If you were to ask any BMW fan which M5 is the best M5, the E39 iteration would most likely be he unanimous answer. With its 4.9 liter V8, six-speed manual and absolutely brilliant chassis, the E39 BMW M5 is one of the greatest four-door cars of all time. It’s near perfect in its balance between being a hardcore performance as well as a luxurious sedan. Matt Farah gets to drive one in this latest episode of The Smoking Tire.

This M5 owner has delightfully not done much to his car, replacing only the wheels and removing the muffler. It also seems to have some headlight changes, but the owner doesn’t mention that. A shorter shift kit was installed from an E60 M5, replacing the very tall shifter of the E39 M5.


Overall, it looks very good. The wheels look a bit cheap and not that fitting with the rest of the car, but aside from that this is a very clean M5. It’s in very good shape, mostly unmolested and still looks like an M5. I’m not even sure if it’s been lowered, as the ride height looks stock and they seem to be bouncing around a bit in the car, indicating the softer stock suspension.

E39 BMW M5 Touring Conversion

According to Farah, this is the first time he drove an E39 M5 since they were new. So he’s actually quite surprised at how great it actually drives. This is actually a common occurrence when driving older cars. When they were new, people didn’t have as much context, but now that the automotive world is so different, we look at older cars in a different light.

It’s remarkable how fast the E39 M5 is, especially for being almost 20 years old. It gets up to very illegal speeds very quickly and it sounds amazing doing it. He does have his muffler removed, but it doesn’t sound obnoxious, just fantastic. This is one of the best sounding engines BMW has ever made.

A funny thing happens, though, later in the video when the E39 has a bit of an electronic hiccup. While driving, Farah notices a “Check Engine” light comes on and the car goes into a sort of limp mode where it won’t put out much power. It’s sudden and random and they have no idea why it happened. However, a quick pullover and the good ole turn-off-turn-back-on move fixes the issue and the CEL goes away. We don’t know why it happened, as it was fine after the restart, but it is a early 2000’s BMW with 127,000 miles on it, so strange things will happen eery now and again.

It’s a good video, though, for anyone who’s a fan of the E39 M5. It was such a fantastic car, but many forget what it’s actually like to drive. This video helps you remember.

Check it out.