Skip advert
Advertisement

2025 BMW M5 (G90) prototype review – electrified supersaloon with supercar power 

BMW’s new plug-in hybrid M5 is a technical tour-de-force, but does this mean it’s still king of the supersaloons? evo drives it on UK roads and track to find out

Evo rating
Price
from £111,405
  • Brutishly handsome, remarkably agile
  • Feels big, even on track

The new, seventh generation M5 represents the most radical shift since the model was first launched in 1986. For the first time, the M5 is a plug-in hybrid, with 18.6kwh of batteries and a single e-motor incorporated into its eight-speed auto, boosting the familiar, twin-turbo V8’s 575bhp to a huge 717bhp and swelling torque to 1000Nm (737lb ft). As on the outgoing F90 M5, this is distributed to all four wheels via xDrive, which is configured to send 100 per cent of drive to the rear until the rear tyres cannot cope. BMW claims 0-62mph in 3.5sec and a top speed of 155mph (189mph with the optional M Driver’s pack). 

Advertisement - Article continues below

We have now driven a late stage prototype at both the Salzburgring circuit in Austria and the roads of North Wales, and the first impression are that it’s a much bigger, more imposing car than the F90 M5, which, in CS form, was our 2021 car of the year. For the first time the M5 has bespoke, flared wheel arches front and rear, giving it the look of a scaled-up M3 CS, and those arches allow much wider wheel tracks. Engineers say that even though the new car is taller, the width-to-height ratio is improved, lowering the roll centres and helping achieve the handling targets. 

Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

> The all-new BMW M5 is here, and it’s slower than the old one

Having taken the decision to go hybrid, M GmbH elected to go all-in and make it plug-in to give some appreciable EV-only performance. In EV mode the new M5 delivers 197bhp and 206lb ft and allows a range of 42-43miles (67-69km) and a top speed of 87mph. However, the weight penalty is substantial, the G90 weighing in at 2435kg, which is 440kg more than the outgoing M5 Competition and over 500kg more than the M5 CS. The uplift in power and torque helps offset this increase in a straight line and integral, active rear-steer – a first on an M car – helps in corners. Up to 60mph it counter-steers the rear wheels by up to 1.5 degrees for agility and thereafter parallel steers them for stability.

Advertisement - Article continues below

It was bold of BMW to choose a race track for the first drive of an almost 2.5 ton supersaloon but they claim it has great dynamic bandwidth, with town comfort and trackday ability the bookends. The new M5 looks big, though – it’s pretty much the size of a Mercedes S-class –  and it feels big too because you sit quite high in a roomy cockpit. And it was equally bold to allow us to have our first encounter with the G90 M5 on the tight, technical roads of north Wales, too.

The plan for the track driving is that we’ll be led round by an M4 CS pace car, a car that we’ve lapped the circuit in to learn the course, and very effective it was too on its sticky Michelin Cup 2 Rs, deploying its 542bhp with ease. Once we’ve slipped quietly down the pit lane on electric power it’s impressive to discover that once its V8 kicks in, the M5 has the measure of the smaller M car. Bearing down on the chicane on the first flying lap, you’re wary of the momentum yet when you hit the brakes the M5 hauls down like it weighs half what it does, and when you turn in, it carves a line for the apex like it weighs half too. Sure, this car is fitted with a few options including carbon ceramic brakes and a carbon roof in place of the standard-fit fixed panoramic glass roof, saving 25 and 30kg respectively, and has one of the sports tyres fitted (Michelin PS 5 S), but it’s astonishingly responsive for a 2435kg saloon. 

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The M4 still has the edge getting into the long hairpin that leads onto the back straight but once you’ve shifted up to the sportiest pre-set mode, full power is deployed, the shifts are punchier and M5 has caught the CS before we get to the next braking point. Impressive, and the M5 is resolutely stable at speed too. By the fourth flying lap we’d got the front tyres a bit cooked and in the tighter stuff it wants to push on. A little lift before each apex helps rotate the car but the M5 always feels like a big car from behind the wheel. And if it feels big on a race track, how will it feel on the road, how precise and easy to place? 

On the road the M5 still feels big, and if you’re a driver who likes to be sat on the floor you’ll likely raise the seat cushion height a fraction to provide a clearer view of the front corners. Always starting in electric mode there’s a switchable on/off soundtrack that generates a borderline V8 background hum, raising and falling as momentum ebbs and flows. There’s also a natural throttle response in EV mode, with a linear build up of pace and an identical throttle feel to when the V8 is making its contribution.

There’s a seamless transition when the ICE fires up when all the settings are left in Comfort, but if you’ve been driving in Sport-ev mode there’s a gentle push through the drivetrain as the 98RON replaces kWs. As on track, the M5 builds serious pace when you call upon the V8’s resources, and when supplemented by the e-motors torque the M5 seems to shake off 500kg, the V8 playing to its strengths of feeding in what feels like an endless resource of performance, the battery delivering the charge to keep the e-motors spinning and filling any voids in the engine’s torque delivery. It doesn’t have the sharpness of a CS, but if you were to jump from an M5 Competition to the new plug-in hybrid you’d instantly appreciate the quicker, more linear response times of the newer car. 

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Impressive as the new powertrain is, it’s the work the dynamics team has done to the G90’s chassis that holds you in awe. The prototype we drove on the road was again fitted with Michelin’s Pilot 5 S tyre (a Pirelli P Zero Corsa with the same ‘D’ rolling resistance rating is also available as an option, with the standard fitment Hankook tyre rated at ‘B’ for rolling resistance. All three tyres allow the M5 to perform as intended, with the slightly noisier Michelin the preferred choice for high-speed road and track driving. Michelin’s Pilot Alpin 5 winter tyre is also available) and in Comfort there’s a smooth compliance no modern day M5 has previously enjoyed. It smothers the surfaces without numbing feedback, the body and damper control has a fluidity to it that you’d expect from a class below. 

Switch to Sport mode and the damping remains compliant, with next to no harsh inputs finding their way through the body and that linearity and fluidity remains. The Sport steering setting only adds weight and while Comfort feels a little too far on the side of lightness, with the rear axle steering (up to 1.5 degrees of turn in the opposite direction to the front axle at up to 43mph, the same maximum angle of turn above this speed) the M5 is quick and eager to get into the corner and the car rotates as one. You can’t ‘feel’ the rear axle reacting independently but you do feel the agility it adds. 

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

There’s also no porpoising through the car as the load builds in a corner, something cars of this size (and weight) tend to suffer from, the M5 settling on its steel springs - air suspension adds weight for no performance benefit - and dampers in a single movement to provide a calmness and controlled set-up. It might be a big beast but it’s one that reacts with measured response to your inputs to allow accurate road positioning. 

Sport Plus shoots a high-octane high-voltage adrenalin shot through the powertrain and locks the chassis down to a level that is more than is required for the road, although unlike similar settings in the past it isn’t a tooth rattler either. 

The optional carbon-ceramic brakes don’t have the modulation of the steel discs, but their lighter weight and more robust endurance make them a bit of no-brainer if you intended to use the M5’s mighty performance on more technical and challenging roads. 

Price and rivals

The new M5 will be revealed to the public at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on July 11 with UK deliveries starting in the autumn, soon after the reveal of the M5 Touring in late summer. At £111,405, the saloon is no more expensive than the current M5 Competition, which seems like good value given how much more tech is crammed in.

The unanswered question before we drove the M5 on the roads was, how will it feel? The F90 M5, especially the beautifully damped CS, managed to feel smaller than its dimensions and was remarkably exploitable and engaging, even on gnarly B-roads, our instinct was that the G90 M5 won’t ‘shrink’ in the same way. On this evidence, it suggests M has got closer than we thought possible.

BMW M5 (2025, G90) specs

EngineV8, 4395cc, twin-turbo, plus 145kW e-motor
Power717bhp
Torque737lb ft
Weight2435kg (299bhp/ton)
Tyres as testedMichelin Pilot Sport S 5
0-62mph3.5sec
Top speed155mph (189mph optional)
Basic price£111,405
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

New EU tyre rules could save motorists £6 billion in new tyres
Tyres
News

New EU tyre rules could save motorists £6 billion in new tyres

400 million tyres per year are replaced before reaching the legal limit for tread depth, but new EU regulations will make tyres safer right down to 1.…
17 Jul 2024
Theon Design GBR003 2024 review – a Porsche 911 Targa with GT3 performance
Theon Design GBR003
Reviews

Theon Design GBR003 2024 review – a Porsche 911 Targa with GT3 performance

For its third UK commission, the Oxfordshire-based Porsche restorer and enhancer has turned its attention to a Targa, and the result is out of this wo…
19 Jul 2024
Alpine A290 prototype review – first taste of new electric hot hatch
Alpine A290 prototype
Reviews

Alpine A290 prototype review – first taste of new electric hot hatch

Alpine’s all-electric future starts here, with the A290 hot hatch. We test a prototype in the frozen north
19 Jul 2024