It Runs In The Family
FOUR DOORS, rear-wheel drive and a snarling naturally aspirated V8 up front – it’s a recipe for greatness. The E39, at the time, was a massive departure from M5 tradition, swapping out the atmo straight six of the E34 for a bored-out version of the S62 with VANOS, meaning the 4.9-litre (marketed as a 5.0-litre) bent eight returned 294kW/500Nm. The manualonly E39 hit 100km/h in 5.2sec and covered 400m in 13.5sec.
THE E60 M5 not only heralded yet another cylinder-count change, upping the ante to a V10, it ushered in a new age of electronic trickery. You could calibrate the engine (298kW and 378kW modes), seven-speed gearbox, steering, traction control and damper control. Or, you could just hit the M button, which facilitated a 0-100km/h time of 4.7sec. A cool Touring (E61) version was available in other markets, while the US got a manual.