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BMW M5,all four generations
ClassMid-size luxury car/executive car
Body style(s)4-door sedan
5-door station wagon E60
PlatformFR layout
RelatedBMW 5 Series
ManualsService Manual

The BMW M5 is an ultra performance version of the BMW 5-Series automobile made by BMW Motorsport. First introduced at the Amsterdam Motor Show in 1984, the M5 has been made from various 5-Series versions throughout the years, including the E28, E34, E39 and most recently the E60. Originally, the M5 was hand-built utilizing the 535i chassis and a modified BMW M1 engine. When introduced, it was the fastest production sedan in the world.

E28 M5 (1985-1988)

1988 US-Spec M5 with European-Spec headlights
AssemblyRosslyn, South Africa
Garching, Germany
Body style(s)4-door sedan
PlatformBMW E28
Engine(s)3.5 L 286 hp (213 kW) I6
Transmission(s)5-speed manual
Wheelbase103.3 in (2624 mm)
Length189.0 in (4801 mm)
Width66.9 in (1699 mm)
Height55.7 in (1415 mm)
Curb weight1,550 kg (3,417 lb)
RelatedBMW 5-Series
Main article: BMW M5 (E28)

The first M5, which is based on the E28 5-Series, made its debut at the 1984 Amsterdam Motor Show. It was the product of demand for an automobile with the carrying capacity of a saloon (sedan), but the overall performance of a sports car. It utilized the 535i chassis and an evolution of the engine from the BMW M1. The M5 was handbuilt by Motorsport technicians and was the fastest production saloon (sedan) in the world.

The M5 was offered in four different versions. The first version was the Left Hand Drive (LHD) Euro Spec M5. The second version was the Right Hand Drive (RHD) Spec M5. The third version was the North American Spec (NA or so-called 1988) M5. The fourth version was the South African (ZA) Spec M5. It is worth noting that production of the M5 continued until November 1988, well after production of the E28 chassis ended in Germany in December 1987.

The LHD, RHD Euro specifications M5s and the ZA

  1. REDIRECT Template:Clarify me specifications M5s had the M88/3 powerplant which delivered Template:Convert/PS whereas the North American 1988 M5 was equipped with the S38 6-Cylinder engine that had a catalytic converter, which reduced the power output to 256 hp (191 kW; 260 PS). The S38 differed from the M88/3 in that it had 9.8:1 compression versus the M88/3's 10.5:1. The S38 also used a dual-row timing chain where the M88/1 used a single-row chain. Initially 500 were to be made for the US Market, BMW later increased production to as many as 1,370 units for the US and Canadian Markets although the generally accepted figure is 1,244 units sold.

The NA Spec Models are unique in that technically they were all finished in Schwarz (Black) with Natur (Tan) interiors. The otherwise virtually identical Canadian-Spec M5s were also available with Black interiors as an option however a handful of US Models were also equipped with Black interiors

United States VINs range from 2791000-2792000 and 2875000-2875320 Car # 2791000 is not known to have been built and not all VINs are known to have been used. The first handful of cars built in November and December 1986 were issued Federal compliance labels showing a 1/87 build date. As has been speculated earlier, physical confirmation of the VIN of the United States M5 kept in BMW North America's Mobile Tradition collection is a 287 series car, a later 1987 build date car.

While every NA-Spec E28 M5 was a 1988 Model Year car, production of North American specification M5s commenced in November 1986 and ended in November 1987. Excepting 96 units that were assembled in kit form at BMW's Plant in Rosslyn, South Africa, all E28 M5s were assembled by hand at BMW Motorsport in Garching, Germany.

With a total production of 2,191 the E28 M5 remains the rarest regular production BMW Motorsport car - after the BMW 850CSi (1510 units).



At the time of sale, BMW quoted the following 0-60 times to give the impression that the E28 M5 did not outperform the more expensive, heavier and top-of-the-range E24 M635csi (BMW M6).

  • (Euro) - 286 hp 0-60 mph - 6.2 s. Top Speed: 153 mph (246 km/h)
  • (USA) - 256 hp 0-60 mph - 6.5 s. Top Speed: 148 mph (238 km/h)


  • Whilst BMW Motorsport did not build any special versions of the E28 M5, the German tuner Hartge produced the Hartge H35S-24, a Template:Convert/PS version of the E28 M5. Main modifications over and above the standard E28 M5 were revised cams, a modified exhaust, modified Motronic ECU programming and a revised (and lowered) suspension setup.
  • Alpina limited their tuning efforts to the older M30 engine powered models. The Alpina B7 Turbo produced 330 hp (250 kW; 330 PS) with 0-60 mph times of 4.7 sec and a top speed of 168 mph (270 km/h).

E34 M5 (1989-1995)

Main article: BMW M5 (E34)
BMW E34 M5 sedan
AssemblyGarching, Germany
Body style(s)4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
PlatformBMW E34
Engine(s)3.6 L 315 hp (235 kW) I6
3.8 L 340 hp (250 kW) I6
Transmission(s)5-speed and 6-speed manual
Wheelbase108.7 in (2761 mm)
Length185.8 in (4719 mm)
Width68.9 in (1750 mm)
Height54.8 in (1392 mm)
Curb weight1,670 kg (3,682 lb)
RelatedBMW 5-Series

The E34 M5 was produced from 1989 to 1995, although sales in North America started in 1991 and ended in 1993. It was produced at BMW M GmbH in Garching, Germany and like the previous M5, was entirely hand-built. It utilized the 535i chassis which was produced at BMW's Dingolfing plant. Assembly was done either by a single M employee or a team of M employees and generally took about two weeks. It is rumored that the test drivers of the E34 M5 could determine who or what team made each specific M5, due to characteristic quirks of the hand built nature of the E34 M5. The engines were also built by hand by BMW M technicians. All of the E34 M5 power plants were built to a tolerance of within 5% of advertised output.

The early E34 M5 used an evolution of the 24-valve I6 found in the E28 M5 and E24 M635CSi/M6. The engine was designated S38B36, with a bore of 93.4 mm (3.7 in) and stroke of 86 mm (3.4 in) for a total capacity of 3535 ccm. The added stroke is due to a new forged steel crankshaft, though the camshafts were also changed. Compression was up slightly (10:1 versus 9.8:1). Other adjustments made included an electronically controlled butterfly valve in the intake plenum which provided better low rpm and mid-range power. The engine also featured an improved flywheel, Bosch Motronic fuel injection, equal length stainless steel headers and three way ceramic catalysts. Originally it had a displacement of 3.5 L and produced 315 hp (235 kW), and Template:Convert/ft.lbf at 4750 rpm. Cars sold in North America and Switzerland, due to a different catalytic converter, produced 310 hp (229 kW).

In second half of 1991, the engine displacement was increased to 3.8 L with the S38B38, except in North America and South Africa, which continued with the 3.5 L engine. Power was now increased to 340 hp (250 kW) SAE. Also in 1992, a Touring version was introduced in LHD form with 891 cars made.

The M5 came with an unusual wheel design. From 1989-1992 the M5 featured the M-System wheels. These wheels were 17x8J, but came with a bolted-on wheel cover. Under the cover was a black 5-spoke alloy wheel. The press was critical of the design, often claiming it gave the M5 the appearance of having "white-wall" tires. In 1992 BMW changed the design and a new cover was produced — the M-System II. The original intent of the M-System cover was to direct more air to the brake assembly to increase cooling. The cover actually integrated a fin assembly behind the cover. The M-System II covers, known as the "throwing stars" did not have as much capability to direct air to the brake assemblies. In May 1994, the M5 came with M Parallel wheels that did away with the cover.


  • HD91 (89-92 LHD Euro) I6-24v 3.6 L - 232 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 5-speed manual transmission)
  • HD92 (89-91 RHD Euro) I6-24v 3.6 L - 232 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 5-speed manual transmission)
  • HD93 (89-93 LHD US) I6-24v 3.6 L - 232 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 5-speed manual transmission)
  • HD98 (90-93 RHD SA) I6-24v 3.6 L - 232 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 5-speed manual transmission) made in South Africa from CKD kit supplied from Germany.
  • HC91 (91-94 LHD Euro) I6-24v 3.8 L - 250 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 5-speed manual transmission)
  • HC91 (94-95 LHD Euro) I6-24v 3.8 L - 250 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 6-speed manual transmission)
  • HC92 (92-94 RHD Euro) I6-24v 3.8 L - 250 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 5-speed manual transmission)
  • HC92 (94-95 RHD Euro) I6-24v 3.8 L - 250 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 6-speed manual transmission)
  • HJ91 (92-94 LHD Euro Touring) I6-24v 3.8 L - 250 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 5-speed manual transmission)
  • HJ91 (94-95 LHD Euro Touring) I6-24v 3.8 L - 250 kW (Template:Convert/PS hp) (only available with 6-speed manual transmission)


  • 89-92 (Euro) I6-24v 3.6 L - 315 PS (311 hp/232 kW) - 0-100 km/h: 6.3 s. Top speed: 250 km/h (155 mph) (electronically limited)
  • 92-95 (Euro) I6-24v 3.8 L - 340 PS (335 hp/250 kW) - 0-100 km/h: 5.9. Top speed: 250 km/h (155 mph) (electronically limited) or 280 km/h (174 mph - without electronic limiter).
  • 91-93 (USA) I6-24v 3.6 L - 310 hp (231 kW) - 0-60 mph: 6.4 s. Top speed: 155 mph (electronically limited)


Special versions

  • Cecotto Edition — A total of 22 Cecotto E34 M5s were produced with options of having either Lagoon Green metallic (266) and Mauritius Blue metallic paint (287).
  • Winkelhock Edition — A total of 51 Winkelhock E34 M5s were produced with the options of having Jet Black (668) with contrasting lower body panels in Sterling Silver metallic paint (244) no fog lights and manual rear windows helped to lower the weight.
  • 20 Jahre Motorsport Edition — To celebrate BMW Motorsport 20th anniversary, BMW had built 20 specially equipped Euro-spec M5s in late 1992.
  • UK Limited Edition — To commemorate the end of right-hand drive E34 M5 production, 50 examples of the E34 M5 Limited Edition were assembled between March and June 1995.
  • Elekta - 20 M5 Tourings were assembled for distribution in Italy. These were finished in either Sterling Silver over Marine Blue leather or British Racing Green over Tobacco leather. All were made in 1995. It is debated as to whether or not these cars constitute a true special edition as they were ordered directly by a group of Italian BMW dealers.
  • Alpina B10 3.5 — with 254 hp (189 kW) the 5-series could do 0-60 in 7.0 seconds and maximum of 157 mph (252 km/h). There is only 572 of this Alpina ever produced, 5speed manual and 4speed automatic.
  • Alpina B10 Bi-Turbo — With the 3.5l twin turbocharged I6 Alpina produced about 360 hp (270 kW) and launch from 0-60 in 5.1 second and official speed of 181 mph (291 km/h). 507 Bi-turbo was made, the 50 last has the M60: s wider front and blue instruments. This was also the fastest 4-door saloon(sedan) to 1996, 5speed manual only.
  • Alpina B10 4,0 — with 315 hp (235 kW) a tuned version of the ground model (540i) M60B40 4 litre V8, 45 Sedan cars made and only 4 Touring was made between 1993 and 1995, two transmissions 6speed manual (from 1994) and 5speed automatic.
  • Alpina B10 4,6 — with 340 hp 480 N·m with an engine specially made for this model that also have 540i as a ground model, 27 Sedan and 19 Touring was made between 1994 and 1996, two transmissions 6 speed manual and Switchtronic.

E39 M5 (1998-2003)

BMW E39 M5
AssemblyDingolfing, Germany
Body style(s)4-door sedan
PlatformBMW E39
Engine(s)4.94L 400 PS (395 hp/294 kW) @ 6600 rpm V8 90°
Transmission(s)6-speed manual
Wheelbase111.4 in (2830 mm)
Length188.3 in (4783 mm)
Width70.9 in (1801 mm)
Height55.6 in (1412 mm)
Curb weight1,720 kg (3,792 lb)
RelatedBMW 5-Series
2003 BMW M5 Interior (US specification)

Unlike its predecessors, the E39 M5 was not handbuilt at the BMW M GmbH factory; it was produced on the same assembly line as the normal E39 5-series at the Dingolfing factory in Germany. In fact the E39 M5 was almost not built at all; BMW believed that the 286 bhp 540i was powerful enough, but when Jaguar released the XJR (320 hp) and Mercedes-Benz introduced the W210 E55, which had over 350 bhp (354 hp), BMW responded to the competition with a 400 bhp (300 kW) M5.

Introduced in 1998 at the Geneva Motor Show, production did not begin until late October of that year. A total of 20,482 E39 M5s were made from 1999 to 2003. BMW M produced three versions of the E39 M5, the European LHD and RHD versions and the North American specification version.

The E39 M5 had a highly tuned V8 engine based on the M62 engine called the S62, which displaced 4.9 L and produced 400 PS (395 hp/294 kW). The engine featured a 7000 rpm redline, Double-VANOS, which varies the intake and exhaust valves for both cylinder banks, and individual throttle butterflies for each of the cylinders, allowing for a much faster engine response time.

All E39 M5s were equipped with a Getrag Type D six-speed manual transmission which provided the following gearing ratios:

  • First gear: 4.23
  • Second gear: 2.54
  • Third gear: 1.62
  • Fourth gear: 1.23
  • Fifth gear: 1.00
  • Sixth gear: 0.83

It is the same transmission used in the E39 540i but some changes were made to cope with the extra power the S62 engine produced. A reinforced clutch, rear differential utilizing a shorter 3.15:1 ratio and a limited slip differential with 25% maximum locking.

The E39 M5 suspension shared its basic aluminium-intensive MacPherson strut/multi-link design of the V8 E39 5 series. However, several changes were made by BMW M. Reduced spring height, 0.9 inch (23 mm) lower. A specific shock valving, thicker front and rear anti-roll bars, polyurethane auxiliary springs and steel balljoints.

Like all V8-powered E39 models, the E39 M5 was equipped with a recirculating-ball steering system. Overall steering ratio was reduced to 14.7 from 17.9 it featured a servotronic vehicle-speed-sensitive power assist that provides two levels of resistance controlled via console mounted Sport button. The Sport button also adjusted the electronic throttle butterflies for faster throttle response. The E39 M5 is equipped with four-wheel vented disc brakes measuring 13.6" in diameter in front and 12.9" in diameter in the rear. On European-specification models, the rotors are of a "floating" two-piece design for reduced risk of cone distortion. Their lower unsprung weight improves ride quality and traction on bumpy surfaces as well. Anti-lock brakes were standard.

During its 5 years in production, there were some cosmetic changes in 2001 to include:

  • Revised headlight design incorporating illuminated "Angel Eyes" (incadescent glass rings surrounding the headlights)
  • Jewel tone Celis tail light design
  • Park Distance Control sensors in the front bumper (previously in rear only)
  • Thicker three-spoke M steering wheel identical to the one fitted to the E46 M3
  • Grey instrument panel
  • Improved solar sensor for standard automatic climate control
  • Revised navigation/audio unit with larger (6.5-inch) monitor (Standard on US Spec 2001-2003)
  • Rear head protection airbags added
  • Second-generation M Mobility tire repair system in place of earlier version
  • Available M Audio System with special tweeters, Kevlar/carbon coaxial speakers and two subwoofers behind the rear console
  • Alcantara headliner included with Extended Leather interior (previously only included with Complete Leather)

For the subsequent two model years, changes were limited to the addition of new exterior colors (from 9/01 production) and the upgrade to a DVD-based navigation system (from 9/02 production).

The E39 M5 is capable of accelerating from 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds, although many reviewers claim to have achieved this under 5 seconds. It is electronically limited to a top speed of 155 mph (249 km/h)[1], making it the fastest 4-door saloon in the world at the time it was manufactured. Once delimited, top speeds of an indicated 187mph (180mph actual) are possible.

Although an E39 M5 Touring was considered and at least one prototype was constructed (in Titanium Silver with a Black Exclusive leather interior), BMW M decided not to produce an E39 M5 Touring due to financial considerations.

E60 M5 (2005-present)

BMW E60 M5 1.JPG
Production2005 - present
AssemblyDingolfing, Germany
Body style(s)4-door sedan
5-door station wagon
PlatformBMW E60
Engine(s)5.0L 507 hp (378 kW) @ 7750 rpm V10
Transmission(s)7-speed Sequential Manual Gearbox (SMG), 6-Speed Manual Gearbox
WheelbaseSedan: 2889 mm (113.7 in)
Wagon: 2880 mm (113.4 in)
LengthWagon: 4855 mm (191.1 in)
Sedan: 4863 mm (191.5 in)
Width1846 mm (72.7 in)
HeightWagon: 1512 mm (59.5 in)
Sedan: 1469 mm (57.8 in)
Curb weight1,830 kg (4,034 lb)
RelatedBMW 5-Series

The E60 M5 was introduced in 2005. It has a 5.0 L BMW V10 S85 engine redlining at 8250 rpm and developing a peak output of 500 SAE hp (507 PS, 373 kW) with Template:Convert/ft.lbf of torque. Unlike some other BMW engines which utilize Valvetronic to infinitely vary valve lift to eliminate the throttle plate, this engine has 1 individual throttle body per cylinder. This gives it quicker response. Other key features include a stiffened aluminum chassis and a 7-speed SMG III automatic transmission.

The BMW M5, along with the new M6, were designed to use the new SMG III electrohydraulic automatic transmission. The transmission, while responsive at the track, has been criticized for its general lack of smoothness in everyday driving. In October 2006 BMW announced that a 6-speed manual transmission would be available in North America based on suggestions from the motoring press. Unfortunately, this gearbox reduces acceleration performance slightly. The 6-speed manual M5 was marginally slower, since the stability control cannot be disengaged as per the SMG version. The SMG III includes the "Launch Control" feature, which allows maximum performance standing starts automatically. However, the US spec vehicles have a reduced rpm to prevent vehicle damage and abuse.

E60 BMW M5 V-10 engine
E60 BMW M5 used as a ring taxi in Nürburgring Nordschleife

The M5 features several F1 inspired engine and transmission controls including launch control, dynamic stability control, and the option of changing to either automated or manual as well as the speed at which shifts are completed (there are 11 shift programs in total forming what BMW calls Drivelogic). Manual shifting can be done with either a console shifter or the steering column-mounted shift paddles (another F1-inspired feature), 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 steering wheel (labeled "M") which offers access to three modes: P400 (limiting the engine to 400 hp (300 kW) for daily driving use), P500 (unleashes the full 507 hp) 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 i-Drive and then activated from P400 using the "M" button.

Other than a firm ride, the E60's criticisms are excessive fuel consumption, and the general design criticisms of the Chris Bangle E60 body. Recent developments by Audi, specifically the production of the more powerful Audi RS6(572 bhp), rivalling the M5, has inspired BMW to go back to the drawing board. The 2011 M5's power output is expected to hit the 600+ bhp mark,up from its current 500 bhp (370 kW).

Frontal fog lights are unavailable for the E60 M5: The amount of air required by the engine forces the space normally occupied by the front fog lights under the bumper to be reallocated for air intakes.


  • 0-100 km/h (62 mph): 4.5s[2]
    • (0-100 mph: 10.1s, Road & Track [2/06])
    • (0-60 mph: 4.1s, Road & Track [2/06])
  • Top speed: 250 km/h (155 mph actual or 163mph indicated) with electronic speed limiter; 330 km/h (205 mph indicated, 195mph actual) with limiter removed
  • Power: 507 PS (500.1 hp/372.9 kW) at 7750 rpm
  • Torque: 520 N·m (384 ft·lbf) at 6100 rpm


The new 2005-2007 M5 features some of BMW latest innovations including a new head-up display, a new iteration of BMW's EDC (Electronic Damper Control), which constantly adjusts the suspension to environmental and vehicular conditions, and can also be set in three modes, comfort, normal and sport. Furthermore, the new M5 also features the VANOS variable valve timing system, and EMC (engine management system) which sports the most powerful computer processor currently approved for automobiles, the MS S65 processor. This processor also controls and measures many other now 'standard' safety and performance systems such as the DSC (dynamic stability control)), which incorporates traction control as well as various other mechanical and electronic systems.The M5 also includes more then 18 different transmission settings.


  • BMW Motorsport has not yet produced any special variants of the E60. However, German tuner Hartge has created a modified version without the electronic speed limiter; it also features upgraded wheels and tires to cope with high speed.
  • Hamann "Edition Race" — Tuner Hamann produces several E60 variants, but the most exotic is "Edition Race," with a wide body-kit, larger wheels and tires, a tuned engine (including removal of the speed limiter), and customized interior details. It has a top speed of about 192 mph (309 km/h) (down from the stock +195 mph (314 km/h) due to the extra drag/weight from the wider, heavier tires and bodykit).
  • Italian tuner Racing Dynamics (RD Sport in US) offers an engine tuning program for the E60 M5 called the RS56 with increased capacity from 5.0 to 5.6 L and 648 hp (483 kW).[3]
  • Dinan Cars produces an uprated NA version of the v10 with a displacement of 5.7 litres for up to 628 bhp (468 kW; 637 PS).
  • G-Power — This German based tuning company has recently released a powerful twin supercharged variant of the E60 M5 called the "G-Power Hurricane M5". As of this article, this company claims to have produced the worlds fastest M5. This claim can rightfully be made considering that this variant of the M5 boasts over 750 hp (560 kW; 760 PS) and has set an M5 world record with a top speed of 367.4 km/h (228 mph).

E61 M5 Touring (2007-present)

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 sedan sibling and serves as a rival to the Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG Estate. BMW of North America has stated that there are no plans to export the M5 Touring to North America.

See also


Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl drives a grey 2002 M5

  1. Kittler, Eberhard (2001). Deutsche Autos seit 1990, vol.5. Stuttgart: Motorbuch. p. 187. ISBN 3-613-02128-5. 
  2. "Equipment and Technical data" (PDF). BMW AG. Retrieved on 2008-05-17. 
  3. "M5 [E60 Motor Performance"]. Retrieved on 2007-06-22. 

External links