Leaner, faster, 4WD M5

Sixth-gen su­per­sa­loon with ground­break­ing all-wheel drive fi­nally shows its face

Evo India - - BRIEFING -

with the front axle only com­ing into play when the rear tyres lose grip. The next stage is M Dy­namic mode, which puts the driv­e­train into ‘4WD Sport’. In this set­ting the elec­tron­ics al­low more slip from the rear axle be­fore send­ing drive to the front.

Fi­nally, there’s ‘2WD’, only avail­able with all trac­tion and sta­bil­ity sys­tems switched off. BMW says it is de­signed ‘for track use by ex­pe­ri­enced drivers’. With 592bhp and, per­haps more per­ti­nently, 750Nm of torque, ‘2WD’ mode and a wet round­about could cer­tainly prove in­ter­est­ing…

BMW M has yet to con­firm an of­fi­cial kerb weight, but en­gi­neers have told us that the new car should be slightly lighter than the out­go­ing F10M model – and that’s de­spite the ad­di­tional 60kg-or-so of four wheeldrive hard­ware. The M de­part­ment has adapted tech­nol­ogy used in the M760i, util­is­ing that car’s trans­fer case with its elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled clutch, along with the Ac­tive M Dif­fer­en­tial from be­tween the rear wheels of the M3/M4. The cen­tre diff can range from 100 per cent open (es­sen­tially rear-wheel drive) to a 50:50 split, and is said to be all but seam­less in its op­er­a­tion.

The new M5 is pow­ered by the same twin-turbo 4.4-litre V8 as be­fore, al­though as you’d ex­pect it has been given a thor­ough up­date. With re­vised tur­bos, in­creased di­rect-in­jec­tion fuel pres­sure to 350bar and im­proved lu­bri­ca­tion and cool­ing sys­tems – the for­mer in­clud­ing a vari­able pump de­signed for ‘race­track ap­pli­ca­tions’ – the new en­gine com­fort­ably ex­ceeds the 552bhp and 679Nm of the old car and the 567bhp of the pre­vi­ous Com­pe­ti­tion Pack­age model.

A sig­nif­i­cant change to the M5’s driv­e­train is the switch from a twin-clutch M DCT gear­box to an eight-speed ‘M Step­tronic with Driv­el­ogic’ torque con­verter. Its op­er­a­tion is gov­erned, as with other as­pects of the M5’s behaviour, by modes – there are three, along with Ef­fi­cient, Sport and Sport+ for the en­gine – and gears can be changed man­u­ally via pad­dles on the steer­ing wheel or with the gear se­lec­tor. BMW M en­gi­neers claim there is no loss of per­for­mance with the Step­tronic

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