The new BMW M5's Pirelli tires redefine the whole concept of 'rubber meets the road'

PirelliThe New M5.

  • The new BMW M5 has been revamped with all-wheel-drive and a fully automatic transmission.
  • The car will make 600 horsepower and cost over $US100,000.
  • Pirelli developed new P Zero tires specifically designed for the new M5.

The $US100,000-plus 2018 BMW M5 is an all-new version of one of the most impressive machines the Bavarians turn out. Now we’re getting a sixth generation, and as we learned last year when the car landed at the Los Angeles Auto Show, BMW has made some major changes.

The motor remains a stonking 600-horsepower V8, but the M5 is now an all-wheel-drive beast. It also has a new fully automatic eight-speed transmission, replacing the previous generation’s dual-clutch unit.

As a BMW engineer told Road & Track, the reason for the AWD switch – the outgoing car was strictly rear-wheel-drive – is that the new M5 has “too much power for only two tires.”

That said, the M5 pipes most of its oomph to the rear axle, bringing the front wheels on only as needed. Drivers can also adjust the setting to take the front axle out of the picture completely.

The new drivetrain required some special tires, and that’s where Pirelli came in, developing a new version of its highly regarded P Zero performance design.

BMW M5 P ZeroPirelliThe new P Zeroes.

“This P Zero variant was developed in close cooperation with the development and testing departments of Pirelli and BMW,” the tiremaker said in a statement.

“The starting point of their collaboration was the new P Zero ultra-high performance tire unveiled last spring. In line with Pirelli’s perfect-fit philosophy, a P Zero tire version was specifically tailored for the BMW M5 to perfectly harmonize with this model’s chassis and features.”

This is good news: we often overlook how important the connection between tire and road is to getting the most out of a powerful car like the M5. If you think about it, that strip of rubber is the only thing stopping you as the driver from becoming a 600-horsepower, $US102,000 spinning top in your M5.

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