Theory on the next generation BMW F10 M5 and F12 M6

Interesting | October 16th, 2008 by 11

One of the reason why I enjoy some BMW forums is the passion that drives the bimmer fans, a passion that starts interesting conversations and …

One of the reason why I enjoy some BMW forums is the passion that drives the bimmer fans, a passion that starts interesting conversations and theories. The other day, one of our readers pointed out a topic on the, which described an interesting theory on the next generation M cars: M5 and M6, codenames F10 respectively F12.

T-Bone, a member of the aforementioned forum, posted a Drivetrain and KER technology analysis , based on inside information. Something to keep in mind, the article was written back in April, but I haven’t seen a different direction in the last months, so I will still go ahead and post it, to see what you think.

So we have had a lot of idle speculation on the F10 / F12 M cars. With the input of members like Sunshine-t and good foundational information about BMW corporate, I think that I can put forward a reasonable theory about the next generation of M cars. This thread is for discussion purposes…..


  • Given the emissions and fuel economy rules, BMW will not be pursuing an outright power strategy. We shouldn’t expect beasts like the Audi RS6 that try to compensate for weight by adding power. We should expect the same power output from the engines or a slight power bump (i.e. 5-10%)
  • One of the areas that BMW M will focus on will be weight. Weight the universal evil….it affects acceleration, handling, economy etc…. I would expect the F10 / F12 to weigh less than today’s E60 / E63
  • BMW M and Formula 1 will be tied at the hips for the foreseeable future. For BMW to capitalize their investment in F1, the M cars will use as much of the technology of the F1 cars as possible. It appears F1 will NOT likely adopt turbo charging but will adopt Kinetic Energy Recovery systems as early as 2009. These KER technologies would be phased in from 2009 to 2013

T-Bone’s prediction of the F10 M5 and F12 M6:


  • M5 – 3800 pounds / M6 – 3500 pounds


  • 550 hp from a normally aspirated V10 (call it Mark II) with more “Efficient Dynamics” technologies from engines like the N54 and N64 (minus the turbos)…. direct injection, electric water pumps and new ones like cylinder shut down


  • I think the big areas of innovation for BMW M will be materials (to control weight) and the transmission. If you read the article below….F1 will be introducing KER technologies that will seek to recover kinetic and perhaps heat energy from braking. This hybrid type of system is much different than the hybrids we see today that convert kinetic energy to electricity and then store it in a heavy battery only to convert back to kinetic energy later.
  • The KER systems have to be much more efficient. They would need to be in the 80-90% efficiency range. While F1 is quite open as to how it will allow manufacturers to implement these technologies, it would make sense for BMW to integrate KER technologies into the transmission / flywheel. There are KER technologies that can be implemented at the wheels….but this would increase overall weight and more importantly, unsprung weight.
  • So I predict a MDCT type of transmissions with KER technologies that will add kinetic energy into the system during acceleration to bump effective power from 550 hp to over 600 hp. Also I would expect KER technologies to allow cylinder shutdown to be more effective to vastly improve fuel economy in city environments.
  • It is rumored the F1 cars will have a “boost” button to increase torque on track out….but for roadcars, BMW would automate that…probably using the throttle position modulate the torque delivery
  • So the new MDCT transmission we see in the M3s is already obsolscent.

If BMW puts together such a package, we should expect to see a car that outhandles and out-acceleraters today’s M5 / M6 with a 25% improvement in fuel economy.

This is my theory……thoughts?

11 responses to “Theory on the next generation BMW F10 M5 and F12 M6”

  1. Lee says:


    It took a fuel crisis for the higher-ups to finally realize that they need to start focusing more on trimming weight. Sucks that it comes with $3-4 per-gallon prices at the pump, but if that’s what it takes so be it.

    As far as the KER, I’m not quite sold. I know the technology is there to make it happen and I’m sure it’ll be beneficial… I’m just a littly cynical about all these little gimicky “solutions” to our fuel issues. Does it work? Sure. Does it have enough staying power to be in cars 20 years from now? Doubtful.

    I would love to see the 3-series back below the 3k lbs mark… Perhaps this “crisis” will provide me with just that. Mmmmm… 400+hp ///M3 at 2800lb weight fully-dressed.

    Lotus who?

  2. T Bone says:

    Wow, a friend of mine pointed me to this link from the M5board.

    There was no inside information…. I was just doing the analysis if I were leading the product management team over at ///M

    An update since April, it is pretty clear that BMW ///M will pursue turbocharging to improve emissions and fuel economy. The challenge for BMW ///M will be to replicate the high rpm, naturally aspirated feeling of the current S85 V10 and S65 V8 engines.

    I am speculating now that they will uses KERs to mask turbo lag. Don’t let people fool you, every turbo car has lag including my 335xi.

    My hope is the new BMW ///M engines will still have high torque at high rpms (this is why they have unusually good acceleration today since they are always in the peak power band)…. If they go with a 7000 rpm engine, I think I am moving onto Ferrari.


    T Bone

    Come visit us on

  3. Horatiu B. says:

    @T Bone: Thanks for your input.

  4. Clara says:

    @T Bone:

    Tbone– That’s a good idea about using it to mask the lag. It should be very easy for them to do, as well as tune the power/torque curves to whatever they need. And yes, the 335’s revving isn’t quite lag-free or completely linear.

    Actually, it would be somewhat surprising to see this technology being introduced on many-cylindered engines at first because the real benefit is in compensating for the lack of torque where the engine has fewer cylinders. The electric motors can generate huge amounts of torque (versus hp), and would be a great combination with the forthcoming 4-banger. Of course, you could still fill in the missing torque of a v10 versus v12 — if you were really missing it to begin with.

  5. Clara says:

    Btw, great post, Horatiu. Didn’t see all of it at first. The tranny section is especially interesting.

    What’s that about recovering heat energy during braking? The only proven technology that I know of for that is peltier junctions, but they’re not very efficient.

    Two more thoughts (again, speculative):

    – electric front-wheel drive could eliminate front shaft+axles and the necessary ride height increase.

    – seperate motors at each rear wheel or axle could give much better yaw control (steering response + cornering) than any of the differential designs.

  6. Gragop says:

    I like the sound of all of this. KERS is probably a more realistic look at the next 5 years versus full-on electric-only cars. My biggest gripe with the current M5 and M6 is the shear size and weight. A good comparison was when Top Gear tested the M6 against the 911 and V8 Vantage. The M6 lost and mostly due to sheer mass, despite having a near 100 horsepower gain on both of it’s competitors.

    The less something weighs the faster it can move with less power. Hopefully M Division will take that to heart.

  7. Gragop says:

    I also agree that any application of KERS on road cars will be taken OUT of the driver’s hands. Allowing the driver to decide when to apply a healthy dose of boost while coming out of a corner sounds like a recipe for severe oversteer and end up like the guy in the Audi RS4 that ate tire wall at Silverstone.

    What’s the name of the system on the F01 that will allow for partial rear-wheel steering? I’m sure that will move to all BMW’s in the next 2 to 4 years as a more sporting option.

  8. Horatiu B. says:

    @Clara: Thanks D. All the credit goes to “T Bone”, his analysis is great and I hope BMW will go into that direction.

  9. T Bone says:

    Thanks for the comments.

    Taking the KERs Hybrid concept a bit further….. My guess is that the BMW engineers are dealing with power issues associated with KERs.

    Heat / Kinetic energy to Battery to Kinetic energy systems (like Toyota Prius) are really inefficient. First of all batteries are very heavy but batteries also have limited charge / discharge rates so these types of Hybrid systems will not be effective for this application.

    My guess is BMW will be using very large capacitors to store this energy. Capacitors aren’t perfect either, they don’t carry as much energy as batteries but they charge an discharge very quickly allowing them to be used in brake energy recapture and power boost.

    The biggest concern that I have actually is the focus of BMW ///M…..they seem to be focusing on fast trucks. I hope they don’t lose focus on cars.

    As an owner of the current M6 and 335xi…..I will be holding BMW to a high standard for the F10 M5 and F12 M6.


  10. T Bone says:

    Hey Guys, just picking up on this old thread from 16-18 months ago. I called out some guesses at what BMW was doing for the F10 M5. Based on the current rumors, it appears, I hit some of the major new features for the new M5…. The thing that is still sticking in my craw is the lack of the V10 and the use of force induction. I hope BMW doesn’t further dilute the ///M brand with trucks like the X5M / X6M….. They are in serious risk of destroying all customer loyalty if they try to get too cute Efficient Dynamics and the new M5 / M6 / M3

    See here for some comments from Scott27..

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