The Chinese market is becoming increasingly vital for automakers like BMW, which could go a long way towards explaining why the Bavarian company has chosen the world's most populous nation as the location to unveil such new debuts as the long-wheelbase 5 Series and the Concept Gran Coupé.

Now reports indicate that BMW is planning on returning to the Shanghai Motor Show in April with a conceptual preview of the new M5 performance sedan. Based on the latest 5 Series, the new M5 is tipped to carry a 600-horsepower version of the 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 put to work in the X5 M and X6 M crossovers. Westerners won't feel too left out, however, as the concept version in Shanghai is anticipated to be followed by the production version at the Frankfurt Motor Show in the Fall.

In parallel to the M5 – and at the other extreme of the range – BMW is also working on the 5 Series hybrid, anticipated to mate a 306-hp turbo six with a 54-hp electric motor for possible debut alongside the M5 in Shanghai as well.

The biennial show in China is also rumored to the debut show for the 2012 6 Series Coupe.

[Source: AutoTelegraaf.nltranslated | Image: Dan Roth/AOL]

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