2012 BMW M5 in motion

As part of the buildup to this weekend's Pebble Beach Concours weekend, Autoblog senior editor Damon Lavrinc is in Monterey with BMW, where he has been able to confirm that the 5 Series will receive a diesel model tuned by the automaker's M performance division.

Interestingly, the much-rumored high-performance model will probably not be badged as an M5 variant. Instead, it will likely adopt a nomenclature similar to that of the 1 Series M Coupe. Further, because of the diesel's expected high torque output, the M-tuned diesel 5 Series is likely to be offered exclusively with all-wheel drive. Following traditional BMW naming guidelines, that means the vehicle is likely to get an ungainly moniker like BMW 550d xDrive M or something similar (TheDetroitBureau.com suggests 550dM or 550dXM as other possibilities).

The 3.0-liter tri-turbo's torque output is likely to be prodigious – perhaps in the neighborhood of 650 pound-feet (the conventional gas M5 makes 500 lb-ft), a figure more commonly associated with heavy duty pickups. Even if you've managed to wrap your gray matter around that torque surplus, you're probably still pondering the idea of a triple-turbo engine. According to TheDetroitBureau.com, the new powerplant will be based on the current 3.0-liter diesel we've come to know and love, albeit significantly modified, including a unique cylinder head. The engine will make use of a single, small turbo to help avoid lag at launch, coupled with a pair of larger twin-scroll units to augment power at speed. We hear that peak ponies will be down from the M5's 560-horsepower output, though it is still likely to stay about 500.

Predictably, the new engine is also expected to find its way into high-performance versions of BMW's X5 and X6 crossovers, both of which already offer physics-defying M models of their own.
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