The E60 M5 was introduced in 2005. It has a 4,999 cc (305.1 cu in) BMW V10 S85 engine redlining at 8250 rpm, and developing a peak output of 507 PS (373 kW; 500 bhp) and 520 N·m (380 lb·ft) of torque. Unlike some other BMW engines which utilise Valvetronic to infinitely vary valve lift to eliminate the throttle plate, this engine has individual throttle bodies per cylinder. The E60 M5 was the world’s first production sedan to feature a V10 petrol engine.
Other key features include a stiffened aluminum chassis and a 7-speed SMG III sequential manual gearbox, also known as a single-clutch automated manual transmission. Front fog lights are unavailable for the M5, as the amount of air required to cool the brakes under spirited driving applications requires the spaces under the bumper, normally occupied by fog lights in other E60 cars, to be reallocated for air cooling ducts.
Despite the criticism of the Chris Bangle-designed chassis, the difficult iDrive interface, and the lack of smoothness of the SMG III transmission, the E60 M5 was the most successful M5, despite being on the market for one year shorter than the E39 M5. During its five year run, 20,548 units were built composing of 19,523 saloons and 1025 wagons. 8800 were sold in the U.S., all of the sedan variety. Great Britain and Ireland claimed 1776 examples, followed by BMW’s home market of Germany with 1647 units, and 1357 were sold in Japan. Italian enthusiasts claimed 512 units, and 339 examples were sold in Australia.
The BMW M5, along with the E63/64 BMW M6, were designed to use the new Getrag SMG III single-clutch seven speed semi-automatic transmission. Gerd Richter, the head of BMW M, defended the decision to use a single-clutch sequential manual gearbox rather than a twin-clutch unit, saying “True, the dual-clutch system has a smoother automatic mode, and it performs seamless upshifts. For a 7-series, this may be the way to go. But an M car should always combine efficiency with emotion. That’s why there are six shift speeds to choose from, from velvet glove to iron fist. That’s why we cut the torque into seven slices. That’s why we added special features like a hill holder, a designated drive program for steep climbs and descents, and a downshift assistant, which briefly dips the clutch to avoid destabilizing wheel spin.”The SMG III transmission, while responsive at the track, has been criticized for its general lack of smoothness in everyday driving, and by 2010 it was considered outdated as most manufacturers were using dual clutch transmissions instead. Based on suggestions from the motoring press, BMW announced in October 2006 that a 6-speed conventional manual transmission would be available in North America, this became the base transmission in these markets while SMG III is an option. The 6-speed manual M5 was marginally slower, since the dynamic stability control could not be disengaged unlike the SMG version. This however, was changed with the release of a Service Bulletin in November of 2007 for a retrofit allowing DSC to be disabled as well as the function being implemented into the introduction of the 2008 model year M5 as well as the M6. The SMG III includes the “Launch Control” feature. However, the US spec vehicles have a reduced RPM to prevent vehicle damage and abuse.
The M5 features several Formula One inspired engine and transmission controls. There is launch control which allows maximum performance standing starts automatically. The Getrag SMG III single-clutch semi-automatic transmission has the option of changing to either automated or manual, as well as the speed at which shifts are completed (there are 11 shift programmes in total forming what BMW calls Drivelogic). Manual shifting can be done with either a console shifter, or the steering wheel mounted shift paddles, both of which are fitted to all SMG M5s. The console shifter is the type used on manumatic transmissions; tipping it backward (toward the “+”) shifts up, while a forward tip (toward the “-”) shifts down. The shifter can be moved to the left to access neutral and reverse. The car also features a “power” button on the navigation panel (labeled “M”) which offers access to three modes: P400 (limiting the engine to 400 PS (294 kW; 395 bhp) for daily driving use), P500 (unleashes the full 507 PS (373 kW; 500 bhp)), and P500 S (for full power and sharper throttle response, selectable only from the “M Drive Settings” in the iDrive menu). P400 is the default start-up mode, the P500 modes are preselected using iDrive and then activated from P500 S using the “M” button.
The E60 M5 took the title of the most powerful midsize sport sedan when released, Along with direct competitors the Audi RS6 (C5) and the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG, all three vehicles are quoted by their manufacturers to reach 0-to-62-mph in a time of 4.7 seconds.
The M5 was temporarily overtaken by several more powerful rivals, specifically the Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG (507 bhp (378 kW; 514 PS)), Audi RS6 (C6) (426 kW (579 PS; 571 bhp)), and the second generation Cadillac CTS-V (556 bhp (415 kW; 564 PS)) which bested the M5′s Nürburgring lap time.
- 0-100 km/h (62 mph): 4.7s
- (0-100 mph: 10.00, Road & Track [2/06])
- (0-60 mph: 4.1s, Road & Track [2/06])
- Top speed: 250 km/h (155 mph) with electronic speed limiter;only on G.B. models German imports not limited
204 mph (328.3kph)(delimited)
- Power: 373 kW (507 PS; 500 bhp) at 7750 rpm
- Torque: 520 N·m (384 ft·lbf) at 6100 rpm
E61 M5 Touring (2007–2010)
The E61 M5 Touring was introduced in 2007, only the second M version of the 5-Series Touring after the E34. It shares the same drivetrain with its saloon sibling, and serves as a rival to the Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Estate. The Touring was never offered for sale in North America.
The E61 M5 Touring weights slightly less than 2,000 kg (4,409 lb) and from the factory can reach 175 mph (282 km/h), even though the car is electronically limited to 155 mph (249 km/h) . Jeremy Clarkson, of Top Gear, said of the “M5 is one of the most exciting cars made today. Only now, because this is an estate, your dog can come too.”