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New G90 BMW M5 launched with a 717bhp V8 hybrid

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New G90 BMW M5 launched with a 717bhp V8 hybrid

New G90 BMW M5

The new M5 is set to be the most radical model in the famous supersaloon’s 40-year history. Twin-turbocharged V8 and switchable four-wheel drive retained, now aided by a 194 bhp electric motor. Craig Toone takes a deep dive into the next-generation model.

For four decades the BMW M5 has dominated the autobahns of its native Germany, not to mention supersaloon group tests in every automotive publication across the globe. It is an icon, the definition of the breed. So when the M division takes the wraps of a new iteration, it's a very big deal.

Unfortunately, there is no escaping the fact that the new G90 M5 is also a very big car. Let’s just get it out of the way - the new M5 weighs 2,435kg DIN. That’s a substantial 570kg heavier than its predecessor, the F90 M5. The M5 has also grown in every direction, with its length now spanning over five metres. 

Still, supersaloons have never been about low mass and small footprints. They’re about brute force and luxury, suppressing the laws of physics rather than using them to their advantage. The G80 M3 has proven that piling on the pounds is no barrier to building a dynamically superior car, and if anyone can make so many kilos dance, it’ll be the M division.


New G90 BMW M5
New G90 BMW M5

New G90 BMW M5; Performance & Motorsport derived hybrid powertrain

The weight gain comes down to the accommodation of the new M hybrid powertrain, shared with the XM SUV and directly related to the technology within the BMW M Hybrid V8 endurance racing machine. 

That means the same 4.4 litre, S58 twin turbocharged V8 as the XM, producing 577bhp from 5,600 rpm to 6,500 rpm, with a redline of 7,200 rpm. For reference, the S63 motor in the F90 made 616 bhp in Competition form. But what the outgoing car didn’t have is a supplementary 94 bhp, 207 lb-ft electric motor nestled with its eight-speed transmission, resulting in a combined peak powertrain output of 717 bhp and 738 lb-ft. In Newton Metres, that torque output is a nice, round 1,000NM. 

Drawing its power from a 22.1kWh battery pack (18.6kWh usable), the new M5 is capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph in 3.5 seconds - a fraction behind the old model. BMW usually divulges further performance data metrics such as the 0-124 mph (200 kph) and Nurburgring lap times, however, such figures are absent from the press release. Could the G90 be slower than its predecessor? The power-to-weight ratio does lag behind that of the F90, with 294 playing against 330 bhp/ton. 


New G90 BMW M5
New G90 BMW M5

Should it matter? In the real world, the likelihood is the tables will be turned due to the superior responses of the electric motor. The motor can also add a flywheel effect to the crankshaft for snappier upshifts, or pre-accelerate it for smoother downshifts, just like the endurance racer. BMW states most of the decrease in the V8’s output is down to future proofing the engine to comply with forthcoming emissions standards. 

Unlike Mercedes with the new E53 AMG, the M division says adopting the M3’s six cylinder, S58 powerplant was never an option, as it would only have saved 50kg, and the biturbo V8 is considered central to the M5’s character.

BMW continues to stand by the gentlemen's agreement of limiting the top speed of the car to 155 mph - that is, unless you tick the optional M Driver’s Package, where the limiter will be upped to 189 mph. Driven by the batteries alone, the M5 can hit a top speed of 87 mph and the claimed WLTP range is 42–43 miles. The behaviour of the hybrid system can be dictated by the driver via five specific powertrain modes ranging from full EV to fire breathing Dynamic Plus. The level of regenerative braking is also customisable.


New G90 BMW M5

New BMW M5; Chassis & Handling Technology

Deploying that 717 bhp output to the road is the latest version of the M division's brilliant switchable X drive all wheel drive. Four wheel drive, four wheel drive sport (sending increased torque to the rear axle) and rear wheel drive options all remain, with each mode tuned to adapt to the power delivery of the M hybrid, as have the parameters of the DSC and Active M Differential on the rear axle.

Countering the bulk is the new rear-wheel steering system, which permits up to 1.5 degrees of rear wheel movement, enhancing agility at low speeds, or increasing stability on an autobahn charge. The front track has also been widened by 75mm and the rear by 48mm, which according to BMW, means the M5’s width-to-height ratio is improved, lowering the roll centres.

Further improvements over the previous F90 M5 include the adoption of double-wishbone suspension for the front axle in place of MacPherson struts, whilst the rear adopts a five-link set up. Steering is via a variable ratio, electrically assisted rack-and-pinion system that’s been solidly mounted to the front subframe to increase feel and precision. BMW promises the M division’s “renowned linear build-up of lateral forces.”


New G90 BMW M5

Adaptive damping will also be present, with owners having the ability to dial in the usual suite of driving moods from comfort to sport plus. Interestingly, for the new G90 M5, BMW has switched damper suppliers from Sachs to Bilstein.

As ever, the braking, steering weight and gearbox setting can also be tailored, and the labyrinth of customisation can be saved into the M1 and M2 shortcut buttons mounted on the new, flat bottomed steering wheel. It can also be safe to assume the M5 will benefit from the ten-stage, switchable dynamic stability control as fitted to the M3.

Other M division hallmarks include the adoption of staggered alloy wheels, with 20-inch at the front axle and 21-inch at the rear fitted as standard, wrapped in a bespoke Michelin Pilot Sport S 5 or Pirelli P Zero R tyres in 285-section front, 295-section rear widths. Standard braking is by six-piston front, single-piston rear steel brakes, with M carbon ceramics complete with natty gold callipers set to be a typically expensive optional extra. 


New G90 BMW M5
New G90 BMW M5

New BMW M5; Styling, Interior and Price

For the first time ever, the M5 receives bespoke wings and wheel arches. The trademark four exhaust tips are in situ, not up to 100mm diameter and finished in black chrome. Other M5 identifiers include a large front chin spoiler,side skirt extensions, ‘M5’ embossed into the Hofmeister kink, a subtle lip spoiler and a prominent rear diffuser. An optional ‘M Carbon Exterior’ package is also available, which added a CFRP roof, wing mirror and further carbon accents. Beyond improving the aesthetics, the pack also brings a useful 30kg weight saving, although it means forgoing the standard sunroof.

Inside, you’ll find a new bucket seat design, which BMW states is more fitting to the “sporting comfort” demands of an M5. BMW’s curved display screen is also present, as well as the latest Operating System 8.5, unique ambient lighting and custom M-specific dials and displays. Wireless charging and a Bowers & Wilkins Surround Sound System are standard.

The new M5 is set to cost from £110,500 in the UK, and the order books are now open, with deliveries commencing in November 2024. As well as the saloon, for the first time ever, the M5 Touring variant will also be available to order simultaneously. Between now and then, the G90 M5 will make its world debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on the 11th of July.

Written by

Craig Toone

Published

7 February 2021

Last Updated

07/02/21

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