Early 2024 BMW M5 prototype confirms plug-in hybrid powertrain
The next BMW M5 has been spotted testing for the first time, will it live up to the brilliant CS?
BMW M is in some serious form at the moment, with CS models taking out two evo Car of the Year titles, the new M3 and M4 showing some serious form, and an all-new M2 and M4 CS coming online this year. But the brand’s proliferation has only just begun as it plans to roll out its first plug-in hybrid models, of which the next all-new BMW M5 will be.
Lesser BMW 5-series prototypes have been spotted before in both combustion engined and all-electric i5 forms, but this is the first time an M5 and its tell-tale details have been seen. With both a plug-point opening on the front wing, and a plug-in hybrid moniker on the front doors, the new M5’s adoption of a plug-in powertrain is now in little doubt. BMW has previously confirmed it’s working on a plug-in hybrid module to sync with its existing 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 for the controversial XM, a combination we expect will be fitted here.
Prospective power and torque figures are expected to land somewhere around the 750bhp mark, with the V8 itself unlikely to significantly raise power over the current Competition’s 616bhp and the plug-in unit then adding another 136bhp or so. It will almost certainly retain its all-wheel drive system – something that’s become a defining feature of the M5 in the current generation. Yet what layout this new plug-in hybrid system takes is less clear, as all BMWs currently integrate their electric motors into the existing driveline, but with AMG’s new rear-mounted plug-in module opening up further possibilities in regards to packaging and weight distribution, BMW M might have something different in store to keep what will be a heavy car balanced between the axles.
The body is based on the still-to-be-revealed next generation 5-series, but there has been extensive modification to the body, with wider front arches – not an unusual addition on modern M5s – but also a subtly wider rear too, with some makeshift over-fenders clipped on to the arch surrounds. At this very early stage of development, all of these elements are placeholders for the details that will eventually be used on the final production car, but it shows that alongside a new level of environmental awareness, the new M5 will still have the same level of, if not more bespoke engineering applied to the chassis.
The rest of the body looks more closely aligned with other 5-series prototypes, characterised by the more steeply raked rear screen and shorter bootlid in comparison to the relatively upright G30. The front grille does look to be larger and more assertive than the current model, too, but looks to have bypassed the controversial new look the incoming 7-series will employ with a split headlight design and huge kidney openings.
Unfortunately, there’s still quite a wait for us to see the new M5, as it will likely join the new-gen 5-series saloon about a year after its reveal which itself is set for mid-2023, making this likely a 2024 model. If this seems like a long time to wait, it’s worth remembering the sheer amount of calibration work that high performance car makers need to put into making so much hardware work so seamlessly. AMG’s GT63S E-Performance is still in progress, despite a teaser campaign that’s lasted the best part of two years. Yet if the new M5 is anything like as good as the current M5 CS, it’ll be worth the wait.