Images of the most powerful and technically advanced BMW M5 yet have been leaked onto the internet ahead of its official reveal.
The upcoming Mercedes-AMG E63 rival, due to be unveiled soon, can be seen in a video uploaded to YouTube, showing exterior and interior design, as well as the menu where its driveline can be configured between all-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive.
The leaked pictures come after BMW released a clip of the M5 driving at pace through a desert, with shots of its carbon-ceramic brakes and a close up of its front left corner. The shot shows the car's aggressive set of air intakes in the front bumper, as well as the grille-mounted M5 badge.
The model was also featured in a trailer for the Need For Speed video game franchise. The M5 was previously revealed in CAD images leaked by a company employee.
The launch timing of this next-generation M5 shows BMW's plans to produce M variants far earlier in models' lifecycles than it has done previously.
Just as the regular BMW 5-series underwent a subtle styling overhaul between this generation and the next, the new M5 appears to be fairly restrained when compared with the more extreme M4. However, more significant updates have taken place under the bonnet.
Leaked documents revealed that the M5’s closest rival, the Mercedes-AMG E63, will produce 611hp and 850Nm of peak torque. The M5 is expected to closely match these figures, using an updated version of the current car’s 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox.
The upcoming next-generation M5 will be the first non-SUV M car available with all-wheel drive as an option. It is understood that BMW is concentrating on making the next M5 more driveable, with more mechanical grip and improved traction thanks to the xDrive four-wheel drive system and revised engine mapping. Three drive modes are available through the xDrive system; 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD - the latter of which drives the rear wheels. More drive modes are available through the car's other drive mode settings.
BMW wouldn't reveal how much power the new M5 would produce aside from "more than 600hp”, but it's expected that 624hp will be produced, with a weight-saving of 65kg over the outgoing model, and “significantly more than the current car’s 700Nm of torque," equating to a 0-100kph time of less than 3.5sec.
A new eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox also features, as does a chain-driven clutch, which takes drive to the front axle on demand. There's also a rear differential developed from the one on the M3 and M4, with carbon clutch blades for quicker and more precise torque vectoring. The M5's suspension also gets new adaptive dampers.
On an Autocar drive of an M5 prototype, BMW M's vice president of engineering Dirk Hacker revealed that the new M5 is the first M car to have "a centralised controller with the power to control every sub-system governing lateral and longitudinal dynamics."