engine, signature vents on both fenders, trunk-mounted spoiler, and quad exhaust pipes separated by a diffuser exclusive to the M car.
On the fuel economy side of the performance spectrum, the new M5 will be the first M car to employ start-stop technology and regenerative braking. BMW says the updates help contribute to a 30 percent improvement in fuel economy over the previous car, allowing it to achieve about 23 mpg on the European cycle.
And, of course, the car will come with loaded with creature comforts exclusive to the M5, including an Alcantara headliner, aluminum trim exclusive to the M5, sport seats, and specific M gauges and steering wheel. It will also be available with gizmos such as an M-exclusive head-up display, internet access, and built-in apps for Facebook and Twitter.
As new details emerge about the 2012 BMW M5, we’ll keep you posted. But from what we’ve seen so far, it looks like BMW is aiming squarely at the CTS-V and Porsche Panamera in an obvious move to take back the sports sedan crown.