BMW might have a shocking surprise for the purists who devoted a considerable amount of energy to panning the current M5's all-wheel drive system. An unverified report claims the company's next-generation sports sedan expected to make its debut in 2024 at the earliest could receive a fully electric powertrain.
We stress that nothing is official yet, and that this report should be taken with an X7-sized grain of salt. Georg Kacher, a reporter with a knack for uncovering accurate insider information, learned from anonymous sources that decision-makers in Munich are evaluating whether to launch an electric version of the M5 with a 1,005-horsepower drivetrain made up of three electric motors (two out back and one up front) and a 135-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. If this configuration sounds familiar, it's likely because the 5 Series-based Power prototype quietly introduced in 2019 used three motors as well, though its output was pegged at 711 horsepower. For context, the 2020 M5 (pictured) offers 617 horses when ordered in Competition trim.
The specifications sheet lists a 2.9-second sprint from zero to 62 mph, up to 435 miles of range, and 400-volt fast-charging. BMW will upgrade the car with an 800-volt system later in the production run, according to the same informants. If launched, the electric 5 will become one of BMW's electrified flagships, because the standalone range-topping model loosely previewed by the Vision M Next concept has allegedly been axed.
"BMW is a late-comer to the EV scene, and the same applies unfortunately to autonomous driving. Mid-term, our only stable competitive advantage is ride, handling, and roadholding. But, the biggest challenge by far is cost, which is why the board as buried the projected halo car," a member of M's R&D team told Car magazine.
Enthusiasts with no interest in electric cars won't be entirely out of luck. The standard version of the M5 will reportedly pack a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid powertrain made up of a V8 and a pair of electric motors. The system (which will be shared with the X8 M) will send about 750 horsepower to the four wheels.
BMW hasn't even unveiled the face-lifted version of the current M5 (though the 5 Series is revealed), so it's way too early for it to go on-record about its replacement. And, keep in mind that a lot can change in four years; even if the rumor is accurate as of writing, BMW still has plenty of time to yank its corporate handbrake and pull a 180. However, its M division will need to adopt some degree of electrification to stay on the permissible side of regulations, especially in Europe and in China, so we wouldn't be the least bit surprise to see the next M5 make its debut with a plug.