First BMW M5 and M6 models with all-wheel drive are coming. Over the last few months, BMW has changed its xDrive rhetoric for M cars to allow the possibility of such cars. Speaking to Autocar, M division CEO Frank van Meel said four-wheel drive was likely to feature on models such as the M5 and M6 as horsepower and torque outputs have increased. Van Meel says M cars will still have a rear-wheel drive bias for philosophical reasons and the all-wheel drive feature is likely to be optional. The M boss also says that it’s already getting hard to sell rear-driven M cars with 600 hp-plus in markets such as Canada and Switzerland.
The system wouldn’t be labelled as xDrive on M cars, however. BMW believes the all-wheel-drive performance models deserve their own branding. Van Meel suggested a name like 2+2WD or something similar was possible, in order to emphasize the car’s rear-biased set-up.
The next-generation of M cars – due out in late 2017 – will also inherit a series of autonomous features from the latest 7 Series sedan and the upcoming G30 5 Series. Hands-off operation up to a pre-determined speed, a sophisticated anti-collision system and fully autonomous braking are all on the table.
While this new M5 and M6 are a mild upgrade in terms of autonomous features, the following generation could be drastically different than anything BMW has produced so far.
Van Meel also touched on the subject of “M electrification” saying that the integration of i-brand electric powertrain parts into M cars is still a long way off, because the technology is still too heavy. He explained that adding 150kg of equipment to M cars was too much of a compromise to handling.
BMW’s F90 M5 will arrive next year, followed in 2018 by the M6.