At this point, it’s obvious that the next generation of BMW M5 will have some sort of electrification. Surveying the landscape shows that all performance automakers are switching to electrification, some faster than others. When the plug-in hybrid BMW XM Concept was revealed, it was heavily rumored that the next-gen BMW M5 was going to at least be a hybrid. Now, those rumors have been confirmed, as new spy photos show off the upcoming M5 and it’s a hybrid. (We don’t own the spy photos but they can be seen here)

It’s clear from these photos that what we’re looking at is a BMW M5. Judging by its size and design, it’s certainly a 5 Series sedan. However, its M Division nature is revealed by its quad exhaust pipes. BMW can wrap all the camo it wants around this test mule, give it non-production wheels, and even add some body panel fakery to the C-pillars to hide the Hofmeister Kink, but there’s no hiding those four exhaust pipes.

Now that we’ve established that this test mule is indeed a BMW M5, let’s move onto its powertrain. In Germany, test vehicles require certain badges, denoting their status as electrified vehicles. It’s a safety requirement, in case one crashes and catches fire, emergency services need to know that there are lithium-ion battery packs on board. By now, I’m assuming you’ve guess that this BMW M5 test mule has such a badge and you’d be right.

On the sides and back end of the car, you can see “Hybrid Test Vehicle” badges, which absolutely cements the M5’s status as a plug-in hybrid. There were questions of whether the BMW M5 would be a hybrid or fully electric and the answer is clearly the former. Will there be a full-electric model later down the line? Perhaps. But for now, we know it’s a hybrid.

What does that mean? It likely means the BMW M5 will get the same V8-hybrid powertrain found in the BMW XM, though potentially with less power. The XM is said to have 750 horsepower and while it’s absolutely possible that the next-gen M5 could have that much, BMW might want to lessen the M5’s punch to keep the XM at the top of the hierarchy.

Either way, it’s confirmed — the BMW M5 will be a plug-in hybrid. Exciting times.

[Source: Auto Express] [Top image features the G60 5 Series – Image by]