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BMW M5 (V10 E60): Buying guide and review (2005-2010)

BMW M5 (V10 E60): Buying guide and review (2005-2010) Classic and Performance Car
BMW M5 (V10 E60) BMW M5 (V10 E60) BMW M5 (V10 E60) BMW M5 (V10 E60) BMW M5 (V10 E60)
BMW’s M division has been responsible for some of the marques most memorable vehicles, and when the E60 M5 launched in 2005, it was a car that epitomised what the M division was all about. It offered supercar levels of performance, clothed in a 5 Series body shell. The naturally aspirated V10 engine was developed specifically for this application and in combination with an uprated sequential manual gearbox (SMG III) made it on of the fastest four-door saloon cars in the world. De-restricted examples could even achieve in excess of 200mph.
 
As with all M division cars, the running gear and suspension received a thorough makeover to produce a very balanced and poised machine. The gearbox came in for criticism for its low speed jerkiness, while the engine is known for its high fuel and oil consumption, but this is not a car to dawdle in. With the M Power button deployed and the full 500bhp on call, everything begins to make sense. The changes become crisp and sharp, the engine howls to its 8250rpm redline with real ferocity, catapulting the car towards the horizon.
 
The world changed by the time it came to replace this V10 powered family supercar. The new M5 might be quicker, but the adoption of turbochargers has removed that manic edge that defined the V10 car. There may never be another M car like it.
 
Which one to buy?
 
As the most successful M5 ever, over 20,500 cars found homes in six years of production. The majority went to the US where the option of a manual gearbox was offered, although very few of these cars exist. The majority were SMG equipped saloons with 19,523 of this body shape being produced. 
 
A limited number of 1025 Touring models were also built, and while these were not very popular when new, they are now becoming very desirable on the second hand market. The list of standard equipment was very comprehensive with a heads-up-display, satellite navigation and automated side bolsters being some of the more notable. 
 
The V10 engine was developed from the ground up for the E60 M5 and bore no relation to any other BMW drivetrain. Its 8250rpm rev limit and max torque peaking at 6000rpm means that it gives its best at the upper ranges of the rev range. There are arguably too many driver settings to choose from, with 11 gearbox modes and various suspension and engine power settings, it took some time to get everything set-up just right. Thankfully a programmable M button could be pressed to activate a chosen preset. Left in its standard mode, the car produces 395bhp, and was intended for daily commuting. 
 
Special editions were limited to a small number of 25th Anniversary edition cars of which approximately ten were sold in the UK. Unique interior trim was offered including 25th Anniversary badging on the door sills, with no changes being made to the mechanicals over the standard cars. A one-off M5 CSL was also produced, with an enlarged 5.5-litre engine and weight reduced by 50kg over the standard car. This is not for sale…
 
Minor changes were carried out to the M5 during production with the most notable being uprated transmission pumps and oil pipes early on in manufacture. A mid-life facelift in 2007 freshened up the looks, so you should not be put off by a clean early car. The most important thing to look for is a full service history and a thorough check for any signs of abuse. Modified or chipped cars should be approached with caution. It’s possible to have the car’s data log checked by BMW to get a full history of how it has been treated. This is not a free service, but may add peace of mind to the purchase.
 
Performance and specs
 
2005 BMW M5 Saloon
Engine 5000cc 40valve DOHC V10
Power 507bhp @ 7750 rpm 
Torque 384lb.ft torque @ 6100rpm
Top speed 155mph (limited)
0-60mph 4.5 seconds 
Fuel consumption 19 mpg 
Gearbox Seven-speed SMG III
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2889mm
Length 4855mm
Width 1846mm
Height 1469mm
Weight 1855kg
 
Common problems
 
• Parts are readily available at a price and running costs tend to be on the high side, with the biggest regular expenses being clutch and brakes if the car is driven hard. Fuel consumption is high during normal driving conditions and rises to supercar levels when driven with enthusiasm. Here’s what you need to look out for:
 
• The V10 engine uses oil and levels should be checked regularly to avoid any potential issues, a noisy cold idle is normal. High mileages have not shown up any issues with these engines yet.

• Some independent garages are not set up to update the ECU and iDrive, so it is advisable to get the car booked in for this service if it has been out of the dealership network for an extended period.

• Brakes are powerful and relatively long lasting, but disc and pad replacement is costly. Make sure that they are in good condition before purchase.

• The SMG gearbox is great when pressing on however it can be jerky at slow speeds. Pumps could fail on the early cars too, although this should have been resolved by the dealer as a running change. 

• The clutches are a bit more problematic and release bearings and guide bushes tend to fail sooner than expected. Frequent use of the launch control function and aggressive driving can severely shorten the clutches lifespan, constant city driving in auto mode also has a detrimental effect on the clutch. Average clutch lifespans are around 40,000 miles, so check the service history on the car you intend to purchase to ensure that the clutch/flywheel has been replaced.

• Lower control arms on the suspension may need replacing every 20,000miles or so, and any vibrations through the steering column and noises when cornering may indicate that they need to be replaced. 

• Water can leak into the boot well which may indicate blocked roof rain ducts. Cars fitted with a panoramic roof can leak if the rubber seals are damaged, wiring issues can also cause erratic operation.
 
Model history
 
2005: E60 M5 launched to replace v8 engined E39 M5. New car initially only available in SMG gearbox and saloon body style.
2006: Six-speed manual transmission is made available on US spec cars
2007: Touring body style introduced, excluding US market. Mid-life facelift carried out in line with rest of E60 range including LED lighting upgrades, improved iDrive and additional colour options.
2008: Software change introduced to allow for full deactivation of DSC in manual transmission cars
2010: Production of E60 M5 ends with a global total of 20,548 units built
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.bmwcarclubgb.uk
• www.m5board.com
 
Summary and prices
 
The E60 M5 has experienced the bulk of its depreciation although there is still some way to go. Early cars start at around £12,000, rising to £20,000 for face lifted cars. 25th Anniversary models and last of the line low-milers can command up to £35,000. Touring models tend to sell for a slight premium over their saloon counterparts.
 
There are those rare moments in the automotive world where a car adds up to more than the sum of its parts, but the V10 M5 is such a car. Rarely has a four door family sedan managed to provide such an exhilarating and desirable package, and there’s no doubt that it’s on the way to becoming a classic. Get one now, and you’ll soon realise that the soundtrack alone is worth the price. 
 
Words: John Tallodi
BMW M5 (V10 E60) BMW M5 (V10 E60) BMW M5 (V10 E60) BMW M5 (V10 E60) BMW M5 (V10 E60)
Last updated: 6th Dec 2015
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