Words & Photography by Dion Price
When the E60 M5 was announced I was blown away by the configuration of the package. A V10 F1 inspired engine, 7 speed sequential box and a derestricted 200+mph top speed was an unreal prospect in a 4 door family car at the time. After watching clips on the internet of M5’s laying waste to Ferrari 360’s I knew that it was the future family car for me. By the time I’d got married and had a couple of kids, E60 M5’s had dropped considerably in price. Even low mileage well cared for examples were finally a realistic prospect for me.
To the layperson the M5 doesn’t look that different from the 5 Series sport models but if you are a car person you can spot them a mile off. The subtle visual modifications combine to create a great looking car, that looks like it is straining at the leash even while motionless.
I love the wolf is sheep’s clothing approach and the overall package is hard to beat. In terms of specific features I would have to say the exhaust note is great but a little subdued. If you drop the window in a tunnel and gun it, you get a glorious noise but the M5 was specified as an executive car in the first instance so it’s a bit quiet for my tastes. I am looking into an Eisenmann exhaust to loosen the M5’s vocal chords a bit. The truly brutal power is something to behold the first time you experience it. I have been in a few cars that are faster (Ariel Atom Supercharged for example) but nothing delivers the power of an M5 in such a refined overall package. The gear change on maximum attack is fantastic. Double clutch configurations are massively impressive for their blink-of-an-eye upshifts, but the M5 is still old school, it’s basically a set of hydraulics slamming through a manual box for you. As a result, each full bore, flat out gear change feels like a punch in the spine, great stuff. When I lock the car and walk away I still look back at it over my shoulder every single time, it’s a menacing machine and I think it looks great.
Every journey is an event in the M5. Regardless of what we do in life it’s fair to say that most of us have to spend a fair amount of time on the road. If a substantial number of those journeys can be transformed from a tedious necessary evil in a soulless “econ-o-box”, into a joyous event in one of the finest machines ever assembled then its an easy choice if the funds permit. Full account can be found in the magazine.
Why buy one?
★Supercar in a saloon car body.
★Close link to Formula One technology both in engine and transmission.
★Due to regulations there will never be another V10 normally aspirated saloon car like the E60 M5.
★Understated styling and design has aged very well.
★Recognised by many as the ultimate four door saloon for enthusiastic drivers.
★Prices of low mileage, well cared for M5s include a significant premium, indicating interest in the collectors market for the very best examples.
Full production history of the car can be found in the magazine.
Full analysis and advice of the ideal specification can be found in the magazine.
Prices start at around £12,000 for a HPI clear car with around 100,000 miles on the clock. The 60,000 mile cutoff for third party warranties is bolstering the prices of cars that have less than this mileage. Expect to pay between £16-18,000 for a decent 40,000 mile 2005/2006 example. Full valuation details and examples on the market found in the magazine.
Parts prices for the M5 are high, but remember this is essentially a supercar in a saloon body. The performance this car offers coupled with its weight translate into the car needing complex and high strength components. Full breakdown of prices can be found in the magazine.
The 90 degree V10 is a masterpiece, the S85 unit picked up numerous awards in it’s time. However it is a complicated unit. Beware of any warning lights that do not go out on startup or illuminate during a drive, particularly the engine warning light. This light could indicate that the VANOS system is malfunctioning, which could be upwards of £2,000 to repair. Full breakdown of buyers checkpoints for engine, clutch, gearbox, steering, suspension, brakes, wheels, tyres and servicing schedule can be found in the magazine.
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