Photos and information about BMW’s new high-performance version of its 5-series have just been leaked, in preparation for the concept’s debut at the Shanghai Auto Show in late April. “In keeping with BMW tradition, the M5 ‘Concept’ is seriously close to the production model that's set to hit Europe this Fall and come Stateside next spring,” writes Autoblog. The outgoing version of the track-tuned midsize sedan left the market in 2010, giving BMW a full year to improve the already-impressive performance luxury car. The new M5 will likely features an increase in both horsepower and torque due to an engine change; BMW is replacing the old M5’s 5.0-liter V10 with a 4.4-liter, twin-turbo V8, according to Car and Driver. BMW’s press release regarding the M5, published by Autoblog, states that the new rear-wheel drive M5 will use the same rear differential as the X6 SUV, which the auto press predicts will improve its handling both on the track and in snowy or icy conditions. But what really gets the automotive press excited is a brand new seven-speed manual gearbox, which should improve the outgoing automated manual gearbox considerably, according to the same article.
Although BMW didn’t release many details about the 2012 M5’s interior (the prototype’s windows were blacked out and doors were locked during the press preview event), shoppers can expect it to be in line with other M-variant models, as well as the top-of-the-line 550i Gran Turismo. Most of the sedan’s estimated $100,000 price tag will go to its performance-optimized powertrain, but features like leather seats, heated side-view mirrors, windshield washer jets and door locks, and push-button start will likely all be standard, as these features all come included on the base trim of the smaller M3 sedan. The 550i Gran Turismo includes features like standard navigation, ten-way adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seat with driver’s seat memory, and Bluetooth connectivity. The 2010 BMW M5 had an MSRP of $85,700, so if you’re thinking about adding the 2012 to your garage, keep an eye out for more news about additional standard features that could be the reason for the price increase.
Shopping for a new car? Check out the U.S. News rankings of this year's best cars. Then, look for a great deal on a new car by checking out this month’s best car deals. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter.