The new BMW M5 is here, and it’s extremely heavy. Coming in at a manufacturer-quoted 5,390 pounds, the car is 1,020 pounds heavier than the car it replaces. According to BMW M boss Frank van Meel, most of that added weight comes exclusively from the hybrid system.

Speaking with Top Gear, van Meel argued for having a full-on plug-in hybrid system rather than normal hybrid assistance, despite the weight penalties.

“For us, it makes sense to ‘go the whole way’ and get the full advantage [of electrification] rather than accept setbacks,” van Meel told Top Gear. “Yes the [PHEV] system adds 400kg [881 pounds] of weight, but a normal hybrid system already adds 150-200kg [330-400 pounds].”

The G90-generation M5 has been chastised across social media for its weight. At 5,390 pounds, it weighs more than cars like the Chevy Tahoe, the Ford F-150, and the Lucid Air Sapphire.

2025 BMW M5

“We wrote down the consequences of the weight and worked out where we need to be to have a different window of performance,” van Meel added. “In motor racing, ballast is added to the floor of the car [to even up] balance of performance. That’s where we added our ‘ballast’ – the battery is in the floor with a lower center of gravity [than the previous M5].”

Without the hybrid tech, the new M5 would weigh around 4,500 pounds. Still a porker, yes, but far more in line with its competition. With a non-plug-in hybrid setup, the car would’ve weighed around 4,900 pounds.

“We could not make a convincing proposal [for a non-plug-in system],” van Meel told Top Gear. “Yes, it is possible to have a [temporary] boost function. But a plug-in hybrid gives continuous electric power output and energy. This gives you more than a boost function. And it’s a bigger step [in performance] because we have [43 miles] of electric range and 200 more horsepower. That’s more convincing.”

2025 BMW M5

When asked about the AMG C63’s switch to four cylinders, van Meel told Top Gear his team briefly considered an inline-six to cut weight before ultimately deciding on the V-8.

“You would be crazy to have a four-cylinder,” van Meel said. “Then [the choice is] a six-cylinder: which gives a very long front end. And we need a big gearbox to cope with [737 lb-ft]. So the V-8 is the best solution, because it is an emotional engine, but also compact.”

BMW also considered taking the M5 fully electric, according to van Meel. That idea was squashed though, according to Top Gear, as current tech can’t match the sustained performance and long range that buyers expect of an M5. 

Ironically, we bet an all-electric M5 would’ve been lighter. 

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Last Update: June 27, 2024

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