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Spied: 2018 BMW M5

BMW\'s next super saloon is starting to take shape.

BMW's next-generation M5 has been spotted for the first time while undergoing shakedown testing in Germany. The new M5 is expected to make its production debut within the next few years.

The standard version of the new 5-Series won't be out until sometime next year, but BMW engineers have already begun work on the hot rodded M5 sedan. While we can't yet comment of the styling of the next-gen M5, we do have some details on the car's technical specs.

The new M5 will likely retain the current car's 4.4L twin-turbocharged V8, but power should grow at least slightly from today's 560 horsepower mill. There are, however, some big changes planned for the M5's drivetrain.

In order to keep pace with Mercedes-Benz and Audi, the next M5 could adopt a performance version of BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system, which would be a first for the nameplate. Rear wheel drive could be standard, but AWD will at least be on the menu.

In order to compensate for the added heft of an all-wheel drive system, the M5 will go on a crash diet similar to the one recently seen in the 7-Series. That means you can expect plenty of aluminum and carbon fiber in its construction.

The M5 will also borrow some of its tech from the 7-Series, including gesture controls and autonomous driving.

With the regular 5-Series not due out until next year, BMW might hold the M5 back for a 2017 or even 2018 market launch.

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