Having facelifted the 3 Series and introduced the next-generation 7 Series, BMW is now hard at work putting the finishing touches on its other core sedan – the 5 Series. Set to debut early next year, the eighth generation could be the first since the E28 of the 1980s to come without a V8, at least in the non-M guise. Our friends at BMWBLOG claim the M550i xDrive will be discontinued, therefore taking away with it the twin-turbo 4.4-liter engine.
Such a move would follow the cancelation of the M550d with its bonkers quad-turbodiesel engine a couple of years ago. By now, you're probably wondering whether there will be an M Performance version of the next 5 Series (G60) at all. Well, BMWBLOG has it on good authority the M550i will be indirectly replaced by a first-ever M560e, which is set to use the same inline-six plug-in hybrid hardware as the recently unveiled M760e.
2021 BMW M550i xDrive: Review
Going on sale next spring, the M760e has a 3.0-liter engine and an electric motor pushing out a combined 571 horsepower (420 kilowatts) and 590 pound-feet (800 Newton-meters) of torque. It's enough PHEV punch for a 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 4.3 seconds, although a potential M560e could be a tad quicker since logic tells us it'll be slightly lighter.
Speaking of hybrids, the next M5 has already been confirmed to gain a charging port. It will retain the V8 engine, but BMW plans to use its new S68 unit borrowed from the new 760i, X7 M60i, and the forthcoming XM. The latter is set to spawn a range-topping version in 2023 with as much as 750 horsepower to match last year's wild Concept XM, which we'll remind you had a monstrous 737 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) on tap.
As to why BMW is dropping the V8 from the regular 5 Series, the report doesn't specify. However, it likely has to do with increasingly stringent emissions regulations, especially in the European Union. With Euro 7 set to arrive in the coming years, the downsizing trend is set to continue. The silver lining is that not only will the V8 survive in the M5, but rumor has it the M5 Touring is coming back after being dropped from the lineup in 2010 when the V10-powered E61 was discontinued.