The performance statement made by the M5 has never been stronger. With 617 horsepower and a zero-to-60 time of 2.6 seconds according to Car and Driver, the M5 Competition is a four-door executive sedan that can run with some of the most capable performance cars of all time, or shuttle your foursome and clubs to the local golf course. Just a handful of other cars in its performance segment can complete both in terms of acceleration and utility, and the only faster four-doors are all-electric models; the Porsche Taycan Turbo S, and the Tesla Model S P100D.
Whenever we write about the performance capability of BMW’s current M car lineup, more specifically the M5 and M8, there is usually a comment about Tesla offering something faster in the same market segment. It’s true of the 3 Series and the Model 3, and it’s also true of the M5 and Model S. We’ve long known this, but given the near-instantaneous torque delivery of electric motors, comparisons between these cars have been a forgone conclusion for some time, and the fact that BMW is able to get compete with internal combustion-powered models is impressive in its own right.
The ground is shifting beneath BMW’s century-old foundations, however, and the company does not seem willing to fade away into obscurity. Instead, it’s long been prioritizing an electrified future, and not only in terms of everyday transportation solutions like the iX3. This week, U.K.-based Car reported that BMW is developed an all-electric M5 with 1,000 horsepower, which could end up being the automaker’s fastest and most powerful upcoming model.
For those keeping track, the rumor may not come as a particular shock. Over a year ago, we reported on BMW showing off a ridiculously powerful and incredibly fast all-electric version of the M550i xDrive. Heavily modified with large battery packs visible below the rocker panels, Lucy the Power BEV, as the testbed was nicknamed, develops power from no fewer than three of the fifth-generation eDrive motors used in the iX3. Between the batteries and eDrive units, weight over a standard M550i xDrive is up nearly 1,000 pounds, yet BMW claimed it could accelerate from zero-to-60 in just 2.8 seconds—faster than the current F90 M5.
Details of the next-gen M5, due to arrive in 2024, are eerily similar. Based on BMW’s CLAR platform, the upcoming M5 is speculated to use a total of three eDrive motors with output of 335 horsepower each. A sub-three-second acceleration time is being tossed around, and the drive configuration would likely see a pair of motors driving the rear axle, and a single unit dedicated to the front.
The M5 won’t be going all-electric off the bat, however. According to Car, BMW is also developing a 750-horsepower variant that employs a hybrid V8 setup. The plug-in hybrid drivetrain will be shared with the upcoming X8 M, and will send 737 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels, according to the website. Details for the models remain scarce, but we wouldn’t be shocked to learn that the next-gen M5 might use the new 4.0-liter V8 that is rumored to be in development.
Will any of it actually matter? That’s the tough question, as Tesla continues to encroach upon BMW’s perennial market segments, and as the Model S gets ever closer to the 1,000-horsepower threshold thanks to continuous development and upgrading. The Porsche Taycan Turbo S already makes the equivalent of 750 horsepower, and the highest performing Model S has 778, with upgrades on the way for both in the coming years. By the time an electric M5 arrives, these models may have moved on, while others will have potentially entered the space. Either way, it seems like BMW isn’t going to standby much longer.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]