Track Tested: Why The 2025 BMW M5 Hybrid Might Change Your Mind About Sports Sedans

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Track Tested Why The 2025 Bmw M5 Hybrid Might Change Your Mind About Sports Sedans

When BMW’s engineers were bringing together the new M5, the high-performance version of the company’s Autobahn-conquering, high-speed tourer, they wanted to add something new, something fun to the mix. They’ve already mastered the art and brutality of launch control, and they’ve dabbled with tricks and gimmicks like Drift Mode in the past. But the 2025 BMW M5 had to have something special.

That thing is Boost Control. Officially, anyway. “The internal name for it was ‘Kick-Ass,'” Daniela Schmidt, the M5’s product manager, told me at the M5’s track debut in May. “It felt a bit like someone was kicking your ass.”Enable this mode while you’re underway, and the M5 will fully engage the regeneration of the hybrid motor. (Yes, the new M5 is not just a hybrid but a plug-in hybrid; more on that in a moment.) Then, after charging for a moment, the car delivers full power to all four wheels, a whopping 717 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque. The effect only lasts for a few moments, but it’s enough to open the eyes of your most cynical passengers.

The M5 concept

A side-view of the 2025 BMW M5 in green
Since its inception in the early ’80s, the BMW M5 has always been all about big speed and big comfort. That doesn’t change for the upcoming 2025 model, but the speed and comfort sides of things take big steps forward, as does the technology.

It starts under the hood, with a variation of the current M5’s powertrain. The new car still has a 4.4-liter V8 like before, but that’s been augmented by a hybrid system, including an electric motor that can drive all four wheels through the eight-speed automatic transmission. That’s powered by an 18.6-kilowatt-hour battery pack.

2025 M5 engine bay
The net result is those astonishing 717 hp and 737 lb-ft figures, up 117 hp and 184 lb-ft over before, but there are some other important figures, too. One is electric range: The new M5 can go up to 43 miles on a charge per the European WLTP cycle, which should equate to about 30 miles on the U.S. EPA cycle. And it can go up to 87 mph electric-only.

The handling

The 2025 BMW M5's new gauge cluster
However, that extra capability from the hybrid system does result in one very significant penalty: weight. BMW hasn’t quoted an official weight for the new M5 yet, but it has gained hundreds of pounds over the outgoing model. That’s big, but then this is a big car, available as a sedan or, for the first time in the U.S., a shapely wagon. But we can’t talk about that just yet.

We can say that the new sedan will sprint from zero to 62 mph in just 3.5 seconds. It also features a revised active suspension setup, which includes standard rear-steering for the first time.

2025 M5 rear 3/4 view
The M5 can turn the rear wheels up to 1.5 degrees independent of the front wheels. The wheels turn in the same direction at high speeds to provide greater stability. They turn in the opposite direction at lower speeds, helping the thing feel more nimble than it otherwise would.

That’s also helped by a torque-vectoring differential at the rear axle, which can give more twist to the left or right side of the car as needed. Add an advanced stability and traction control system, and you have a recipe for a surprisingly good time on the track.

On-track

While hardly anybody will bring their new M5 to a race track, I’m happy to tell you that it’ll do quite nicely should anyone decide to have a go. On the Salzburgring, a fast but tricky circuit just over the German border in Austria, the M5 proved more than capable.

That suspension setup, plus the generous sidewalls on the staggered tires–20 inches up front and 21 at the rear–made for a surprisingly pliant ride, even when I launched the heavy sedan over the curbs on the track. It also powered strong and true out of the tight corners, driving me down the Salzburgring’s twisted but fast middle portion.

2025 M5 settings
In addition to the usual drive mode configuration for drivetrain, chassis, steering, the M xDrive system, there’s configurable Energy Recovery with Min, Mid, and Max options, plus M1 and M2 shortcut buttons on the steering wheel (as in the X6 M Competition) to quickly load your preferred settings. The M5 tops out at a limited 155 mph, but with the optional M Driver’s Package, that limit is raised to 189 mph.

As for the rear-axle steering, that meant it was both stable at those high speeds and nimble at lower speeds, with the only slight fly in the ointment being some understeer on the track’s mid-speed corners. But that just made for a reassuring drive, and it’s not something anybody in their right mind will ever experience on the road. You have to be pushing really, really hard to get to that point.

Lights, tech, action

The 2025 BMW M5's interior
Sitting in the M5, your eyes are immediately drawn to a new, multi-color ambient lighting called the Action Bar. It’s the central portion of an illuminated ring running around much of the interior. In the M5, by default, that bar glows brightly with the three colors that represent the company’s high-performance M division: blue, purple, and red. Garish? A bit, but those colors mean a lot to this brand, and I don’t think many owners will complain.

2025 M5 front cabin
But you can, of course, make those colors anything you like. The overall ambient lighting will cycle as you change through the car’s various drive modes, turning a crimson red when you’re in the raciest Track mode. Here, the M5 gauge cluster and heads-up display also change, the latter showing not only the requisite sweeping tachometer but also a separate blue bar indicating how hard the hybrid system is working, either adding power or recuperating under braking.

Expect an M5 price increase

2025 M5 badge
Infotainment duties are handled by a sweeping, curved gauge cluster of the sorts seen on many BMW cars today, personalized for the M5 to give it a racier feel throughout. That’s paired with most of the same creature comforts as BMW’s standard 5 Series sedan, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

As a performance machine, BMW didn’t think a hands-off driving mode was appropriate. But I think that’s unfortunate. The M5 is meant to be a highway weapon as much as anything, and to exclude one of BMW’s most compelling highway features–a star talent of the all-electric i5 sedan–is a bit of a shame.

The 2025 BMW M5 arrives at dealers later this year. Pricing is not available yet, but with all the new tech and toys, expect a serious increase over the current car’s roughly $110,000 starting price.

Read More: slashgear

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