All-Wheel Drive BMW M5 Mule Spied Testing in the Snow for the First Time

Not even two weeks passed since the new M Division Boss, Franciscus van Meel confirmed that the upcoming M5 will have all-wheel drive and we’re looking at an F10 mule testing such a platform already, near the Arctic Circle.
AWD BMW M5 prototype 7 photos
Photo: Image edited by autoevolution
According to our spy photographers, the car that looks like any other M5 on the outside, caught their attention when they noticed it drifting on an ice lake, with the front wheels spinning at an unusual speed. All kinds of sensors started chiming in their heads and they knew this was no ordinary M5.

A little while later, they managed to catch up to it in a parking lot and quickly took a dive under the car to snap some photos of the front wheels. And, what do you know? As you can see in the photos below, a driveshaft is noticeable on the front axle. Yes, this is an AWD M5!

It might seem peculiar that the Germans are already testing the system and some of the more excited aficionados might presume that this means BMW will introduce the system on the current generation model but don’t get your hopes up.

The previous chief of M, Dr. Albert Biermann stated in more than one occasion that the F10 chassis won’t get AWD but left a door open for the future ones. The new boss, van Meel, also said that the G30 M5 will the first one to get AWD so things are pretty clear.

Testing already?

The reason why the new layout is being tested already is that this is an important move for BMW that never offered the uber-sedan with such a transmission. Sure, there are other all-wheel drive M cars on the market already but they are SUVs and already a rather ‘special kind of bird’ amongst the M line-up.

Furthermore, in order to cater to all needs, the all-wheel drive system implemented in the M5 will have to send most of its power to the rear wheels still therefore, a special setup is needed. Hopefully, it will be different than the system used on Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG 4Matic models that send 67 percent of the power to the back. An M5 should be able to send even more to the rear wheels.

Either way, this will surely help the car cope with the increased levels of power and torque and it will also be good news for people living in cold, snowy areas of the world.

New engine/gearbox matchup

At the same time, the car we see here might also be using a new engine/tranny combination. The problem is, the 7-speed DCT was never used with an all-wheel drive system. On the X5 M the gearbox is an ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic so there’s no dual-clutch involved. Could the new M5 be migrating to a similar solution as well or are we looking at a new 7-speed slush box? It’s too early to say.

The engine might also be one that will be introduced on the upcoming G30 series. While the size should remain roughly the same, the power output could reach up to 600 HP and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft) of torque, numbers close to what we already have coming out of the S63 plant already.

Since the G30 platform will go into production in 2016, we’re still a long way from seeing even the first sketches of the M5. However, things are looking up, especially if AWD will be offered as an optional feature.
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