The current generation of the BMW M5 could be the last to run on a gas engine only. Car Magazine reports that the next-generation M5, scheduled for 2024, will come only in a plug-in hybrid or full-on electric configuration.
The media outlet cites no sources save for what it identifies as a "member of the M Division Research and Development team", but it does provide details about the two mechanical options being considered. The plug-in hybrid variant would be powered by a V8 working in tandem with electric motors. The combined power of the system is approximately 750 hp, 133 more than the current M5 Competition with its 617 hp. This powertrain is to be shared with the next X8 M SUV.
The all-electric version would be get a 135-kWh battery pack (35% stronger than the largest block currently found in a vehicle in North America) with a 400-volt architecture capable of 350 kW for recharging. Eventually, the company plans to switch to an 800-volt architecture, like the system in the current Porsche Taycan, for faster and more-efficient recharging.
All of this would deliver a range of 700 km over the more-generous European cycle; the American EPA (Environment Protection Agency) figure would likely be lower. With two 250 kW engines - one on each axle - power could reach 1,000 hp, which would allow a time of about 3 seconds at 0-100 km/h, again according to Car Magazine.
It all still remains to be confirmed; we're firmly still in the realm of speculation here. If the information turns out to be true, it will be the first time that BMW offers two mechanical configurations for its M5. At the same time, it wouldn't be surprising to see the model go electrified. Weirdest of all, of course, is to imagine a future that includes no M5 powered solely by a gasoline engine.
Times are changing, as they say. Nevertheless, the year 2024 is still a long way off. There will certainly be more twists and turns to come on this front.