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Lighter and meaner, the next BMW 5 Series will put the sport back in sport sedan

The current BMW 5 Series has been criticized by the press and the public for being too soft compared to its more driver-focused predecessors and many of its competitors. BMW has learned its lesson, and it has confirmed the next 5 will put the sport back in sports sedan.

Scheduled to arrive in time for the 2018 model year, the seventh-gen 5 will weigh up to 225 pounds less than the current model because it will ride on a new carbon-fiber intensive modular platform. Its final design hasn’t been locked in yet, but a speculative rendering published by Top Speed shows the 5 will borrow styling cues such as elongated headlights that stretch into a wide kidney grille from the smaller 3, the new X4 and the third-gen X5. The sedan’s dimensions and overall silhouette are not expected to drastically change.

The next 5 will inherit a number of high-tech features from the 2017 7 that will be introduced later this year. Notably, it will be available with a new infotainment system that will respond to hand gestures, and high-end models will come with BMW’s futuristic remote-controlled parking technology.

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Huge changes are expected on the powertrain front. For starters, BMW will fit the 5 with an evolution of the plug-in hybrid drivetrain that powers the recently-introduced X5 xDrive40e. The drivetrain will likely consist of a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine rated at 245 horsepower and a 113-horsepower synchronous electric motor built into the 5’s eight-speed automatic transmission. The 5 will be able to drive on electricity alone for about 20 miles, and it will return at least 70 mpg when the two power sources work together.

Hybrid aside, buyers will be asked to choose between four-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. Entry-level models in Europe could gain BMW’s ubiquitous 1.5-liter three-cylinder, but the engine will not be offered on our shores due to its small size.

At the top of the lineup, the iconic M5 will be powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 engine tuned to make over 600 horsepower, at least 25 more than the current-gen model equipped with the optional Competition Package. The next M5 will be available with all-wheel drive, a first in the nameplate’s three decade-long history.

The current 5 Series’ production run is far from over. BMW is still busily developing the 2018 5, and we might have to wait until the 2017 edition of the Frankfurt Motor Show to see it in the metal.