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25th of May 2017

Automotive



The BMW M5's AWD system will still let you hoon

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A new BMW M5 will arrive for the US in early 2018, and it will be all-wheel-drive. That’s a concern. For one thing, the added weight of AWD is bad for all aspects of enthusiastic driving. Yes, systems like these add stability and peace-of-mind in poor weather conditions...but that’s not the purpose of an M5. This system is way better than it sounds, though -- read on.

The full name of the M5's AWD system is M xDrive and it includes three-modes: 4WD, 4WD Sport, and 2WD. 4WD drive is default on start-up, but should the driver choose to disable dynamic stability control (DSC) then 4WD Sport and 2WD become available. BMW claims that 4WD offers neutral handling and Sport “increases agility and sportiness,” but the big relief is that the M5 will still hoon on request with 2WD mode. And the rear axle still holds BMW’s Active M differential, which electronically varies between open and full-lock based on driving circumstances.

2017 BMW 540i xDrive First Drive

And there is an enthusiast benefit to four driven wheels: Acceleration. From a standstill, the M5 will put much more power down, making for epic launches. Impress your friends and enjoy it. The 2018 M5 will have a more powerful version of the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 from the last generation and an eight-speed automatic transmission. BMW has not yet announced horsepower figures and many other details are still to come. As it does, we’ll post updates.  

Robin Warner

Robin Warner - Robin Warner is Editorial Manager at Autoweek. He once tried and failed to become a professional race car driver, but succeeded in learning about debt management and having a story to tell. A former engineer, Warner loves cars for their technology and capability. See more by this author»

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