First Look: 2012 BMW Concept M5

Differentiating the M5 from lesser 5 Series variants is subtle, yet aggressive bodywork that hints at increased performance. Larger front air intakes cool the more powerful engine while implying the M5 packs a little more punch than a lowly 550i. The profile is accented by the black 20-inch wheels and signature M side gills on the front fenders. At the rear, the trunk gains a subtle lip spoiler and signature M quad-tailpipes protrude from an aggressive rear diffuser; both the spoiler and the diffuser aid in downforce at high speeds. The exterior modifications are slight, keeping with the BMW M tradition. The 2012 M5 is both a performance car and a luxury sedan, and its design conveys both purposes.

Pricing has yet to be released, but when it debuted, the last-generation M5's price started at $82,590 with the $695 destination charge, almost $24,000 over the base price of a 550i. Currently the most expensive 5 Series is the 550i xDrive, which starts at $63,375, including an $875 destination fee. We expect the pricing tiers to stay similar to that of the last 5 Series lineup, so the 2012 BMW M5 could come dangerously close to the $90,000 mark without a single option.

Some enthusiasts will bemoan BMW's decision to abandon its tradition of high-revving naturally aspirated engines and reliance on more complicated electronics, but the 2012 M5 promises to be a technological marvel. Can technology make this M5 as much fun to drive as its predecessors? We'll let you know as soon as we have a shot at the wheel.

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BMW's experiment with higher cylinder counts is over: the next-generation M3 clearly will go to a turbocharged inline six from its current V-8, and the M5 drops back from its overkill V-10 to a twin-turbo V-8. What remains to be seen in the case of the M5 is whether it will be more driver-friendly than the current car, which is saddled with too many driver controls to maximize the performance. In any case, this concept sure has a great set of wheels!Joe DeMatio, Automobile Magazine

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