The fifth generation of the “wolf in a business suit.”
It all started in 1985, when BMW introduced the first M5 – a premium sedan with the heart of a sportscar. For 26 years, the M5 has been the archetypical sports sedan, offering everyday drivability and exciting performance at the push of a pedal. At the 2011 Shanghai Auto show, BMW will introduce the latest thoroughbred to the legendary family of sport sedans with the BMW Concept M5.
When BMW introduced the latest 5 Series (F10) to the market, it received some criticism for being too conservative. The new M5 however, measures up to the past generations and has a sporty character that it flaunts with its muscular exterior design.
The M5 Concept can be immediately identified by car enthusiasts as a 5 Series with “a little something extra” by the front fascia. The hood’s sculpted contour lines are directed towards the characteristic BMW kidney bean grille, creating the impression of movement. The grille is flanked by dual xenon headlights with piercing blue surrounds. The new bumper features three large air intakes to optimize engine cooling. The middle intake is a mirror image of the kidney bean grille, while both side intakes are curved and feature flaps along the outside to redirect cool air to what’s hiding under the hood.
But the M5 is more than about a more aggressive face, it has bigger muscles too. All four wheel arches are extended, lending to a more powerful appearance and wider track. Both front fenders wear a new M-badge of honor, with gill elements featuring chrome surround and “M” logo. These gills also serve as the start of a sculpted “swage” line that runs along the side of the M5 and ends at the rear, contributing to the dynamic stance.
The rear is where all the magic happens. The athletic character is more apparent here than anywhere else on the M5. The rear wheel arches protrude and create a dynamic stance. Sitting atop the rear trunklid is a subtle rear spoiler that, in conjunction with the diffuser, helps optimize downforce for high speed stability. If that doesn’t catch your eye, the dual exhaust with quad tips will grab your attention with a press of the throttle.
One of the goals for the exterior was to emphasize the power that lies underneath the hood. While some may be saddened at the death of the 5.0-liter V-10 that made the previous generation unique, the new twin-turbocharged V-8 promises to be more responsive and efficient than before. While specifications of the new V-8 haven’t been released (come on BMW!!!) it promises to be 25 percent more fuel efficient and emissions friendly. Part of the improvement in efficiency can be attributed to the seven-speed M dual-clutch transmission with Drivelogic designed specifically for the M5’s V-8 engine. The new dual-clutch gearbox sends power to the rear wheels and provides lightning-fast shifts, resulting in uninterrupted power. A new feature for the M5 is BMW’s new stop-start function. The system helps to improve efficiency by shutting off the engine when the car is stopped. The engine is restarted upon releasing the brake pedal.
The M5 has never been about just having a powerful engine and muscular styling. It also has to handle like a sportscar. The M5 has been fitted with a bespoke suspension that is lower and provides more precise handling than the “base” 5 Series. Filling the wider wheel arches are new 20-inch forged wheels with 265/35 ZR20 front and 265/35 ZR20 rear performance tires. Traction and handling is further optimized with the Active M Differential that uses a multi-plate lock inside of the rear differential to prevent wheel spin.
The official unveiling of the BMW M5 will be on April 19th at the Auto Shanghai 2011. Specifications and pricing have not been released (BMW loves to tease us), but you can be sure to find them on MotoringExposure.com when they are announced!
2012 BMW M5 Concept Video
BMW M5 Concept Gallery
What do you think of the design of the new BMW M5? Are you disappointed that there will be no more V-10 engine? Leave a comment and let us know!