It’s been rumoured for some time, possibly the worst kept secret in the automotive universe, that the new BMW M5 – based on the G30 platform – would be receiving AWD for the first time ever. Now, BMW has confirmed AWD for the BMW M5, along with a few other details.
‘M xDrive’ – bespoke AWD for M cars
The new AWD system has been developed specifically for use in the new BMW M5. To some it may seem like sacrilege; a BMW M car going AWD; but for many, it was the inevitable outcome as power outputs soared continually in the segment.
BMW claim to have developed the M xDrive system to feel as rear wheel driven as possible, using the front wheels only to aid grip levels when the rear tyres can’t hold on to the tarmac any longer.
To do this, BMW has equipped the M xDrive system with a special ‘Central Intelligence Unit’ to control the setup. As standard, the BMW M5’s M xDrive system will drive the rear wheels only; however the CIU will apportion torque to the front wheels if rear slip is detected, and depending on the driving mode. In addition, the Active Rear M Differential can direct power between the left and right rear wheels for further control.
These systems will combine to give the BMW M5 different characteristics in different driving modes. In addition to the 3 standard DSC (Dynamic Stability Control) modes of DSC on, MDM (M Dynamic Mode) and DSC off, the AWD system can be set to one of three modes:
The default drive mode of the new BMW M5 with M xDrive – more freely sends power to the front wheels to maximise grip on all surfaces in all conditions. Even with DSC on, 4WD mode will allow small amounts of slippage at the rear wheels to “produce the agility for BMW M models are renowned.”
In 4WD Sport mode (accessible via M Dynamic Mode Only), the M xDrive system relies more heavily on control from the active M Differential to effectively create genuine torque vectoring via the rear axle. This will allow the outside rear wheel to receive more torque during cornering, reducing understeer and aiding handling. It’s also remarkably similar to the Ford Focus RS’ ‘Drift Mode’, and BMW claim that in 4WD Sport mode, enthusiastic drivers can send the BMW M5 into a ‘controlled drift’.
Of course the 2017 BMW M5’x M xDrive system wouldn’t be complete if it couldn’t rival the Mercedes-AMG E63 4Matic’s drift mode. Sadly, or perhaps just Germanically, BMW have not called this drive mode ‘Drift Mode’, instead opting for the more demure ‘2WD’ name.
It does what it says on the box, disabling the BMW M xDrive system entirely, and sending all ±450kW and 700Nm+ to the rear wheels. Annihilate tyres at will, and make sure the life insurance policies are up to date.
All 3 drivetrain modes are accessible with the DSC off, though 2WD mode can only be accessed with the DSC off.
Engine, Gearbox, and Performance
The G30 BMW M5 will feature a revised version of the current model’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Frank van Meel, CEO of BMW M Division, says that the newly revised version will develop around 600hp (450kW), and more than 700Nm. This is up from the current 412kW and 680Nm developed by the F10 M5.
Drive will go to all 4 wheels, but rather than using the M-DCT gearbox, the 2017 BMW M5 will use a version of the 8-speed automatic sourced from ZF, the same unit currently used across almost all RWD models from the brand, including the G30 5 Series.
Performance wise, thanks to the additional power and grip levels, the 2017 BMW M5 will sprint from 0-100km/h in less than 3.5 seconds according to van Meel. For reference, the current BMW M5 does the same sprint in a claimed 4.3 seconds.
Van Meel also mentions that the BMW M5 will weigh less than the F10 M5. We’ve already seen substantial weight loss in the G30 5 Series, but the M5, despite the addition of AWD, will still weigh less than the rear-wheel driven F10 M5 which tipped the scales at a rather hefty 1870kg. Expect the new BMW M5 to sit at around the 1800kg mark instead.
In addition to the adoption of the new platform shared with the 7 Series – minus the Carbon Core – other weight saving methods employed on the new BMW M5 include a CFRP (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic) roof, which not only reduces weight, but lowers the centre of gravity too, for improved handling.
Although the G30 BMW M5 is only scheduled for a full reveal later in the year, the latest revelation of information by BMW suggests the new M5 may be something truly spectacular. The Audi RS6 and Mercedes-AMG E63S have already set the bar high, so BMW needs to produce nothing short of perfection if it wishes to be best in class.
We can also expect the G30-based BMW M5 to feature rear-wheel steering, as seen on the G30 BMW 5 Series.