BMW just debuted the new 2025 M5: A twin-turbocharged, V-8, all-wheel-drive hybrid sports sedan with 717 horsepower. It also weighs 5,390 pounds, which makes it heavier than some electric sedans, SUVs, and even a pickup truck.

That list includes:

  • 2022 Chevrolet Tahoe 2WD (5,356 lbs)
  • 2024 Ford F-150 Supercrew 4WD (4,941 lbs)
  • 2024 Lucid Air Sapphire (5,336 lbs)
  • 2023 Mercedes Maybach S-Class (5,346 lbs)
  • 2024 Range Rover Sport (5,090 lbs)

It’s an absolute monster in terms of curb weight, and compared to the previous generation, it’s slightly slower on paper. BMW claims its sprint to 60 miles per hour takes 3.5 seconds, compared to the old car’s 3.2-second sprint. Its power-to-weight ratio is also worse than the old car—it’s over 1,000 pounds heavier than the outgoing M5.

It’s eye-opening to track this sudden heft increase in the context of every other M5. Referring to the graph below, you can see the trend has been relatively gradual. The E39 M5, for instance, weighed just 110 pounds more than the E34. The last generation before the new M5, the F90, actually lost 17 pounds as compared to the old F10.

It makes the sudden addition of half a ton even more jarring.

bmw-m5-curb-weights-chart

The tables have turned in the face of the car’s American competition. Vehicles derided for being heavier and lazier than the M5 are now welterweights by comparison. The outgoing Dodge Charger Hellcat weighed 4,570 pounds, a full 820 pounds less. The latest CT5-V Blackwing—the M5’s direct American competitor—is lighter by a jaw-dropping 1,267 pounds. It’s not even like the M5 is a much bigger car, either. The CT5’s wheelbase is within two inches of the 5 Series.

Embarrassingly, even the new fully electric i5 comes out ahead. The i5 M60, a dual-motor BEV with over 80.0 kilowatt hours of battery capacity, is 143 pounds lighter.

We could dive into European emissions regulations, BMW’s platform-sharing electrification strategy, and other influences to discover exactly what contributed to this huge weight gain. However, the fact of the matter is that we know it doesn’t have to be this way from a technological standpoint.

Hybrids don’t have to be heavy; You don’t need an 18.6-kWh gross battery pack to get 190 horsepower. The Corvette E-Ray uses a 1.9-kWh gross pack to get 160 hp (and it’s barely heavier than the latest BMW M2). Hybrids also don’t have to be plug-ins. The added weight of an onboard charger doesn’t help with mass—and remind me again why 25+ miles of electric range is necessary in an M5? European emission regulations are more stringent than their American counterparts, sure, but the last car to take the hit in BMW’s lineup should be the company’s hallowed performance sedans.

A battery with high power density, not necessarily high energy density, is how you make a lightweight hybrid performance car work. Porsche continues to prove this with the new 911 GTS. BMW has not taken this route. The company’s strategy of integrating a motor into an existing combustion drivetrain definitely has advantages across its lineup, but saving weight isn’t one of them. The M5 has a conventional all-wheel-drive system with an automatic transmission, transfer case, front driveshaft, and more. They simply slapped an electric motor on top of that.

We don’t know all of BMW’s engineering and regulatory constraints. From the customer’s perspective, though, that stuff is almost invisible. The M5, no matter how competent—and it seems to be very competent—will never escape the fact that it weighs more than a full-sized F-150. Compared to today’s lighter electric performance cars with four-figure horsepower, it makes you wonder how much longer BMW’s M cars will even have a combustion engine.

Remember when brands like Audi, Cadillac, Jaguar, and Mercedes-Benz were all gunning to take down the 3 and 5 Series, especially the M3 and M5? None of them ever really did. Their respective competitors were almost always in the shadow of the Bavarian giant.

Turns out, all they had to do was sit back and wait.

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Last Update: June 26, 2024

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