The screaming high-powered sedan was being pushed hard on the Nordschleife by BMW's test driver.

As we are getting closer and closer to the reveal of the next-gen 5 Series, BMW is also intensifying its testing efforts for the crown jewel of the range, the mighty M5. The new powered-up sedan from Bavaria has been caught on camera stretching out on the famed Nürburgring, unlike the last time when we saw it hot-weather testing in the Mojave Desert.

More recent spy shots and teasers of the regular 5 Series have shown the design won’t stray away too far from the outgoing model, and that will be the same case with the M-flavored edition. What we have here in the attached video is an early prototype because it does not have the production headlights and taillights as seen on the previous prototype we’ve mentioned (pictured below). The new M5 will go through an extensive diet thanks to the CLAR platform which in the case of the standard 5 Series has shaved as much as 220 pounds (100 kilograms).

2018 BMW M5 spy photos in Mojave Desert
2018 BMW M5 spy photos in Mojave Desert
2018 BMW M5 spy photos in Mojave Desert

The evolutionary design will be matched underneath the hood by an upgraded iteration of the familiar biturbo 4.4-liter V8. BMW’s engineers will allegedly massage the engine to deliver as much as 617 horsepower (460 kilowatts) or even 626 hp (467 kW) which as usual will be sent to the rear wheels. That being said, for the first time ever in the M5’s glorious history, the high-performance sedan might get an optional xDrive layout. It will be a rear-biased setup providing extra traction on those slippery surfaces.

Another big change inbound for the M5 is represented by the demise of the manual gearbox. While this is definitely sad news for purists, BMW says the current manual M5 has been a slow seller, so there’s no point in keeping it alive for the next generation. On a side note, Mercedes is doing the same thing with the next E63 as it will offer it exclusively with a 4MATIC setup.

BMW is now busy with the reveal of the regular 5 Series Sedan (G30) set to occur next month and it’s going to be followed by the Touring (G31) early next year. The Gran Turismo (G32) is scheduled to come out late 2017 and around that time the M5 (F90) should be released as well. One can only dream about the return of the M5 Touring…

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