BMW is expected to debut a next-generation M5 later this year, and these shots give us our first glimpse of the new model. Our very ownphotographer Robin Trajano spotted an M5 prototype cruising along the 405 freeway in Southern California wearing quite a bit of camouflage.
The automaker went to great lengths to hide the car, particularly the headlights, taillights, and lower grille. But it's clear the next M5 won't be a major design departure from its predecessor. A few giveaways that this is the high-performance variant of the 5 Series include the quad exhaust tips, large drilled brake rotors, and the wide-mouth lower air inlet in the front fascia (likely feeding twin intercoolers).
BMW is keeping tight-lipped on its next-gen M5, but it'll likely offer a familiar twin-turbo 4.4-liter V-8 engine. As we previously reported, expect the new M5 to ditch the six-speed manual offered on the previous generation. Last year, the automaker confirmed it would no longer offer a manual transmission on the next-gen M5 and M6. It's possible that the amount of money required to make a manual transmission specifically for the U.S. market discouraged the automaker from continuing the row-your-own option.
Soon, the M5 will once again take its rightful place at the top of the 5 Series lineup. Until then, the new M550i xDrive has been doing a good job of holding that spot. Packing 456 hp from its 4.4-liter eight-cylinder engine, it's the quickest 5 Series to date, BMW says, capable of hitting 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds. We can only imagine what the future M5 will offer.