Today's press release from BMW was bittersweet -- yes, it's sad to learn that production of the current M5 has officially ended, but then again, it means we're inching closer to seeing the automaker unwrap an all-new M5 sedan.
The current car, dubbed the E60 by BMW engineers and Bimmerphiles alike, first debuted in late 2005 as a 2006 model, and was a significant break from tradition. Instead of using a high-output V-8, BMW instead squeezed a high-revving 5.0-liter V-10 engine, which produced 500 horsepower and 380 pound-feet of torque. BMW's still proud of this engine, noting it produced 100 horsepower per liter, and sported an individual throttle body for each cylinder. Initially, a seven-speed sequential manual gearbox was the only transmission choice, but thanks to some disgruntled American clientele, U.S.-bound cars were later available with a six-speed manual as well.
It's easy to see why BMW bowed to this demand, since the U.S. proved to be the largest market for the M5 sedan. BMW cranked out nearly 19,523 M5 sedans at its factory at Dingolfing, Germany, and nearly 43 percent of those vehicles were shipped to the U.S. Dingolfing also managed to build 1025 M5 estate wagons, which remained a European market exclusive.
What's next for the M5 line? As was the case with the E60, expect the next M5 to mark another break from tradition by utilizing a forced-induction engine. BMW has already confirmed the new car will scrap the V-10 in favor of a twin-turbocharged V-8, which could be a re-tuned version of the 555-horsepower, 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 found in the X5 M and X6 M.
BMW hasn't revealed when it will debut the new M5, but we've heard we can expect a launch in the second quarter of 2011. Can't wait that long? The M Sport package adds some sporty looks to the new 2011 5-Series sedan, but if you really want to wage some Bavarian boulevard blitzkrieg, you may want to speak with Alpina about acquiring a new B5.