The BMW M5 is BMW personified. Based on the executive 5-series sedan, the M5 has always been fast yet understated, agile yet comfortable, the automotive equivalent of Jekyll and Hyde.
Ever since the E28 M5 started frightening the pants off Ferrari drivers in 1985, the M5 has always had the reputation of a supercar slayer.
As I found out recently when I drove one, the E60 model is no different.
Powered by an epic Formula 1 derived 5-litre V10, the M5 produces 373kW (507hp) and revs to a dizzying 8,250RPM. The 0-100km/h (0-62mph) sprint is dispatched in 4.7 seconds and with the limiter removed, will soar north of the magic 200mph barrier (320kp/h.
Putting power to the ground is a 7-speed SMG gearbox, which is notorious for being jerky and dim-witted, however the car I drove had a gearbox remap which made it quite mild mannered.
Around town, the M5 is as docile as a 520d and surprisingly comfortable given its sporty pretext. However, get it onto a twisty B-road and the performance of the M5 is still as impressive today as it was in 2005.
The steering is quick and weighted perfectly, throttle response crisp and chassis absolutely sublime – how they got a car weighing 1830kg (4034lb) to handle this well must have entailed some form of wizardry.
The V10 is wonderfully linear in its power delivery and does its best work north of 6000rpm where it howls like a banshee with its balls in a vice, especially with the aftermarket headers and exhaust fitted to the car I drove.
The heads up display in ‘M’ mode is also useful; allowing you to see exactly how much trouble you’ll be in if Mr Plod is waiting for you around the corner.
The M5 is utterly addictive, which is ultimately detrimental to fuel consumption. The M5 is rated at 14.8L/100km (15.9mpg), but high teens are a more likely proposition day to day and a few squirts of the loud pedal will see it climb into the 20’s (under 10mpg).
If you are thinking of buying (or swapping) for an M5, here are a few things to consider:
Oil consumption is noted as something to look out for. Smart M5 owners will check oil every 1000km (600 miles) and top up as needed, so check for those engines with evidence of being run on low oil.
Check the VANOS variable valve-timing system is working properly – issues with VANOS are well noted on forums, and can cost thousands to fix. A tell-tale sign of an unwell VANOS system is a small oil leak under the engine cover at the front of the engine. Overall, getting a compression test and a check-over by an independent mechanic before purchase is the best way to ensure the car is healthy.
As the M5 is quite heavy, check the state of brakes and tyres, as these will be costly to replace.
The SMG transmission seems pretty durable, however are eye-wateringly expensive to replace so when test driving, be sure to look for any vibrations, odd noises or unreasonably erratic gear shifts.
In Australia, an E60 M5 will set you back between AUD$40-60,000, but low mileage examples can go for as much as AUD$80,000. Stateside, M5’s are around USD$16-20,000. Most examples appear to have been well kept, and there’s a strong network of owners who can help when issues arise.
Overall, the M5 shapes up as a definite future classic – it provides a visceral driving experience, practicality and an engine note to die for. With prices remaining reasonably stagnant at the moment, now is as good a time as any to nab one.
|BMW E60 M5 (2005-2010)||Price Guide: AUD$40,000-$60,000
|Engine:||4999cc V10, normally aspirated|
|Transmission:||7 speed SMG, automated manual|
|Power:||373kW (507hp) @ 7750rpm|
|Torque:||520Nm (384lb-ft) @ 6100rpm|
|Acceleration (0-100km/h/0-62mph):||4.7 seconds|
|Fuel Consumption:||14.8L/100km (15.9mpg)|