Mark it down: The next M5 will be the first AWD M car.
BMW has spent the last few months dancing around the idea of the next-generation M5 going all-wheel drive. Recently said dance became a little more intense, with a company product specialist telling Australian outlet GoAuto that the next version of the sports sedan would definitely send power to all four wheels. We reached out to BMW for comment and after the stock response about not talking about future product were told “that BMW M GmbH stands for a philosophy that is not dogmatic for a specific technology.” If it can make AWD work, then it will come.
All M cars have been rear-wheel drive since the first M1 rolled off the production line decades ago. But BMW isn’t going to restrict itself to one type of technology, especially as its cars grow more powerful. That may piss purists off, but at the end of the day these cars are all about performance. “The products developed by BMW M GmbH are designed to deliver precision and agility within the high performance segment,” we were politely informed. For BMW the problem isn’t keeping up with the Joneses so much as it is striking a balance between what its fans expect and what it needs to do in order for its cars to stay competitive. That means designing an AWD system that mimics RWD whenever possible.
We were told any all-wheel-drive system on the next M5 would have to “deliver the feel and performance like a rear-wheel drive system but with additional traction support.” If that can be achieved “then BMW will consider it for implementation.” This seems to corroborate what the Aussie product specialist told GoAuto regarding the 20:80 torque split, a massive bias towards the rear wheels. Whether or not this system will be full-time or part-time remains to be seen. Also, will it even be called xDrive or will it get its own name? (We think MDrive doesn’t sound so bad.) Those questions still need answers, but what we’re done speculating over is whether or not the next M5 will have AWD. It’s definitely on the way.