2012 BMW M5 Preview

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The leaks are finally over, and the official details and images are here.The 2012 BMW M5 is real, and it's pretty impressive on paper.

Power comes, as expected, from BMW's twin-turbo V-8 M TwinPower engine, rated at 560 horsepower at 6,000-7,000 rpm and 502 pound-feet of torque from 1,500 rpm. BMW calls the power delivery "lag free."

All that power equates to acceleration of 4.4 seconds to 60 mph, 13.0 seconds to 124 mph, an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph (or 190 mph with the M Driver's Package), and combined EU fuel economy of 23.7 U.S. mpg. Solid stats across the board.

The suspension is upgraded for M Division use, with different front and rear geometry, stiffer springs and dampers, and dynamic damper control, plus M Dynamic Mode and M-tuned DSC to help the driver make the most of the car. The limited-slip differential is electronically controlled, with the amount of lock variable from 0 percent to 100 percent depending on the situation.

Not mentioned, despite rumors of its existence, is a manual transmission. The official documentation only notes a seven-speed M DCT dual-clutch transmission with launch control and paddle shifters. Perhaps the manual option will surface when U.S.-specific specs are released.

Subtle differences in appearance also mark the M5 out from the standard 5-Series, with a new front bumper hosting large air intakes for the engine and brakes, flared wheel arches, quad exhaust pipes, trunk lid spoiler, 19-inch M-light wheels, and a more aerodynamic rear bumper with integrated diffuser.

Inside, the new M5 gets an M-specific instrument cluster, leather center console trim, M sport seats, plus standard Merino leather upholstery, aluminum interior trim, an anthracite-colored roof liner, and other convenience upgrades. Most of the standard 5-Series options sheet is available for the M5 as well, including the electric glass roof, active or multifunction seats, and more.

All of this adds up to a luxury sedan with just seven pounds per horsepower--an impressive figure that trumps even very light forced-induction cars like the Lotus Exige. Are we eager to get the new M5 on track? Definitely.
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