The next-generation M5 is going to be a plug-in hybrid, which may upset the fans who were hoping for a purely electric M5. However, for the BEV-hopeful, worry not, there’s going to be an all-electric performance version of the 5 Series and it was just caught testing at the Nürburgring—the upcoming BMW i5 M50. (We don’t own the spy photos but they can be found here)

In these new spy photos you can clearly see a BMW i5 variant hitting the ‘Ring for a quick workout. You can tell it’s an all-electric i5 based on the blanked out grille, lack of exhaust pipes, and the “Electric Test Vehicle” badges. However, you can also tell that it’s an M Performance model, based on the sporty looking wheels, giant red brake calipers, and the M-style side mirrors. So that can only mean one thing—it’s the BMW i5 M50.

As the top-dog M Performance model, the BMW i5 should be close to the real-deal M5, in terms of straight-line speed, especially since it will be electric. EVs tend to have better off-the-line acceleration than even more powerful hybrids, due to their added instant torque advantage over internal combustion engines. So even though it will be down on power, the i5 M50 should be able to keep up.

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BMW is going to keep its EVs similar, in terms of power and performance. So the BMW i5 M50 is going to share its powertrain with the i4 M50, which uses dual motors to make 536 horsepower and 586 lb-ft. Though, the i5 M50 will likely be slower, due to its increased size weight. However, the i5 could have an additional M Performance model, that would give it an edge over the i4. There’s likely going to be an i5 M60 in the works, which will pack the same powertrain as the iX M60. That car makes 610 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque in its max acceleration mode. So expect the same from the top-dog i5 M60.

When that does come out, the BMW i5 M60 will essentially be an electric alternative to the BMW M5. The latter will get the same hybrid powertrain as the BMW XM, which will likely make 650 horsepower. So the i5 M60 wouldn’t be far off and pack better off-the-line grunt. So if you were hoping that the M5 was converting fully to electrification, fret not. An alternative should be on the way.

[Source: Car Magazine][Top image: instagram.com/wilcoblok]