Image: Stock/Credit: BMW

A BMW X5 owner is thanking his lucky stars after his 4x4 suddenly burst into flames in the outside lane of the M57.

Thomas Porterfield, 32, was driving in the outside lane when his BMW X5 – a recent purchase he had made as a birthday treat – suddenly combusted and became a speeding fireball.

The professional gardener managed to steer his molten pride and joy across three lanes of fast-moving traffic and flee the burning wreck uninjured.

Escaping through the rear passenger door, Porterfield then stood on the hard shoulder and watched his £20,000 vehicle burn before exploding around 60 seconds later.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "I was driving along the motorway, everything appeared to be fine, the vehicle was a-okay, and the next thing there's flames coming up my windscreen.

"My silver BMW burst into flames with no warning whatsoever. I managed to get across to the hard-shoulder, and by this time I'm inhaling smoke, smoke is pouring through the vents.

"I had to jump over to the back-seat because my door was stuck, and I jump out the back door as it goes up in flames."

He added: "I ran and then I'm stood maybe 20 metres away.

"The next thing, there's fuel spewing out of the vehicle and it's absolutely ablaze now. It's pouring into the gutter and there's a line of fire heading towards me. It was like something off Fast and Furious.

"There was less than 60 seconds between me getting out and the car exploding. The heat when it actually popped - I'm standing 20 metres away from this thing - and it was like a force of heat hitting me in the face.

"Less than two minutes later, and there was nothing left of the car, absolutely nothing - not a single piece of paintwork, not a seat, a mirror, not a single thing. It was just a complete lump of ash."

Authorities were forced to close the southbound motorway for around 45 minutes while emergency services put out the blaze and cleared debris from the scene.

According to The Mirror, BMW were not available to comment.