BMW M5 Diesel Confirmed: the 550dM

Blake Z. Rong
by Blake Z. Rong
The new BMW M5 (06/2011)

In case BMW‘s notoriously fickle enthusiasts can’t find the motivation to summon their pitchforks, here’s some news to light a fire under their posteriors: the legendary M division will put a diesel engine under the hood of their next car, a 5-Series.

Say it ain’t so, again! What’s next, a front-wheel drive M? But the next M-diesel won’t be an all-out M car—instead, it will be a companion to the M5, with the clunky badging of 550dM to indicate a diesel 5-Series that’s been breathed on by the sport division. The diesel powertrain will also make it to BMW’s other models such as the X-series of SUVs, which will also feature all-wheel drive.

As for the engine—going by the “more is better” theme, the diesel powerplant will carry three turbochargers to weed out even the suggestion of turbo lag. It will be a 3.0-liter straight-six as used in BMW’s current diesel cars, but with significant differences to the cylinder head. Direct injection and more efficient valve timing will push final horsepower figures to within the M5’s 560 horsepower: somewhere north of 500 will be expected, but with significantly more torque.

How significant? The M5 has 500 lb-ft of torque right now from its gasoline engine, but the diesel M will have more than 650 lb-ft. All-wheel drive will be standard then, according to a BMW official, “otherwise you’ll be spinning your tires all day.”

Diesel has been catching on slowly in the US, which holds stringent regulations on its sulfur levels. A high-performance diesel could light a fire under current sales figures of oil burners, and if BMW readies an M-diesel, it could even beat Audi at its own game. That, more than sales figures, would be the triumph of the day.

[Source: The Detroit Bureau]

Blake Z. Rong
Blake Z. Rong

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