BMW M5 Touring returns as PHEV rocket

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BMW’s new uber-wagon is set to rival the Audi RS6 Avant by combining a 4.4-litre V8 with a rear-mounted electric motor.

The forthcoming BMW M5 Touring has been spotted testing on the Nürburgring ahead of its launch in 2024, having been on hiatus since the E60-generation model was discontinued in 2010.

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It will arrive in showrooms alongside the new M5 sedan using a plug-in hybrid pairing BMW’s S63 twin-turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine with a rear-mounted electric motor, as previously reported by Automotive Daily Network partner Autocar.

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Sources close to the German manufacturer claim the two units combine for power and torque outputs in the region of 580kW and 1000Nm.

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The car was pictured turning the mini carousel on the Nordschleife in heavy camouflage with wideer front grille openings, a ground-hugging stance, muscular rear apron and signature M5 quad exhaust exits.

It’s currently undergoing testing not just on the track but also urban areas, country roads and motorways around Munich and at the BMW M headquarters in Garching.

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Early prototypes of the new M5 were said to use a lithium-ion battery similar in capacity to the 12.0kWh unit found in the outgoing BMW 545e.

Whether this item will be used for production versions of the next M5 remains to be seen, although suggestions were made that BMW M is developing its own performance battery with ultra-rapid discharging.

That the upcoming 530e and 550e PHEVs receive a 19.4kWh battery hints that the super-sedan and wagon may too receive a more capacious battery.

“We’re now also installing a hybrid drive system with typical M performance in other high-performance cars,” said BMW M development head Dirk Häcker.

Power is set to be delivered through an eight-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox, with a rear-biased xDrive four-wheel drive system.

The next M5 is also set to adopt a heavily reworked chassis, with distinguishing features including a wider front and rear track.

The new BMW i5 is not set to spawn an all-electric M5, but the M division has fettled the zero-emissions sedan. The i5 M60 isn’t as overtly performance-focused as the M5 but still dispatches the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.8sec thanks to a dual-motor powertrain producing a combined 440kW and 820Nm.

The original M5 Touring was launched in 1992 as a more practical variant of the second-generation M5. It didn’t return for the third-generation (E39) model, reportedly due to financial constraints, although a one-off prototype was built. It came back for the fourth-generation (E60/E61) car but was exclusive to Europe, and just 1009 examples were sold.

Additional reporting by Charlie Martin

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