Massive news coming from BMW; they have finally announced the spec for the new M5 saloon and its coming with four-wheel drive. All rumors have pointed to this happening after the previous 30 years of the world only being allowed M5’s with rear-wheel drive.

Mercedes started this whole ‘give the super saloon AWD’ thing with the recent E63 AMG model, now, BMW has decided to break with tradition by following suit. The great news is that the new M5 will feature a mode to shift all of that power to the rear wheels for when you feel like being a proper hooligan.

The excellent 4.4-litre V8 twin turbo motor remains, BMW has given it a rework though so expect more power that the swansong 592bhp M5 Competition Package. This new M5 will be run in 4WD xDrive mode by default. Like most rear-biased 4WD systems expect a majority of the power to go the rear with power being shifted to the front wheels when required.

So you want to have fun in a new M5? BMW has given you three adjustable driving setup’s to do just that, 4WD, 4WD Sport and 2WD. Obviously, 4WD is all about offering maximum traction. 4WD sport will allow you to have fun with the car on road and track. 2WD drive though is for hooligans (read: purists) only who want to be followed by a tire replacement service because of the constant sideways action.

No actual power or torque numbers were released by BMW, one thing they did confirm was that the new M5 will feature an Active M variable ratio locking differential at the rear (good for power sliding). Essentially, this system allows the rear differential to lock the rear wheels from 0 to 100 percent.

To ensure you can actually get all this power to the differential, BMW confirmed the new M5 comes equipped with a new gearbox in the form of an eight-speed dual clutch. This unit will have even faster shift times than the outgoing car. Given that the previous car could complete the 0-62 dash in 4.3 seconds with rear wheel drive, expect this new model to top that.

Expect the new M5 to make its public bow at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year.