It was a poorly kept secret that BMW’s M division was moving away from large engines to smaller, forced-induction designs, but now it’s official. The next-generation M5 will, in fact, be powered by a twin-turbocharged V-8.
A recent interview German publication Auto News held with M’s leader, Dr. Kay Segler, didn’t reveal any specific details on the engine itself, but it’s widely believed to be a retuned version of the twin-turbocharged, 4.4-liter V-8 used in both the X5 M and X6 M. In those crossovers, the eight-cylinder produces 555 horsepower, but our sources suggest the engine will be tuned to crank out roughly 575 horsepower for the M5 and the forthcoming M6 coupe — another product confirmed during the interview.
Segler did, however, hint that BMW was creating “two cars in one” with the new M5. One persona will be a sedate daily driver, while the other will be an absolute monster on the track. We wouldn’t be surprised if several of the configurable engine, transmission, and powertrain controllers currently employed in the M5 appear in the new car in some fashion, although there is speculation that both the M5 and M6 will receive an F1-inspired kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). The system recovers energy normally lost during braking, and could give the driver an extra 100-horsepower boost at the push of a button.
Transmission choices for the new M5 are still unknown, but earlier reports suggest the V-8 will likely be mated with a dual-clutch transmission, allowing owners to blast off shifts in a fraction of a second. Currently, today’s M5 is available either with a seven-speed sequential gearbox, or a six-speed manual transmission.
Look for more details on the M5 to emerge shortly before it goes on sale in the second quarter of 2011. The M6, however, will likely launch well after the standard 6 Series models are unveiled in 2011.
Source: Auto News