BMW details 2018 M5’s xDrive AWD system

A twin-turbo V8, an eight-speed auto, and all-wheel drive are on the menu for the next M5.

It’s official: The next generation of the BMW M5 is getting all-wheel drive. The Munich-based company has released more information about the system in a bid to get purists to put down the pitchforks.

The M5’s xDrive system offers three modes named 4WD, 4WD Sport, and 2WD, respectively. Self-explanatory, the first one is the M5’s default mode. The second mode puts a bigger focus on handling, while the third one completely shuts off the all-wheel drive system and sends 100 percent of the engine’s torque to the rear wheels.

BMW explains the setup offers the best of both worlds. The M5 retains the rear-biased handling that has earned it a Greek god-like reputation over the past three decades. It also offers the benefits of all-wheel drive — notably extra traction in adverse weather conditions — when needed.

The M5 is going automatic-only for the first time since its inception. The last-gen model’s six-speed manual transmission won’t return because there’s virtually zero demand for it, so the only unit offered will be an eight-speed automatic with shift paddles.

We know power will come from a twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 engine, and we think it’ll pump out at least 600 horsepower. BMW points out its next sports sedan will perform the benchmark zero-to-60-mph sprint much faster than its predecessor, which is what we’d reasonably expect from the new variant of one of the world’s most acclaimed sports sedan.

The next-generation BMW M5 will make its official debut online over the summer, and we’ll see it in the metal for the first time this fall at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Sales will begin in early 2018.


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