New BMW M5 is a 717bhp plug-in hybrid supersaloon

Wait for the estate?

The seventh-generation BMW M5 has been unveiled and will be the first BMW M car (“unique” XM SUV aside) to feature a plug-in hybrid powertrain with the capability to travel under electric power. It will also be monstrously powerful.

While the new M5 can in theory drive for up to 43 miles using only its 145kW electric motor, at speeds of up to 87mph, traditionalists will be glad to hear that a V8 petrol engine is still at the heart of the hybrid system.

It’s a twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre unit as before, but combined with the electric motor — integrated within the eight-speed automatic transmission — there’s up to 717bhp and a massive 737lb ft of torque on tap.


Slower 0-62mph

Due in part to a weight increase of more than half a tonne, the new M5 is actually half a second slower in the benchmark 0-62mph time than the outgoing M5 CS. But then, that car wasn’t zero-emissions capable (during use).

If you plan on taking your M5 to Germany to stretch its legs, you’ll want the M Driver’s Package as it raises the electronically limited top speed from 155mph to 189mph.

The new car uses the same all-wheel-drive concept as introduced on the previous M5, using a rear-led bias by default in the 4WD setting, more allowable rear slip in the 4WD Sport mode and the option to send all the engine — and motor — output to the rear wheels for those brave enough to switch off the stability control completely.


To this BMW M has added rear-wheel steering in a bid to disguise the M5’s weight gain. As with all such systems, it steers the back wheels in the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds in the name of stability — e.g. a motorway lane change — while steering them in the opposite direction at lower speeds to enhance agility, up to a maximum of 1.5 degrees.

Huge amount of customisation

The rest of the M5’s underpinnings tread a well-worn BMW M path for its vehicles, including adaptive damping, an electronically-controlled rear differential and big brakes.


A myriad of options await the keen driver at the press of the Setup button on a restyled centre console. This pops up a bespoke settings menu on the central touchscreen (part of the familiar curved display now fitted to almost all new BMWs) allowing quick selection of various levels for the engine, brakes, suspension and even the brake-energy regeneration system. Two groups of favoured settings can be stored and accessed using the red M1/ M2 buttons on the steering wheel.

Flat-bottomed steering wheel at last

Those that have enjoyed BMW M’s resistance to market pressure up to this point in terms of sticking with fully-round steering wheels may be disappointed to see that the M5’s wheel is now a flat-bottomed item. It features a 12 o’clock marker and gearchange paddles behind.


Elsewhere inside, the M5 is no stripped-out track special, with fully-featured infotainment system including a variable head-up display and even use of augmented reality in the built-in navigation. Merino leather upholstery is standard, as are electrically adjusted and heated front seats, four-zone climate control, an automatic boot lid, ambient lighting and a glass sunroof. The latter can be replaced by a carbon roof as shown in the images.

An M5’s exterior makeover is always relatively subtle, though it’s difficult to ignore the new car’s bulging wheelarches, and prominent new bumpers and side sills. There’s noticeably more body colour on the M5 than on a 5 Series M Sport for example, further setting the proper M car apart. In case you miss the unique mixed-size alloy wheels and quad exhaust outlets that is. Not to mention the M5 badge in the Hofmeister kink on each side of the car.

The new BMW M5 will get its world premiere at the 2024 Goodwood Festival of Speed next month but buyers can order a new M5 already, with first UK deliveries in November this year. Its retail price is £110,500.

But we might wait until the wraps come off the M5 Touring estate…

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