Oops! It's happened to BMW yet again. In a matter of just a couple of weeks, it's the second time that leaked images have forced Munich to part with official photos and information earlier than it intended to. But just as in the 1 Series's case, we're not complaining at all.
The F10 M5 has arguably been the most hotly anticipated sports saloon for a long time, even before the previous version officially went out of production. Fuelling the fire of impatience was the concept that BMW revealed at the Shanghai auto show earlier this year. One thing that we absolutely love about this car is that it looks exactly like the burly Shanghai concept.
The muscular saloon is distinguished from its executive sibling by styling and performance characteristics including a front apron with oversized air intakes for both the engine and brakes, flared wheel arches that enhance the athletic looks and the wider stance, signature M ‘gills' with integrated indicator bars; a rear apron with diffuser flanked by a pair of twin exhaust tailpipes, a gurney-style rear boot lid spoiler and 19in double-spoke M light-alloy wheels.
Obviously, it's not looks alone that sets this saloon apart. Although we are a bit disappointed that BMW has ditched the screaming V10 for a blown V8 in this new M5, Munich assures us that the new lump is going to be better than its predecessor in every way.
The numbers are reassuring. The 4.4-litre V8 engine with a twin-scroll turbocharger is good for 560bhp and 680Nm of twist from just 1,500rpm. The 0-100kph dash is despatched in a mere 4.4 seconds, and it takes just 13 seconds to hit 200kph from standstill, while the top speed is limited to 250kph.
This can be upped to supercar-baiting 305kph with the optional M Driver's Package. Despite a 10 per cent spike in power over the V10 lump and 30 per cent more torque, BMW has managed to cut fuel consumption by more than 30 per cent, thanks to the usual green tricks like auto stop-start and brake energy recuperation.
Harnessing all the 560 horses and sending them to the rear wheels is the seven-speed dual clutch transmission that offers traction-optimised gear selection and comes with additional features like launch control, low-speed assistance and M-specific gear selector. And in order to get the most out of these stallions, both the body and chassis have been optimised accordingly.
The M-tuned suspension is complemented by the M servotronic steering and other features including dynamic damper control, stability control system and a high-performance, lightweight compound braking system. Sorting out the handling department is the electronically controlled multi-plate limited-slip diff with torque vectoring at the back which optimises grip and stability.
As sporty as it is, the M5 is by no means a stripped-out racer. It's loaded to the brim with all the usual trinkets that you've come to expect in a high-end luxury car, including a head-up display, soft-close doors, night vision with pedestrian recognition, lane change and lane departure warning.