New AWD BMW M5 has several drift modes

Time to get friendly with your local tyre-fitter: it’s a new BMW M5. But such a clichéd intro line might not be relevant here, because BMW has succumbed and made the most famous sports saloon of them all four-wheel drive. Purists finally coming around to turbo 911 Carreras have just been dealt another blow.

They can take solace in the fact it’s not any old AWD system. Like the one used in the latest Mercedes-AMG E63, it’s one that has fun in mind. Dubbed ‘M xDrive’ (not to be confused with MX-5), it switches to rear-drive only when you turn the stability control off. BMW’s engineers know fine well why you’re pressing that button, it seems…

The BMW M5 engine is a new tune of 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, with a nice 441kW and 750Nm. That pitches it somewhere between Merc’s two tunes of E63, and it’s enough for a 3.4sec 0-100km/h time (the same as the quicker E63 S) and a 250km/h top speed. Limited, of course. This would surely crack 320km/h without the electronic nannies. Or get damn close to it.

While the BMW M5 AWD system is in full force when the car starts up, the front axle only receives power when the rear tyres reach their limits. The rear axle also has a differential to best shuffle power around when you’re having fun. Good for making you look like a hero…

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