0-62mph takes just 3.4 seconds.

BMW has revealed the all-new M5 at last – and confirmed the new model is set to boast monstrous acceleration that will put it level-pegging with a Porsche 911 GT3 in the 0-62mph dash. To launch in February 2018, the new sixth-generation M5 will make its public debut at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

Driving the new BMW M5 prototype:

Using a much-modified version of today’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8, the new model cuts around half a second from the 0-62mph time, taking it down to a scant 3.4 seconds. That’s despite it offering the same 591bhp power output as the runout M5 Competition Edition, too. What makes it so much quicker, then? All-wheel drive, that’s what – fitted to an M5 for the first time in its history.

2018 BMW M5
2018 BMW M5
2018 BMW M5

BMW calls the system M xDrive, and assures us that the front wheels will be driven only when grip of the rear wheels runs out: to all intents, it remains a rear-drive machine. What’s more, a new M Dynamic mode allows the driver to select a pure 2WD mode, so it can still drift, although BMW is keen to stress it’s “designed for track use by experienced drivers”.  Why, of course.

Torque of the upgraded V8 has been upped, to 553lb ft, and BMW’s hopeful of it returning 26.9mpg combined, with 241g/km CO2. Better than a 911 GT3, in other words. A flap-controlled exhaust is fruiter, and can be turned down by pressing an M Sound Control button: BMW hasn’t confirmed if the new model sticks with the previous variant’s controversial noise generator system…

Instead of a dual-clutch transmission, the new M5 has a version of the familiar eight-speed auto, breathed upon by M and renamed M Steptronic with Drivelogic. It has paddleshifters, sequential-shift mode and you can even pump in multiple downshifts as you brake into corners: the gearbox will perfectly time them to engage at exactly the right moment.

2018 BMW M5: menacing monster

Visually, the new M5 is menacing, rather than overtly outlandish. Its all-new front bumper features massive air inlets for cooling the engine and brakes, with the central air intake fully integrating the oil cooler for maximum efficiency. The bonnet and front wings are now aluminium, the track width is up on the old car and, at the rear, there’s a full diffuser and subtle, purposeful lip spoiler.

The roof is carbon fibre reinforced plastic for the first time on a BMW M5, available in beautiful exposed carbon weave for maximum effect. And the 20-inch wheels hide either blue brake calipers on normal models, or matt-gold calipers on models equipped with carbon ceramic anchors.

2018 BMW M5

Inside, the four-seat M5 further hones the fantastic interior of the new 5 Series with M-specific details, most notably the lacquered red starter button and ‘M’ buttons on the steering wheel. The gearshifter is new, the instrument panel is M-branded and the whole package is rounded off by an amazing (standard) set of M multifunctional front seats, clad in fine Merino leather and equipped with illuminated M5 logos.

2018 BMW M5
2018 BMW M5

UK prices for the new M5 start from £89,640 – a cool £22,000 less than the 911 GT3 it will level-peg away from the traffic lights – and its launch is scheduled for February 2018. Can’t wait that long? Come back next month to see the new model in the metal for the first time in our coverage of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show.

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2018 BMW M5