The principal reason you might fear for this new M5 is weight, but M division has been very canny.
The mixed-metal underbody construction of the current 5 Series, together with the adoption of some lightweight body panels (aluminium bonnet and front wings, roof in CFRP), has allowed the firm to bring the F90 M5 in at a kerb weight that’s 15kg lighter than that of its immediate predecessor.
By doing that, BMW neatly escapes accusations that it is wilfully adding dulling heft to this car, although it won’t reveal how much lighter the M5 might have been if it had retained its traditional drive layout. Still, a four-wheel-drive saloon car coming in lighter than the two-wheel-drive one it’s replacing is sufficiently clever engineering to get a big thumbs-up from us.
The car’s M xDrive four-wheel drive system is rear-driven as a default, sending torque to the front axle as needed via a chain drive and electronically actuated clutch. Between the rear wheels, meanwhile, is BMW’s Active M differential, which can vary from 100% open to 100% locked in a split second. And conducting the interactions and combinations of those systems, together with those of the adaptive damping and dynamic stability control systems, is a new electronic ‘chassis brain’ that has the power to overrule the ECUs of each individual system to ensure the M5 is behaving as its driver intends.