The video below takes us through the process of building one of the best M cars BMW has ever done: The E39 M5. The 30 minutes long footage focuses on the exterior and interior design of the E39 M5, on its engine and suspension engineering, and finishes with a few minutes of car euphoria at the legendary Nurburgring race track.
The E39 M5 debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in 1998 and has won over the hearts of enthusiasts ever since. Many regard it to be the finest “saloon” chassis of all time. It’s almost exclusively regarded as the greatest M5 of all time. It’s not hard to see why either. The E39 M5 looked fantastic, was comfortable, handling superbly and was extremely fast. Oh, and it also came with something called a 6-Speed manual.
The standard E39 5 Series was already a great car. But for M5 duty, BMW replaced many of the chassis components with aluminum ones, which made the chassis both lighter and stiffer. It also had thicker anti-roll bars, steel ball joints (as opposed to rubber and steel) and different shock valving, all to create a tighter overall feel than the standard 5er.
BMW took used the basics of its 4.4 liter engine and bumped it up to 5.0 liters (BMW says 5, but it’s really 4.9), giving it 400 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque (500 Nm), and a 7,000 rpm redline. Mated to a 6-Speed manual and a limited-slip differential, the M5 was a monster. A monster that can hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. A car that could hit 60 in under 5.0 seconds in 1998 was bordering on supercar performance.
Because despite weighing 4,026 lbs lbs, the E39 M5 could properly handle. It could run rings around the comparable E55 AMG Mercedes or Audi RS6. The M5 could hang with the best sports cars of the day on a track.