The next incarnation of BMW’s iconic M5 has been photographed again - this time testing its 370 kW-plus F1-inspired V10 powerplant at a test circuit somewhere in Europe.

The next incarnation of BMW’s iconic M5 has been photographed again - this time testing its 370 kW-plus F1-inspired V10 powerplant at a test circuit somewhere in Europe.

CARtoday.com reported last week that the Munich-based manufacturer was developing a new M5 that would take the battle to the Mercedes-Benz E 55 AMG and Audi S6. We also published spy pictures of an M5 prototype complete with wider door-sills, chrome-less window frames, enlarged airdam and additional air-intake behind the front wheel houses.

These latest pictures show the M5’s quad exhaust pipes, a widened stance and lowered ride height, deeper chin spoiler, and what appear to be 18-inch tyres up front and 19-inchers at the rear.

BMW sources say the displacement of the V10, which will replace the outgoing M5’s 294 kW 4,9-litre V8, has not been finalised - but it is believed to be between five- and 5,5 litres.

The engine will forego the direct-injection technology found on BMW’s V12-engined 760 Li and the Valvetronic intake lift control employed by some of BMW’s other engines. Instead, it will have a third-generation version of the company’s Vanos variable valve timing system and four-valve heads similar to those on the F1 car. “They are more suited to the performance characteristics of the engine,” one insider said.

The new V10 is expected to rev to 9 000 r/min. With suitable gearing, it should bolt from zero to 100 km/h in around 4,5 seconds - making it the fastest-accelerating M-car ever. As is the tradition with German manufacturers, with the exception of Porsche, top speed will be electronically limited to 250 km/h.

A new six-speed manual gearbox, available in a conventional or SMG configuration, will be fitted. However, BMW is apparently keen to include a six-speed automatic to cater for the American market.

Underpinning the new M5 will be a heavily reworked version of the 5-Series’ MacPherson strut front and multilink rear suspension. It will use aluminium and lightweight wheel bearings aimed at reducing weight. Stiff springs, firm dampers and rework-ed bushings complete the formula.

In a move inspired by the sales success of the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG Estate and Audi RS6 Avant, BMW also intends to offer the M5 in a station wagon version for the first time - but only in 2005.

Original article from Car