BMW Concept M5 (2011) first official pictures

Published: 04 April 2011

This is the new BMW M5 super saloon. Or at least it’s the BMW Concept M5, a show car that will be unveiled at this month’s 2011 Shanghai auto show, and a preview of how the production M5 will look.

Apart from the darkened wheels and lack of interior, this Concept M5 mirrors the real M5 almost 100%. This is the fifth-generation BMW M5, but the first M car to get its own unique model designation: F10M.

So what do we know about the new 2011 BMW M5?

Let’s start with what’s under the skin, what BMW wants to keep under wraps until the real thing is unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show. Under the bonnet the E60 M5’s V10 has been replaced by a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8. So far BMW will only say it’s a ‘high-revving V8 engine with M TwinPower Turbo Technology’ but we know it’s the same engine you’ll find in the X5 M and X6 M.

However, as befits the M5, we hear the V8 have a little more power than the 4×4 pair: reckon on 578bhp and 530lb ft, up from 547bhp and 501lb ft. The blown V8 won’t have quite the same whip-crack responses as the naturally aspirated V10, but BMW promises that ‘the eight-cylinder power unit delivers a spontaneous and even acceleration, which remains constant up to the highest load and is characteristic of the M feeling, in a previously unequalled dimension’.

The M5 also runs a different gearbox from the SUV M cars. They have a six-speed automatic, but the M5 has a seven-speed double-clutch gearbox that sends power to the rear wheels (via the famous active M Differential, of course). 

Add that to a whole host of drivetrain tweaks (including stop/start) and BMW claims the new M5 consumes 25% less fuel and is 25% cleaner than the old M5: that means around 24.5mpg and 258g/km. Big improvements on the 19.6mpg and 344g/km V10, but still behind the new Mercedes CLS63 AMG.

BMW M5 Concept: the lowdown

M-specific suspension and steering are a given, and there are big brakes hiding behind the 20in forged alloys – the tyres are 265/35 ZR20 up front and 265/35 ZR20 at the back.

As is tradition with M car concepts, the doors are locked and the windows are darkened so there’s no chance of seeing the interior, but there will be new seats and a new steering wheel with proper paddles.

Instead it’s the exterior that BMW wants us to focus on, and it’s clear that despite a complete visual overhaul the new M5 is still relatively understated.

The new front bumper features a trio of air intakes, the flanks features chrome-lined gills (and integrated indicators) and new sills, and at the back there’s M Division’s signature quad exhausts, plus a discreet boot spoiler, bespoke bumper and rear diffuser.

>> Click ‘Add your comment’ below and let us know what you think of the new BMW M5

By Ben Pulman

CAR's editor-at-large, co-ordinator, tallboy