BMW Reveals M5 Ahead of Frankfurt Auto Show

Dressed in baby-blue clear coat and spinning a new twin-turbo engine generating more than 550 horsepower, the 2012 BMW M5 sedan was revealed online Wednesday.

Not unexpectedly, the car, which goes on sale in the United States early next year, closely echoes the prototype shown at the Shanghai auto show in April.

Performance tweaks include BMW’s Active M differential and an M-specific chassis with retuned steering and adjustable damping. The car is served by a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission; no manual option is offered.

The 4.4-liter V-8 churns 560 horsepower and 502 pound feet of torque, 62 m.p.h. arrives from a stop in 4.4 seconds and top speed, with the optional M Driver’s Package, is listed at 190 m.p.h. The design modifications for the M are subtle, except for the trio of gaping air intakes beneath the front bumper and the deep-dish 19-inch alloys. Ride height is slightly lower than the more conventional 5 Series cars, as well.

BMW says the retuned motor is 25 percent more efficient that the previous model’s V-10 in terms of fuel consumption and emissions. The new M5 will go up against the anticipated new generation of the Audi RS6, as well as the Cadillac CTS-V and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG in the hotly contested super sports sedan category.

Pricing for American customers will be revealed closer to the car’s formal introduction in September at the Frankfurt auto show.