Reports suggest the eight-cylinder sedan will be killed off with the next generation.
BMW may be known for its iconic inline-six engines, but one model is better with two more cylinders under the hood. Yes, ever since the automaker shoehorned a V8 into the E34, BMW's 5 Series has always been best enjoyed with an eight-pot and a devilish growl.
The original 540i cemented a reputation that is still carried by the wonderful M550i but, sadly, it seems this tradition will soon die. According to BMW Blog, the upcoming G60 generation will reportedly drop the turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 in the M550i in favor of a more eco-friendly alternative. Rumors suggest it will be powered by an electrified powertrain with a model designation of M560e.
In this trim, the B58 six-cylinder mill will gain added motivation from an electric motor (or perhaps two) for combined outputs in the region of 560-570 horsepower. This would represent a considerable increase over the current M550i, which produces 523 hp. Naturally, we can expect power to be sent to all four wheels via BMW's excellent ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission.
But before you start mourning the loss of another great V8, there's a small crumb of comfort to be had. The next-generation M5 will retain the V8, but with a twist. Like the controversial BMW XM SUV, the upcoming super sedan will adopt hybrid trickery to increase performance and efficiency.
The automotive grapevine suggests it will share its engine with the aforementioned XM, so we may have up to 750 horses to look forward to. Frankly, the loss of the "regular" V8 wouldn't come as a surprise. Rivals such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz no longer offer a standard eight-cylinder offering in this class, with the only options being the sportier RS6 Avant and AMG E63.
The rumored move is, nevertheless, interesting. BMW recently introduced the new S68 V8, which is currently employed by the refreshed X7, among other high-end offerings. Given the fact that the automaker went through all the trouble to engineer a new motor, we're surprised it's not expected to be offered in the new 5er. Still, we remain hopeful.
All will be revealed soon, as the G60 is expected to enter production as soon as July 2023. The rumored M560e will be joined by several other offerings, including lesser-powered PHEV models with four-cylinder motors and, of course, the all-electric BMW i5. A base ICE variant should join the range in certain regions as well.
We expect the 5 Series to retain its edge as the driver's choice in its segment and impress potential owners with cutting-edge technologies. In fact, the 5er, its electric sibling, and the 7 Series are expected to debut BMW's Level 3 self-driving technology. The larger model will receive the so-called Personal Pilot system next year, with the smaller sedans gaining the feature from July 2024. Sadly, it seems the autonomous capabilities won't make it to US-spec cars at the same time, as legislation around such tech still needs to be resolved.