2024 BMW M5 revealed: Performance car gets plug-in hybrid power

Latest BMW M5 performance car matches energy with efficiency, with 717bhp and an electric-only range of 43 miles...

BMW M5 saloon green driving front

On sale November 2024 | Price from £110,000

The duality of man refers to every person’s ability to carry multiple facets as part of their personality. In the case of the new BMW M5, for example, on the one hand it’s a sensible plug-in hybrid with an electric-only range of 43 miles and tax-pleasing CO2 emissions of as low as 37g/km. On the other, it’s a maniac with a fire-breathing 4.4-litre V8 petrol engine which helps it to crack the 0-62mph sprint in just 3.5sec. Dr. Jekyll? Meet Mr. Hyde. 

There’s no questioning which character won the struggle for styling supremacy, with the M5’s aggressive front and rear bumpers and extended side skirts making it look every bit as mean as Mr. Hyde after a big night out.

The M5’s 577bhp V8 engine sends its power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Combined with the output from the M5’s electric motor, the system produces 717bhp and 738lb/ft of torque. As well as the blistering sprint time mentioned earlier – which is faster than all but the most hardcore versions of the previous M5 could manage – the car can keep going to a top speed of 155mph. If you feel like indulging your wild side on a private track, then that speed can be increased to 189mph by choosing the optional M Driver’s Package.

BMW M5 saloon green driving rear

Officially, the M5 will return up to 176.6mpg, but you’ll need to keep its 18.6kWh battery charged and make full use of its power in order to get anywhere near that. With the battery discharged, the economy drops to a more M5-like 27.7mpg. The first M5s to arrive in the UK will be able to charge at peak rates of 7.4kW, but later models will have that figure upped to 11kW.

While purists may grimace at the idea of this latest M5 being a plug-in hybrid, it’s also the route taken by one of the car’s biggest rivals – the Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid. In that car, a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine is joined by an electric motor, resulting in 671bhp and a 0-62mph time of 3.2sec. The latest Mercedes-AMG E53 has also adopted hybrid power, while the Audi RS6 Avant relies solely on a V8 petrol engine.

The sound of the M5’s engine is controlled by electric flaps in the exhaust, but don’t think you’ll be wafting around silently on electric power – instead, BMW says there’s a special soundtrack which accompanies the car when it’s being driven on the battery.

BMW M5 saloon interior

Standard features include adaptive suspension, which lets you stiffen or soften the M5’s ride depending on the surface you’re on, and rear-wheel steering to help make the car feel more agile at high speeds. 

When you’ve transformed back into Dr. Jekyll, the M5 aims to be just as relaxing to drive as the regular BMW 5 Series, and its interior will be familiar to anyone who’s spent time in that car. That means plush materials, clear digital instruments and BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, which we’ve found to be easy to get along with thanks to its rotary controller. 

Among the M5’s list of safety kit is lane-keeping assistance, a driver attention monitor, and adaptive cruise control. The list of standard equipment includes four-zone climate control, heated front seats and a panoramic glass sunroof.

BMW M5 saloon green interior

We’d expect the M5 to be every bit as practical as the BMW 5 Series upon which it is based, meaning a couple of six-footers will be comfortable in its rear seats, while the boot should have enough space for your holiday suitcases. If you are in need of more space, then an estate version of the M5 – the M5 Touring – will join the line-up at the end of this year.

With a starting price of £110,000, the latest M5 is costlier to buy than its Mercedes-AMG rival, but a little cheaper than the Audi RS6 Avant and a comparative bargain next to the Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid. Still, as Jekyll and Hyde author Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: “The secret to happiness is a small ego. And a big wallet.”

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