The BMW 2 Series is available with xDrive, BMW's Intelligent All-Wheel Drive System.
The transfer case uses an electromechanically operated multiplate clutch to channel torque between front and rear axles, bringing the front wheels into play only when rear wheels can't lay down any more power and more drive is needed, while an active M differential splits the drive between the rear wheels.
BMW's M division has reconfigured the 5-Series' head-up display to include a clearer rev counter, digital speedo and shift indicators, and it's useful during high-speed driving because it allows you to keep your eyes on the road ahead at all times.
4WD Sport pushes the handling balance rearward, for your first sip of power oversteer, and then there's M xDrive (DSC off), which fully relaxes the electronic guardian angels, and relies on your wits and the all-wheel-drive system to keep you out of trouble.
Dubbed the M xDrive, it works by sending most of its power to the rear.
The cabin gets a sportier treatment, and there's a freestanding information display, memory options for auto settings such as those for the transmission, engine and suspension.
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In each model, a new touchscreen sits atop the dash; the $190 Gesture Control option enables the driver or front passenger to control the stereo volume and a few other functions by making specific hand gestures in front of the screen. Unlike the Mercedes, however, you don't actually have to be in a drift mode to activate the 2WD setting, although DSC still needs to be fully switched off to do so. The driver's preferred mode can also be saved along with a favourite combination of settings for the suspension, powertrain, steering and DSC with the M1 and M2 buttons.
Despite its all-wheel drive system, which often adds weight over a rear-driven platform, the M5 can be "finely balanced" when pushed through corners on a racing circuit, it adds.
The upcoming M5 will make up to 600bhp from the same 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 that powered the previous vehicle, albeit with a few choice tweaks to increase power output even further. Outputs have yet to be revealed, but expect the final figures to hover around 600 hp and over 700 Nm.
"With the current M5 we are at 680Nm and thanks to the fact that we use Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, it can get all the traction and all the power on the ground".
Paired to the monster V8 is an eight-speed M Steptronic automatic transmission.
AutoExpress says the M5 won't make its public appearance until the Frankfurt motor show, which runs from 14 to 27 September.