All rumours and talk have been confirmed, BMW is indeed looking at the xDrive system in the M5. BMW say that the 6th generation M5 will be available later in 2017. This is indeed exciting as the debate has always been, should BMW stick with rear wheel drive for the more powerful machines or succumb to the all-wheel-drive bandwagon which others have already gone.
Now the 4.4 litre V8 engine under the hood has a new playmate in the form of the xDrive system.
“The core component of M xDrive is a central intelligence unit with M-specific software delivering integrated control of longitudinal and lateral dynamics. The new drivetrain technology – making its debut on the new BMW M5 – therefore combines all of the agility and precision of standard rear-wheel drive with the supreme poise and traction of the all-wheel-drive system,” explains Frank van Meel, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW M GmbH. “As a result, the new BMW M5 can be piloted with the familiar blend of sportiness and unerring accuracy on both the race track and the open road – and in various weather conditions, too.”
The M xDrive system enables a wonderfully fleet-footed rear-biased set-up by only bringing the front wheels into play when the rear wheels aren’t able to transmit any more power to the road and additional tractive force is required. Even when it is being driven in a particularly sporty manner and unleashing high levels of power, the new BMW M5 with M xDrive behaves predictably and can be controlled with ease by the driver, paving the way for an even richer experience of the business sedan’s extraordinary performance capabilities.
The driver can choose from five different configurations based on combinations of the DSC modes (DSC on, MDM, DSC off) and M xDrive modes (4WD, 4WD Sport, 2WD).
Having the xDrive system has some benefits, the configurations allow the drive system’s characteristics to be tailored to both the driver’s personal preferences and the nature of the journey.
Purists can opt for classic rear-wheel drive by completely deactivating the all-wheel-drive system.
This all adds up to a sense of dynamic flair that astounds even seasoned DTM drivers: “I’m a big M5 fan,” explains BMW works driver Timo Glock, for example. “I often drive long distances and I need plenty of room for my family, but I wouldn’t wish to give up the chance to explore the car’s sporting character. With M xDrive, not only can the new BMW M5 be steered with the usual precision and agility, it also offers me something I really appreciate, living in Switzerland: a noticeable boost to traction and controllability – even when driving in particular environmental conditions, such as wet weather and snow, and in both everyday driving situations and when pushing the car to its performance limits.”
By default the BMW M5 would be in 4WD mode, so yes, you need to actively engage the settings if you want to swap back to 2WD. With this new set up, you even have a 4WD Sport Mode where BMW wants you to experience what their all-wheel-drive technology can do. I am super curious now to see how the new BMW M5 will perform at the Nurburgring and even on the road.
Can’t wait for it!