The BMW M5 E60: An asphalt legend with Formula 1 DNA

Talking about the BMW M5 E60 is to immerse oneself in one of the most glorious eras of automotive history. This model, produced between 2004 and 2010, not only marked a before and after in the history of sports sedans but also became an icon of engineering and design, thanks to its Formula 1-derived heart. Designed by Davide Arcangeli and manufactured in Dingolfing, Germany, the M5 E60 remains a coveted vehicle for collectors and motor enthusiasts.

Photo: ©BMW Group

An Engine That Makes History

The heart of the BMW M5 E60 is its 5-liter V10 engine, known as S85B50, which produces 507 hp at 7750 rpm and 520 Nm of torque. This engine, inspired by Formula 1 technology, not only surpassed the 500 hp barrier but also raised the bar in terms of power and performance in a sedan. With a rev limit of 8250 rpm, this engine provided a unique driving experience, allowing the car to reach 100 km/h in just 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 305 km/h with the M Driver package.

The design of this engine was a masterpiece of engineering. BMW incorporated advanced materials like magnesium for the engine block, which helped keep the weight under control. This engine had a distinctive sound and impressive response, qualities that made it stand out compared to other engines of the time. Additionally, the seven-speed SMG III semi-automatic gearbox, although controversial at the time, offered quick and precise shifting that perfectly complemented the car’s sporty character.

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Innovations and Cutting-Edge Technology

The M5 E60 was not just about the engine. It incorporated a series of technological innovations that further highlighted its distinction. Among them, the Electronic Damper Control (EDC), which constantly adjusts the suspension according to vehicle and environmental conditions, offering three modes: Comfort, Normal, and Sport. It also integrated the Bi-VANOS variable valve timing system and the advanced Engine Management System (EMS) with the MS S65 processor, which managed various electronic and mechanical systems of the vehicle.

The “Power” button was another standout feature of the M5 E60. This button allowed the driver to limit the engine’s power to 400 hp for more relaxed driving or unleash it fully to 507 hp for a more sporty driving experience. Additionally, the Launch Control system optimized acceleration from a standstill, ensuring a quick and efficient start, emulating the sensations of a race car.

Design and Exclusivity

The design of the M5 E60 is a perfect combination of elegance and sportiness. With specific wheels, aerodynamic mirrors, a distinctive bumper, and a quad exhaust, this 4-door sedan left no doubt about its sporty character. Additionally, the Touring E61 version, launched in 2007, offered the same power and technology but with greater cargo capacity, becoming one of the most exclusive family cars on the market.

This design was not only attractive but also functional. The aerodynamic lines and M-specific details like air intakes and rear diffusers improved performance and stability at high speeds. The interior was equally impressive, with high-quality finishes, sports seats, and a driver-oriented control layout, creating an environment that combined luxury and sportiness.

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Reliability Issues and Innovative Solutions

Despite its impressive performance, the V10 engine of the M5 E60 was not without problems. BMW engineers had to deal with challenges related to the different coefficients of expansion between the magnesium block and the aluminum heads, which caused head gasket wear. However, these problems have not diminished the legend of the M5 E60, which continues to be revered for its innovative design and performance capabilities.

Additionally, the SMG III transmission, although advanced for its time, had its detractors due to the harshness of shifts in urban driving situations. However, many drivers learned to appreciate its direct nature and ability to offer quick and precise shifts in sporty driving. For those who preferred a more traditional driving experience, BMW offered a 6-speed manual transmission in the US market starting in 2007.

Special Editions and Extreme Performance

In 2010, G-Power took the M5 E60 to another level with the M5 Hurricane, which reached 340 km/h thanks to a “supercharging” system that increased power to 730 hp. This model became the fastest street sedan in the world, surpassing many supercars of the time.

The G-Power M5 Hurricane not only offered impressive speed but also improved acceleration, reducing the 0 to 100 km/h time to 4.2 seconds. This performance was achieved thanks to a supercharging system that included two ASA T1-12 compressors, one for each cylinder bank, allowing for smooth and constant power delivery. Additionally, G-Power made adjustments to the suspension and brakes to handle the power increase, creating a complete package that transformed the M5 E60 into a true monster on the asphalt.

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A Lasting Legacy

The BMW M5 E60 is more than just a car; it is a masterpiece of engineering that combines Formula 1 technology with the luxury and comfort of a high-end sedan. Its V10 engine, advanced control systems, and elegant design make it an unforgettable vehicle. Despite the technical challenges, the M5 E60 remains an icon in the world of sports cars and a jewel desired by collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Total production of the M5 E60 was 20,548 units, including 19,523 sedans and 1,025 Tourings, numbers that surpassed its predecessor, the E39. This limited production, along with its unique performance and design, ensures that the M5 E60 will maintain its classic status in the years to come.

In summary, the BMW M5 E60 represents an era of innovation and boldness in automotive design. It is a reminder of what can be achieved when the passion for performance and engineering is combined with dedication to excellence. If you are lucky enough to drive one, you will know that you are at the wheel of a piece of automotive history, one that remains as exciting today as it was when it first rolled off the Dingolfing factory floor.

Technical Specifications of the BMW M5 E60

Engine90º V10 S85B50 of 4999 cm³
Power507 hp (373 kW) @ 7750 rpm
Torque520 Nm (384 lb·ft) @ 6100 rpm
Transmission7-speed SMG III, 6-speed manual
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (62 mph)4.1 seconds
Top speed305 km/h (190 mph) (unlimited)
Length4855 mm (191.1 in)
Width1846 mm (72.7 in)
Height1469 mm (57.8 in)
Wheelbase2889 mm (113.7 in)
Weight1780 to 1830 kg (3924 to 4034 lbs)
Fuel tank capacity70 liters (18.5 US gal)
Photo: ©BMW Group