BMW M5 Touring - here in Blighty
Eagle-eyed reader Allan Oakley has spotted the first M5 Touring in the UK - parked up in the Cotswolds market town of Bicester. It's the first time we've seen the world's fastest estate car in the metal. It's an interesting spot, since nobody has actually seen the M5 wagon in the metal yet; although the car was announced days after the Detroit Motor Show in January, it was nowhere to be seen at the NAIAS show hall. The first official sighting will be at the Geneva show in March. The M5 Touring is some estate car: it gets the same 5.0-litre V10 as the saloon, developing a muscular 500bhp. It'll be enough to rocket this estate to the benchmark 62mph in a labrador-worrying 4.8 seconds.
Aha! A CAR Online scoop in the snoozy Cotswolds? Whatever next!
Yes, it is a strange place to spot an M5 Touring. But the number plates on this right-hand-drive car suggest it's a BMW-owned model - probably a demonstrator being used to train dealership staff ahead of its launch this spring. The Cotswolds aren't that far from the company's Bracknell HQ, after all. This shot gives a nifty look at the oh-so-practical rear of the Touring; you'll be able to pack 500 litres of luggage in that boot (which lifts remotely, by the way) and the self-levelling suspension will keep the body shipshape no matter how much luggage you're hauling. Lower the rear seats and you'll stuff in 1650 litres of baggage.
And this is a right-hooker, you say?
It certainly is. This reflection-warped snatchshot of the interior shows the wheel on the right side. There have been M5 Tourings before, but they never made the switch to right-hand drive. Interestingly, we can also see the SMG gearbox which will be standard over here. US buyers can buy a manual M5, but we're stuck with the sequential automated manual and its mind-boggling 11 gearchange modes. At least you won't be bored if you get stuck in a long traffic jam. There's also a simplified version of the iDrive multi-controller. You'll surely be bored by now of all the criticisms thrown at this metal push-and-twiddle switch, so we won't bore you here with its ergonomic shortcomings... suffice to say that BMW has worked hard to simplify its operation with the arrival of the new facelifted 5-series.
Interesting spy shots, but what'll the M5 Touring really look like?
We brought the first official pictures of the M5 Touring last month. And we'll be driving BMW's - and the world's - fastest estate soon. Keep an eye on CAR Online to see if it'll be worth the estimated £65,500 cost in the UK.