• 2018 BMW M5

AWD brings significant performance increase; still slower than AMG E63 S

The new-generation 5 Series arrived for the 2017 model year, replacing the seven-year-old and rather successful F10 model. Not only redesigned inside and out, the new sedan also lost some weight and gained new engines, including four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and V-8 mills. Now up to 137 pounds lighter, it’s quicker, more dynamic, and returns improved fuel economy. It also features state-of-the-art tech that brings it in line with the latest Mercedes-AMG E-Class. As usual, a high-performance M5 version is set to follow, and BMW just introduced it to the world with loads of new tech and an upgraded V-8 engine.

Arguably the most intriguing fact about the new M5 is that gained all-wheel-drive. The rumor has been circulating for quite a few years, and BMW has confirmed that xDrive will be offered as an option (but standard in the United States). The move is far from surprising, as both Audi and Mercedes-Benz have adopted all-wheel-drive for most of their performance cars. So basically BMW is bringing the M5 in line with its main U.S. rivals, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S and the Audi RS7. The new sedan will go on sale starting September 2017, with deliveries set to commence in the spring of 2018.

Updated 09/19/2017: The new M5 was one of the many cars BMW displayed at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show. Check our gallery to see how amazing the car looked on the show’s floor.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 BMW M5.

Official video

Exterior

2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Exterior
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Revision are pretty significant. Not only more aggressive by looks, the M5 is also more aerodynamic

Much like its predecessor, the new M5 is a beefed-up version of the standard sedan as far as exterior design goes. So if you dig the new 5 Series, you’ll definitely love the M5 and its sportier cues.

Revision are pretty significant. Not only more aggressive by looks, the M5 is also more aerodynamic. The front section features broader fenders, while the larger intakes in the bumper feed more air into the engine’s cooling system and the front brakes. The double vertical slats in the grille are finished in black as usual, but you can opt to have the entire grille (along with the window trim) in black by selecting the optional Shadowline package.

2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Exterior
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2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Exterior
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Around back, there's a fairly big diffuser flanked by two exhaust pipes on each side

The engine hood also has an M-specific design, featuring more creases for a muscular look. What’s more, it’s made from aluminum, which together with the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) roof shave a significant amount of weight off the standard 5 Series. And of course, contribute to making the new M5 lighter than its predecessor.

Onto the sides, we can see the usual M-specific wheels that hide M compound brakes, revised side skirts, and a lower ride height. Around back, there’s a fairly big diffuser flanked by two exhaust pipes on each side. As usual, there are plenty of "M5" badges to let onlookers know that this isn’t a regular sedan.

Overall, the new M5 design’s boasts many improvements, but I feel like BMW didn’t try enough. Especially when compared to the AMG E63.

Exterior Dimensions

Wheelbase (Inches) 117.40
Length (Inches) 195.47
Width (Inches) 74.92
Height (Inches) 57.99
Track front/rear (Inches) 64.01/62.79

Visual Comparison

2014 BMW M5 Exterior
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2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Exterior
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2014 BMW M5 Exterior
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2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Exterior
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Classic exclusive metallic blue paint of course!
2014 BMW M5 Interior
- image 506046
2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Interior
- image 727597

Our M5 Rendering vs Reality

2018 BMW M5 Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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TopSpeed artist rendering from 2 years ago...not bad!
2018 BMW M5
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Interior

2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Interior
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Same 5-Series interior...
with all the bells and whistles!
The technology package is the same as in the 5 Series and includes a high-resolution, 10.25-inch touchscreen

BMW didn’t have much to say about the interior in the initial press release, but the photos confirm our expectations.

Following in the footsteps of other recent BMW interiors of the M variety, the new M5 comes with a plethora of M badges on almost every seat and panel, along with sportier bucket seats exclusive to the model. Merino high-grade leather upholstery is standard, with BMW Individual semi-aniline leather likely offered as an optional. With the wheelbase slightly longer than the outgoing model, the overall interior volume should be a bit larger as well.

M-specific features aside, the M5 comes with most of the equipment seen in the regular sedan. The new 5 Series got a dashboard design based on the larger 7 Series, including the big infotainment screen in the center, more storage spaces in the door panels, and improved sound absorbing materials for less noise inside the cabin. All of these features are clearly visible in these shots of the M5.

2018 BMW M5 Interior Exterior
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2018 BMW M5 Interior Exterior
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The rev counter on the right includes a variable rpm pre-warning field and sporty shift lights

The seats should be 20-way adjustable (compared to the 16-way standard units) and include ventilation and massage functions. The technology package is the same and includes a high-resolution, 10.25-inch touchscreen that provides access to navigation, phone, vehicle functions, and entertainment features, as well as Apple CarPlay, WiFi hotspot, and wireless charging. The gesture control feature, which is optional on the 5 Series, should be included as standard on the M5.

Other highlights include an M-style instrument cluster with classical circular dials and red needless, as well as an additional digital speedometer on the left-hand side. The rev counter on the right includes a variable rpm pre-warning field and sporty shift lights when the Head-Up Display is switched on. In the centre of the instrument cluster, the driver will find the readouts for the gear selection, Drivelogic shift program, M xDrive mode and M1/M2 set-up, and the drive and suspension settings currently engaged. When the Head-Up Display is activated, key information will be projected onto the windscreen.

2018 BMW M5
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The redesigned gear selector also features a three-position rocker switch for selecting the Drivelogic shift programs. As usual, the gears of the new eight-speed M Steptronic transmission can be changed using both the selector lever and the shift paddles behind the steering wheel.

Drivetrain

2018 BMW M5 Exterior Drivetrain
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The M5 now features an xDrive AWD system alongside the revised, twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 engine

After most M5 customers have already gotten used to no longer getting a high-revving, naturally-aspirated engine in their sports sedan, M5 clients will also need to get used to all-wheel drive. That’s right; the M5 now features an xDrive AWD system alongside the revised, twin-turbo, 4.4-liter V-8 engine and the eight-speed, M Steptronic automatic transmission with Drivelogic. Thankfully, the new M5 can still be used in RWD mode, but the sedan is now officially part of the xDrive family.

The V-8 engine also sports a number new features, including higher injection pressure, new turbos, more powerful lubrication and cooling systems, and a lighter exhaust system. BMW says that the optimized M xDrive system won’t turn the M5 into a boring AWD car. Instead, it enables a "wonderfully fleet-footed rear-biased setup by only bringing the front wheels into play when the rear wheels aren’t able to transmit any more power to the road." The big change is that the new sedan will behave more predictably when driven more aggressively, which should improve the experience behind the wheel. Unless you’re not an old-school BMW M enthusiast that is!

2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The revised 4.4-liter V-8 cranks out 591 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque

The sedan also features a new Active M differential and enables the driver to choose from five different configurations based on the DSC and M xDrive modes. More specifically, you can combine DSC on, MDM, and DSC Off with 4WD, 4WD Sport, and 2WD.

Moving on to the juicy bits, the revised 4.4-liter V-8 cranks out 591 horsepower (600 PS) and 553 pound-feet of torque. That’s 38 horses and 51 pound-feet more than the previous model, but it’s not quite the most powerful M5 ever built. That’s because the previous M5 with the Performance Package was also rated at 591 horsepower. Granted, it had less torque at 516 pound-feet, but you can see where this is going.

2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Exterior
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The sprint to 62 takes only 3.4 seconds, a half-second quicker than the previous M5 with Performance Package

BMW once said that the sedan will complete the 0-to-62 and 0-to-124 mph sprints "in the sort of times that leave its predecessor trailing in its wake and will make fans of sporty driving everywhere instantly prick up their ears." A big statement that sounded more like PR talk than anything else, but as it turns out, the new M5 is a half-second quicker than the old M5 with the Performance Package. Specifically, it needs only 3.4 seconds to hit 62 mph, versus 3.9 ticks. That should be on par with the Mercedes-AMG E63, but probably a tenth-second slower than the E63 S model. So the M5 will leave its predecessor trailing in its wake, but it still won’t be able to win a drag race against the most powerful AMG E63 out there. Win some, lose some, I guess.

BMW also says that the sprint to 124 mph takes 11.1 seconds, which is nothing to sneeze at, while top speed is limited at the usual 155 mph. The latter will increase to 189 mph with the M Driver’s Package.

The Germans also claim that the new M5 will consume 10.5-liters per 100 km. That’s far from impressive compared to the 5 Series, but not bad for a performance car.

Drivetrain Specifications

Config/No of cyls/valves V/8/4
Engine technology M TwinPower Turbo technology with cross-bank exhaust manifold, M TwinScroll TwinTurbo, indirect charge air cooling, High Precision Injection, maximum injection pressure 350 bar, VALVETRONIC fully variable valve timing, Double-VANOS variable camshaft timing
Effective capacity cc 4,395
Stroke/bore mm 88.3/89.0
Compression ratio :1 10.0
Horsepower 600 HP @ 5,600 – 6,700 RPM
Torque 553 LB-FT @ 1,800 – 5,600 RPM
Transmission Eight-speed M Steptronic
0 to 60 mph 3.4 seconds
Top Speed 155 mph

Prices

2018 BMW M5 Exterior
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2018 BMW M5 Exterior
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Pricing for the new BMW M5 starts from $102,600, not including the $995 destination and handling charges. This accounts for an $8,600 increase over the outgoing model. Still, the M5 remains less expensive than the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, which comes in at $104,400.

In Europe, the M5 will retail from €117,900. Alongside the standard model, BMW will offer a special-edition First Edition model, limited to 400 units worldwide. This version will feature BMW Individual Frozen Dark Red Metallic paintwork, exclusive appointments, and will cost an extra €19,500.

Competition

2018 Mercedes-AMG E63

2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 High Resolution Exterior
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2017 Mercedes-AMG E63 High Resolution Exterior
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Brand-new for the 2017 model year, the E63 is by far the hottest and most advanced performance sedan in this segment. Sporty yet elegant on the outside, the E63 is heavily based on the larger S-Class on the inside. The styling is gorgeous and the layout intuitive, while the technology is up to date and includes a massive screen for the infotainment system and instrument cluster. There’s even semi-autonomous drive on the options list, a feature that BMW and Audi don’t offer yet. Under the hood, the previous 5.5-liter V-8 was replaced by a twin-turbo 4.0-liter unit. The redesigned V-8 cranks out 563 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque in base trim but generates a whopping 603 horses and 627 pound-feet with the "S" badge. Sprinting from 0 to 60 mph takes 3.4 seconds with the standard model and 3.3 ticks with the S variant, making them two-tenths quicker than their respective predecessors. Top speed remains locked at 155 mph for the base model, while the E63 S will hit 186 mph. The AMG E63 S retails from $104,400 in the United States.

Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG E63.

Audi RS7

2015 - 2016 Audi RS7 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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2015 - 2016 Audi RS7 High Resolution Exterior
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By the time the next-generation M5 xDrive arrives, the Audi RS7 will have been in its sixth year of production, which means that it will have some trouble keeping up with both its Munich and Stuttgart all-wheel-drive competitors. Nevertheless, the five-door coupe from Ingolstadt is actually a force to be reckoned with by current standards. Despite its 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 "only" offering 560 horsepower, the Audi model can almost keep up with the lighter and torquier E63 AMG 4MATIC from the current lineup, which means that it should be well prepared for the future as well. Even though it’s more of a direct rival for the BMW M6 Gran Coupe and the Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG 4MATIC, Audi’s somewhat odd marketing for the U.S. has left the RS6 out of the picture. Pricing starts from $113,900, making it the most expensive of the pack.

Read our full review on the Audi RS7.

Cadillac CTS-V

2016 Cadillac CTS-V High Resolution Exterior
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2016 Cadillac CTS-V High Resolution Exterior
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If you aren’t a fan of AWD, you still have one RWD option left in the Cadillac CTS-V. Based on the third-generation sedan launched in 2015, the CTS-V has what it takes to give its competitors a run for the money in the exterior design, luxury, and technology departments. It’s pretty solid in terms of performance too, with the supercharged, 6.2-liter V-8 generating a impressive 640 horsepower and 630 pound-feet of twist. However, the lack of an all-wheel-drive system makes it slower to 60 mph, with the official rating set at 3.7 seconds. While it was quicker than the previous BMW M5, it’s at least three tenths slower. Top speed, however, is superior than the German sedans at 200 mph. It’s also more affordable than the competition, retailing from $85,995.

Read our full review of the Cadillac CTS-V.

Conclusion

2018 BMW M5 High Resolution Exterior
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Not even two model generations ago, BMW was a firm believer in naturally-aspirated engines and rear-wheel drive, with xDrive being reserved just for SUVs and a couple of 3 Series and 5 Series models. With both the world car market and BMW’s marketing evolving in a constant and rapid way, the Bavarian carmaker now has a 100-percent turbocharged engine lineup and more xDrive variants than rear-driven ones. With Audi’s marketing hype revolving mainly around Quattro and with Mercedes-AMG also jumping on the all-wheel-drive bandwagon, it seems that BMW’s M has no choice but think about xDrive sedans and/or coupes as well. AWD is pretty much the biggest change in the new M5. The styling is evolutionary, the drivetrain is similar to the previous M5 Performance Package (save for the extra torque), while the new technology is a given with each new generation. The big question is, are you ready to embrace a non-traditional M5 with AWD and significantly better performance instead of a purist-oriented RWD sedan?

  • Leave it
    • Lower mileage
    • Higher weight
    • More understeer

References

2014 BMW M5 Exterior
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Read our full review of the previous BMW M5

2017 BMW 5 Series High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review of the 2017 BMW 5 Series

1978 - 1981 BMW M1 High Resolution Exterior
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Read our all the latest BMW M News and reviews

Update History

Updated 05/17/2017: BMW dropped the first details on the upcoming M5. Continue reading to learn what the sports sedan brings new on the market.

Updated 05/16/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW M5 out for a new testing session.

Updated 08/30/2016: The upcoming BMW M5 was caught roaring its new 4.4-liter twin-turbo V-8 engine on the Nurburgring race track. The bad news is that even if the new engine will produce more power, it will never sound as good as the current V-10. Hit "Play" to hear it for yourself!

Updated 08/12/2016: Based on the recent rumors and details, we decided to create a rendering for the upcoming M5 sedan. Let us know in the comments section bellow what do you think about it!

Update 07/25/2016: The BMW M5 has been caught testing in Spain. This time it sheds some hard camo up front, exposing the outline of larger air intakes in the front fascia.

Updated 04/26/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW M5 out for a new testing session. This time the M5 prototype dropped part of its camouflage and for the first time we get a very good look of its real lights both up front and at the rear.

Updated 03/25/2016: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming BMW M5 out for a new testing session around Nurburgring. As you can see the prototype wears less camouflage than before revealing more of the front bumper. On the other hand, the fake lights are still there.

Spy Shots

May 16, 2017 - BMW M5 drops more camouflage

October 18, 2016 - Leaked CAD images

July 25, 2016 - BMW drops hard camo up front, exposing larger air intakes

April 26, 2016 - BMW M5 reveal its real lights

2018 BMW M5 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW M5 Exterior Spyshots
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2018 BMW M5 Exterior Spyshots
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March 25, 2016 - BMW M5 testing around Nurbrugring

July 2, 2015 - BMW M5 caught testing in Munich

May 15, 2015 - BMW M5 caught testing

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
About the author

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