BMW has always stood by the high-rev philosophy for delivering power from its M engines, launching one of the most vaunted powertrains around in the form of the 5.0-liter V-10 from the current generation M5. However, future BMW powertrains will be downsized in an effort to improve fuel-efficiency and reduce emissions, and even the hallowed M division will be affected by the new wave of environmental consciousness sweeping the automaker.

It’s with great sadness then that we report BMW’s current M5 has ended production and its sweet high-rev V-10 phased out for the next-generation model, which will come with a less sophisticated twin-turbocharged V-8.

Little wonder that after being on sale on the global automotive market for five successful years, the M5 has ended its production lifespan with a new record high--BMW managed to build a total of 20,548 M5s (19,523 sedans and 1,025 wagons). After all, the car packed a drivetrain worthy of an exotic supercar in a package that was practical and capable of being driven every day.

For those who need a quick refresher, the fifth-generation M5 came with a 507 horsepower V-10 engine, sequential M transmission Drivelogic with seven gears and Launch Control for maximum acceleration from a standstill, variable, engine speed-dependent M differential lock as well as model-specific suspension technology, including Electronic Damper Control (EDC) and a compound brake unit.

As usual, the U.S. proved to be the most crucial sales market for the M5 with more than 8,800 finding a local home.

As for the next-generation 2011 BMW M5, expect production numbers to creep even higher thanks to a more powerful twin-turbocharged powerplant. The new car is on track for debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show next March but you can see spy shots of it testing in Germany by clicking here.

[BMW]