Talk of an all-wheel-drive BMW M5 dates back to 2011, and over the years we’ve had both hints and denials from official sources. Now the recently appointed chief of the storied M division, Frank van Meel, a former Audi quattro employee, has confirmed that an all-wheel-drive M5 is coming.
The information was confirmed by van Meel in an interview with Autocar, where the German engineer also said that the next M5, as well as the mechanically similar M6, will still have a rear-wheel-drive bias despite having all-wheel drive.
“The philosophy will remain rear-wheel drive, even if there is all-wheel drive,” he said. “As we increase power and torque, then the M5 and M6 will have large outputs, so we’ll look at those solutions with these cars in the future.”
A new generation of the BMW 5-Series is due in 2016, with its M5 variant likely to follow a year or two after the regular model's launch. What still isn’t clear, however, is whether the M division is looking to make all-wheel drive an option or a standard feature on the car.
Franciscus van Meel
“There might be a business opportunity with the X3/X4,” he said when quizzed about the possibility of new M cars. “We’re continuing our success story with new versions of the X5 M and X6 M.”
Finally, he reiterated that there were no plans to develop an M version of one of BMW’s new i cars, like the i8. However, he did say that there was room for technology sharing between the i and M divisions, such as in the area of carbon fiber usage.