I was fortunate enough to drive my brother’s BMW 535i (E39) growing up. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with the E39 family, none more than the M5 that came out of the factories from 1998 to 2003. Here are three reasons why I absolutely adore it.
3. Its whopping V8…all 4.9 litres of it
Remember all those people who told you size doesn’t matter growing up? Well, they lied. BMW’s legendary S62 4.9 litre V8 proves that there really is “no replacement, for displacement.” Producing 294kw and 500Nm of torque, power is sent to the rear wheels through a 6-speed manual gearbox – a rare combination that has made the E39 M5 an increasingly desirable car among enthusiasts. Its individual throttle bodies and quad exhausts produced a distinct soundtrack that none of its competitors could rival. A true wolf-in-sheep’s clothing, the power plant found in the M5 was more than capable of frightening any teenage lad in his WRX at a set of lights. It’s because of this that the M5’s charming V8 engine will go down as one of the greatest engines produced in BMW’s history.
2. Build quality and refinement
BMW delivered an outstanding build quality and finish with the E39 M5 as you would expect from a German marque. The company hit the nail on the head in this department by ensuring that everything you touched was made from only the highest quality materials. Depending on the year model, the M5’s cabin may be filled extensively with high-end materials such as brushed aluminium, wood grain and leather. The M5’s dual personality as a luxury 4-door sedan, with all its creature comforts and practicality, and a race-bred sports car, capable of ripping down the Autobarn at 300km/h, resulted in the perfect harmony of thumping performance and uncompromising ride comfort.
1. It is utterly gorgeous
Perhaps the one feature that unites all models of the E39 family is its pure and timeless looks. The E39 is among the very few cars of its era that has aged like a fine wine. BMW were able to seamlessly join the lines from the long, sloped bonnet to the doors and fenders. The M5’s trademark angel eye headlights and kidney grille are two unmistakable features that highlight the car as something of truly understated elegance. It’s got class, character and charm written all over it, with a design that is impossible to fault.
1998-2003 BMW M5 (E39)
Price guide: $37,000 with approx. 132,000 on the odometer Body: 4-Door Sedan
Drive Type: Rear Wheel Drive
Engine: 4.9L 8-Cylinder Petrol Naturally Aspirated S62 Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
Power: 294kW @ 6600RPM
Torque: 500Nm @ 3800RPM
0-100km/h: 5.3 seconds
P Plate Legal: No