For the first time ever, BMW’s M5 will get all-wheel drive

BMW M5 camouflaged
It’s finally happening. The BMW M5 has always had an enthusiast-friendly rear-wheel drive setup, but the vast power of the current version, and BMW’s need to one-up itself, have led many to believe that the Bavarian automaker would adopt all-wheel drive.

That will indeed be the case with the next-generation M5, BMW confirmed. The new model is shaping up to be a very different car from the classic M5 models, but will it be better?

The good news for enthusiasts is that the new M5’s xDrive all-wheel drive system will allow the car to behave like a rear-wheel drive vehicle most of the time, so there should be plenty of room for well-balanced handling and sideways silliness. The system sends power primarily to the rear wheels, only bringing the fronts in under certain conditions.

Even in the default all-wheel drive mode with stability control on, BMW says the system will allow some rear-wheel slip to mimic the handling characteristics of rear-wheel drive. The stability control can also be deactivated completely, and “4WD Sport” and “M Dynamic” modes offer livelier handling. Drivers can even decouple the front axle completely, similar to the Mercedes-AMG E63’s “Drift Mode.”

This complex all-wheel drive system will be managing the power from a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8, similar to the engine used in the outgoing-generation M5. BMW said the new version “outperforms its predecessor in terms of power output and torque,” but wouldn’t provide actual numbers.  The outgoing M5 makes 560 horsepower and 500 pound-feet of torque, but BMW pushed output to 600 hp and 516 lb-ft. for special-edition models.

The V8 will be harnessed to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Don’t expect a manual option, as sales of stick-shift BMW M cars have tanked. Instead of letting drivers shift their own gears, BMW will try to keep them engaged with an elaborate display and control setup encompassing a traditional gauge cluster, head-up display, and two “M Drive” buttons on the steering wheel that control vehicle settings.

Given that BMW is already teasing it, the next-generation M5 will likely appear sometime in the coming months. Given that the new M550i xDrive already outperforms the outgoing M5 in some respects, the next-gen model will need to make a great leap in performance. We’re eager to see what BMW comes up with.


Six advanced tech features that make off-road driving easy

It wasn’t too long ago that driving off-road required serious skills and a lot of equipment. Thanks to technology, any family crossover SUV can hit the trail today and have a good chance of coming back in one piece.

Mercedes-Benz safety-car concept monitors the road ahead and your kids

The Mercedes-Benz Experimental Safety Vehicle 2019 was designed for a world where humans and machines share driving duties. It can use lights to communicate with other road users and even monitor an infant's vital signs.
Product Review

The absolutely mad Asus Zenfone 6 is a flagship phone that you'll flip for

Asus is embracing the 2019 trend of not following any trends at all and instead going in its own direction. The Zenfone 6 has a motorized flip-around camera, a 5000mAh battery, and an almost Pixel-like version of Android installed.

The 2020 Hyundai Elantra keeps an eye on the road even if you’re not looking

Hyundai has again updated the Elantra, one of its most popular and most affordable models. For the 2020 model year, the Elantra receives standard driving aids like lane-keeping assist and forward collision warning.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Insect drones and kinetic sculpture robots

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Semi-autonomous and always available: A peek into the near future of car rental

Soon we will see connected rental fleets with a dedicated lane at airports for self-driving cars, where drivers control the car to the airport, and then the empty car drives itself to the rental lot.
Product Review

Want an electric car that doesn't look like an electric car? Meet Audi's E-Tron

The 2019 Audi E-Tron is the German automaker’s first series-production electric car. Rather than make a bold statement with its first electric vehicle, Audi chose to make the E-Tron as much like its other cars as possible.

Walmart slashes prices on electric hybrid bicycles for National Bike Month

Electric bikes can be economical, convenient, and fun. Heading into summer, Walmart slashed the prices for two pedal-assist Hyper E-ride Mountain and City Electric Hybrid Bikes by 40%. We found a variety of e-rides for under $1,000.

GM thinks up new electronic brain for its cars, allowing over-the-air updates

General Motors is launching a new electrical architecture to support more tech features in its cars. The system debuts on the 2020 Cadillac CT5, and will roll out to most other GM models by 2023.

Ford aluminum truck beds prove haters wrong, are cheaper to repair than steel

Repair costs were a major concern for truck buyers when Ford launched its aluminum F-150. But insurance data indicates that, if anything, the F-150 may be cheaper to repair than traditional steel trucks.

GM hits reverse with Maven carsharing as it closes service in eight cities

GM-owned Maven will close its carsharing service in 8 of the 17 North American cities where it currently operates. Competing with the likes of Zipcar and Car2Go, the app-based service offers car rental by the hour or day.

Crisp and connected, the Volkswagen Golf will get a digital reboot in 2020

Volkswagen is putting the final touches on the eighth-generation Golf. The hatchback will still be recognizable as a member of the Golf family, but it will receive a crisper design inside and out.

With Tesla bleeding money, Elon Musk initiates hardcore spending review

After posting a sizable $700 million loss in the first quarter of 2019, Tesla announced it will review every expense, no matter the size, to keep spending in check. Company CEO Elon Musk will personally approve every 10th expense page.

Bosch sensors used in Skywalker’s lightsaber will keep flying taxis in the air

Bosch wants to help companies make flying taxis a reality. Aviation technology is too big and too expensive to power a flying taxi, so the German firm is developing a universal control unit using smaller, cheaper sensors already used in…