The next-generation BMW M5 is still in its infancy, but one significant change is as clear as night and day. “Hybrid Test Vehicle” on the front doors and rear bumper denote the super sedan’s electrified nature. It’s expected to land in 2024, which is when the speedy saloon from the M division will celebrate its 40th anniversary.
In the meantime, extensive testing is in order to make sure the combustion engine and electric motor will work harmoniously. Logic tells us the prototype is featuring the new S68, a twin-turbo 4.4-liter V8 with a hybrid setup. This hardware combo will debut later this year on the production-ready XM where it should make well over 700 horsepower.
The recently launched M760e with its smaller inline-six and e-motor makes a combined 563 hp, so a V8 will come with a substantial bump in output. The new M5 will most definitely have xDrive given its two different sources of power in what will certainly be a heavy car. An automatic transmission is a given, as is an unspecified electric range courtesy of a battery pack.
Although this M5 prototype is heavily camouflaged, there are a few details we can point out. Aside from the obvious quad exhausts and chunky brakes, the test car has bulging fenders. It’s missing the M mirrors as well as the production-ready headlights and taillights. A closer look at the side profile shows the flush door handles we’re beginning to see on more BMWs. The bigger side skirts could be necessary to fit the battery pack.
Even though photos of the interior are not available, you can tell by the black cloth on the dashboard the M5 has BMW’s new iDrive 8. We’re talking about two side-by-side screens and fewer physical buttons since the touchscreen will swallow most conventional controls. Sooner or later, all models will switch to the latest setup.
The next-generation 5 Series Sedan will be unveiled in 2023 together with the electric i5. The high-performance M5 should follow a year later. By the looks of it, the AMG E63 rival will have a normal kidney grille.
Photos by instagram.com/wilcoblok