SUVs rule the world but sedans aren't dead yet. German automakers still offer a plethora of four doors for buyers to choose from, and the BMW M5 is arguably the king of them all. The next-generation M5 is deep into development and testing; we've already captured prototypes on camera and now we see a test car in the M equivalent of Disneyland – the Nürburgring.
Our spy photographer camped out near the Pflanzgarten parking area for these shots. Heavy camouflage is still the order of the day, but bright sunshine gives us an opportunity to scour the exterior for clues as to what's underneath the wrap. For starters, this is definitely an M5, as there's no missing the big brakes, wide tires, and the quad exhaust outlets at the rear. Zooming into the front fascia reveals some interesting bumps and scoops at the corners that could be production-spec, but the headlights likely aren't. It's the same story at the back, though there's a rougher prototype vibe in how the rear fascia looks.
Gallery: 2024 BMW M5 Hybrid Spy Photos
And this car looks fast! Notice how the wheel gap at the front fender grows while passing the camera. That suggests there's some serious acceleration taking place, especially when compared to other photos in this set showing the same car on a public road. We know the next M5 is getting a hybrid powertrain, and not just because this prototype is clearly labeled as a hybrid vehicle. The rumor mill is flush with talk about a bonkers M5 plug-in hybrid that pairs a V8 with two electric motors. Output could reach 750 horsepower, which would make the M5 an absolute monster.
Hybrid components also add weight, and we could be seeing a power-weight tug-of-war playing out in these images. Dialing in the M5's suspension to handle the thurst and mass of a super-sedan hybrid certainly requires extensive testing. The almost comical wheel gap and ground clearance in some of these shots suggest that is still very much a work in progress.
The new BMW M5 is still early in the development process, at least from an outsider's perspective. Our first prototype sighting came in January 2022, and before the M5 arrives, BMW will debut the new 5 Series. That could happen later this year as a 2023 model, but we don't expect a next-gen M5 debut until late 2023 or possibly even 2024.