BMW's electrification plans keep expanding into unexpected ground. Future product whisperer Georg Kacher submitted a report to Car magazine claiming the next-generation M5 will come with two powertrains, one a plug-in hybrid, one all-electric. Said to appear in 2023, one year after the next-generation 5 Series debuts, the rumored M5 will ride on the CLAR WE architecture BMW detailed in 2017 PowerPoint presentation. CLAR WE can accept the brand's Efficient Dynamics mild hybrid, Power PHEV, and BEV powertrains. The lesser — and we use that word with respect — of the two M5 models would get the same plug-in hybrid powertrain being developed for the X8 M. That means a twin-turbo V8 and electric motors combining to produce roughly 750 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque.
The all-electric M5 would establish at least one first and one new benchmark for the automaker. As predicted, the sedan would be the first all-electric product from the M division as well as its first exclusively electrified offering. The expectations are a 135-kWh battery pack with a 400-volt architecture that can handle 350-kW charging. The battery would power three motors arranged like on the imminent i4 and iNext crossover, one for the front axle and one for each rear wheel. With each motor producing 250 kW, or 335 hp, we're suddenly contemplating an M5 with about 1,005 horses. That would be the most powerful road-legal production BMW ever. Engineers are aiming for the dash to 62 miles per hour to take 2.9 seconds — a tenth or two slower than the current, 617-hp, ICE-powered M5 Competition — and for range to hit 435 miles on Europe's WLTP cycle. Such an M5 would become the brand's de facto electric standard-bearer, an alternative to the Vision M Next hybrid supercar meant to replace the i8 that was scuttled over cost issues.
Above the M5, a report earlier this year put three electrified powertrains in the next 7 Series, but the most powerful among them, an all-electric version with two electric motors, is predicted to get around 650 hp.
By the time the mooted M5 arrives, a 1,000-hp mainstream luxury EV won't be new. Tesla's Model S Performance already makes 778 hp, the Plaid models thought to debut on Tesla's Battery Day on Sept. 15 this year are expected to break the four-figure mark. Lucid is preparing a 1,000-hp flagship version of the Air, and a 1,000 hp Hummer is coming soon. The Taycan Turbo S and Rivian pickup and SUV top out at 750 hp, and we imagine more will come from them before long. With BMW having started late on its electric charge, an M division team member is reported to have said, "Mid-term, our only stable competitive advantage is ride, handling and roadholding," so plan on top-notch dynamics from an M5 that could stretch our understanding of the term "super sedan."