CARS.COM — Hot on the heels of the 5 Series' redesign for the 2017 model year, BMW is heralding the arrival of the venerable luxury sedan's high-performance M variant equipped with the M xDrive all-wheel-drive system. The 2018 M5 sells itself on the promise of a perfect marriage of "business sedan" pragmatism and high-performance driving dynamics.
Full details haven't been revealed, but BMW's teased us with a few:
The M5's twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V-8 is mated to an eight-speed automatic Steptronic transmission. BMW says powertrain output gets a modest increase for 2018, but that the combination of the M xDrive system and the Steptronic transmission make the most of it in terms of performance, yielding what the automaker calls a superior zero-to-62-mph sprint, but the number hasn't been disclosed. The drivetrain has been reinforced for greater rigidity to accommodate higher torque, while the rear-biased drive system distributes power between the front and rear wheels, and the M differential regulates power distribution between the rear wheels — all of which ensures maximum traction, agility and handling stability on varying surfaces and driving styles.
Fuel-economy numbers aren't out yet, either, but BMW estimates it'll get 26.9 mpg combined.
Drivers can choose from five modes that incorporate varied combinations of the dynamic stability control and all-wheel-drive system for either spirited or comfort-cruising situations, engaging or disengaging stability control and sending power to all four wheels or just the rear two. According to BMW, the M xDrive system uses a central intelligence unit to fuse the best characteristics of both drive systems: the precision and agility of rear-wheel drive, and the grip and confidence of all-wheel drive.
BMW says the driver-focused cockpit now has a more user-friendly layout thanks to the lowered instrument panel and freestanding control display. The M-style gauge cluster features two circular dials with red needles along with an additional digital speedometer and rev counter with rpm pre-warning field and shift lights that appear in the head-up display. The center of the instrument cluster shows the driver performance setup info, while the head-up display — for which projection size has expanded 70 percent — keeps the pilot apprised of other key driving data without having to divert their eyes from the road.
The gear selector has been redesigned, featuring, among other things, an easier-to-reach Park button. In manual mode, the driver can shift using either the gear selector or the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The M1 and M2 Drive buttons have also been redesigned and more prominently positioned, BMW says, enabling easier access to previously stored driving-preference configurations.
BMW released a teaser image of the new M5; production images as well as more details will be released closer to launch later this year.