BMW M5 officially revealed packing 440kW and a 0-100km/h time of 3.4 seconds.

BMW has released the first official images of its new 440kW M5, ahead of its debut at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Christened F90, and based on the latest G30 generation of the 5 series, it’ll be the sixth generation of the M5 family when it goes on sale next year.

For the first time the M5 is four-wheel drive, breaking an M-car tradition – recent SUVs aside – that goes back to the earliest days of BMW’s high performance sub brand. However, as we already know, M xDrive will still offer a rear-wheel drive only mode, albeit with no form of stability or traction control available if ‘2WD’ is selected. In that way it’s similar to its key rival, the Mercedes-AMG E63 S, which also offers a fashionable ‘drift’ mode.

2017 BMW M5 pre-production review – two cars in one?

The revised 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 offers 440kW and 750Nm of torque, a substantial increase on the outgoing standard car (F10M), if not special editions such as the 30 Jahre. The turbochargers have been revised, along with the lubrication and cooling systems, and fuel injection pressure has been raised to 350 bar. The other major development is the switch to a torque converter automatic gearbox, the previous generation having used the M DCT twin-clutch solution. BMW claims there is no loss of performance with this latest generation of Steptronic ‘box over its twin-clutch alternative, but that everyday refinement is improved.

With the adoption of four-wheel drive and its traction advantage, the new M5 has joined the burgeoning ranks of cars with increasingly bewildering performance stats. 0-100km/h is claimed to take just 3.4-seconds (compared to 4.3-seconds in the old car), with 0-200km/h a scant 11.1-seconds. Top speed is limited to 250km/h. Such figures put it on a par with the more powerful E63 S, which offers 450kW and 850Nm for very slightly less money. However, we expect the M5 to undercut the AMG’s 1,955kg kerbweight by around 100kg, thanks in part to an aluminium bonnet and front wings, plus a CFRP roof. Carbon ceramic brakes are an option, saving a further 23kg.

Naturally, the chassis has been thoroughly upgraded, too, with firmer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. There will be no shortage of setup options and driving modes with the new M5, as might be expected: the Drivelogic control of the gearbox offers three settings, with manual control via the gear selector and steering wheel paddles, plus there are three settings for the engine, steering and chassis in the usual fashion. Preferred setups can be saved under M1 and M2 programmes, accessible via the steering wheel.

 > Click here for our review of the Mercedes-AMG E63 S

The M5’s body is pumped up in the manner we’ve come to expect of a big M saloon, while wheels are bi-colour cast 20” items, shod with a 275/35 tyre on the front axle and a 285/30 on the rear. Black wheels are a cost option. Inside there are new M Multifunctional seats, a red starter button and a heads up display amongst numerous items of standard and optional equipment.

We’ll get a proper go sometime in November, with customers receiving cars early next year, but with the also all-wheel drive Mercedes-AMG E63 S and Porsche Panamera Turbo currently ruling the supersaloon class, the BMW M5 will need to be pretty special to clearly shine through