The currently available sixth-generation BMW M5 sedan is incredibly fast. Although it uses an evolved and uprated version of the same S63 engine of the previous F10, the chassis and xDrive all-wheel-drive system of the F90 put it in another league of performance capability. The base variant delivers 600 horsepower from 5,700 to 6,600 rpm, and 553 pound-feet of torque from 1,800 to 5,700 rpm, delivered to all four wheels via a specialized ZF eight-speed automatic and among the most intelligent of BMW’s xDrive AWD systems; that achieves a zero-to-60-mph time of 3.2 seconds. If that’s not enough for you, there’s the M5 Competition, which comes from the factory with 617 stock horses, among a few other specialized changes that look quite enticing, like the lightweight Y-spoke wheels.
It also edges ever closer to what was previous 911 Turbo and Turbo S exclusive territory.
But now another even-more-potent model has been spotted being put through its paces at BMW’s Nurburgring test facility. Everything remains purely speculative at this juncture, but the specimen captured clearly in the photos below has a few key tipoff points that are leading at least a few automotive-media outlets to guess that this could just be a prototype of test-mule M5 CS.
Visually speaking, this Alpine White F90 M5 appears to be a Competiton-spec example with aesthetic tipoffs like the all-black rear diffusor, part of which is color-matched on standard examples. Black mirror caps are another piece of Competition equipment, although the wheels seem like a blacked-out set of the standard F90 M double-spoke Style 706M wheels.
Most important—and perhaps stoking the most speculation—is the trunk-lid-mounted spoiler on the rear end.
Looking closely at the shape of the carbon spoiler, we can’t help but be reminded of the one that is fitted to currently available performance models, like the M3 CS, for example. The same design was also spotted on another yet-to-be-released BMW which was photographed being driven in the same area.
One more convincing element is the presence of M carbon-ceramic brakes. A quick visit to the BMW USA Configurator confirms that they remain one of the most expensive options in on a potential build sheet at $8,500 for both standard and Competition M5 models. Like the speculative M2 CS mentioned above, the high-dollar, high-performance brakes could be another standard element on what will likely be the range-topping model within the M5 lineup.
What else is to be expected? Most sources indicate that modifications will be limited to aerodynamics and other weight-saving components, and that further power increases are likely off the table. Considering how fast the current M5 and M5 Competition models are, we wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be the case. BMW has been making serious headway in terms of offering weight-saving parts that can truly transform a given car through its M Performance parts collections, and it would be quite impressive to see a midsize executive sedan like the F90 M5 able to sprint from zero to 60 mph well down in the two-second range.
To revisit our previously referenced summation, BMW has recently rethought the structure of its nomenclature as it applies to range-topping performance models. Here’s a quick refresher on the rundown of the various levels:
If everything falls in line as is expected, the CSL badge will completely replace GTS in the lineup as the absolute most hardcore road-legal variant of M car available. Below these winged and caged models are the CS, or Competition Sport variants, which are marketed just above Competition Package-equipped versions of the garden-variety M3 and M4. Rounding things out are the regular M cars, like the M3 or M5, along with M Performance models, such as the M240i or M550i, which seem to represent entry-level M-badged offerings above M Sport Line-trimmed standard models. It’s a lot to digest with a few sentences, but each tier is delineated by clear boundaries that easily distinguish it for a specifically targeted market segment.
Assuming that things are still holding true to the underlying concept, an M5 CS is the next natural evolution for the platform. Holding your breath for a CSL variant is probably not advisable, however, as it seems that anything of such a caliber would be likely be reserved for two-door models such as the M4 or M2.—Alex Tock
[Photos via CarPix.]