Initial details of the upcoming 2018 BMW M5 have been released this week, accompanied by images of a camouflaged development vehicle tearing up a race track, and it looks like the biggest M sedan is going to be a killer.
As expected, the company has confirmed the new M5 will feature twin-turbo V8 petrol power and xDrive all-wheel drive, matched to an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission.
While power and performance figures are yet to be confirmed, the company says the M5 will produce "at least 450kW" of power, "at least 700Nm" of torque, and will complete the benchmark 0-100km/h sprint in "under 3.5 seconds".
That means the new-generation M5 will not only better the 423kW/680Nm current-generation car - which completes the benchmark sprint in 4.2 seconds - while also being a more serious competitor to the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, which develops 450kW and 850Nm from its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and sprints from 0-100km/h in a supercar-slaying 3.4 seconds.
Despite the bold performance claims, BMW says the M5 will sip fuel at a combined rate of 10.5L/100km.
The M5's new M xDrive all-wheel drive system is the 'rear-wheel drive with a twist' we've heard about previously, which BMW says combines the agility and precision of rear-wheel drive with the "supreme poise and traction of the all-wheel drive system".
Drivers have the ability to choose from three modes for the rear-biased all-wheel drive system; 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD, while the stability control also has three variations.
Meanwhile, the eight-speed M Steptronic has been tuned for quick shift times and optimal ratio spacing, while also keeping fuel consumption low. Steering-mounted paddle shifters give the option of manual shifting, while three driver modes adjust the transmission accordingly.
Additionally, the rear Active M Differential splits torque between the two wheels, helping to enhance stability and grip in corners.
While there are no images yet, the interior will offer elements and appointments specific to the M5, including a redesigned driver's instrument cluster with two classic circular dials and red needles, and a colour head-up display.
There's also an 'M view' head-up display mode which streamlines the projected information to better suit "dynamic driving", which now allows navigation information to be displayed.
A redesigned gear lever also features a three-position rocker switch for selecting the various shift modes, while the M1 and M2 buttons on the sports steering wheel allow the driver to store their drive configurations in the same way you save your seat position.
The next-generation BMW M5 is expected to be revealed at or just before this year's Frankfurt motor show in September, so stay tuned to CarAdvice for more details in the lead-up to its reveal.
With that in mind, don't expect to see the German super sedan on Australian roads until 2018.