The BMW E39 M5 is one of the most appreciated cars BMW has ever made and for good reason. It was the first M car fitted with a V8 engine and one of the fastest cars of its time. However, nearly 20 years have passed since it was unveiled and many believe the E39 M5 is still very much so a performance car.

To test this hypothesis, the folks at Vehicle Virgins pitted the legendary M5 against a modern, luxurious V8-powered limousine – a 2016 Mercedes-Benz S550. With more than a decade between them, the two were thrown into a drag race to see which one is faster.


Under the hood of the M5 hides a 4.9-liter atmospheric V8 that used to make 400 HP when it was new. As time went by, we don’t know exactly how many of those horses are still reaching the rear axle. Furthermore, to make things look even worse for the BMW, the car is a manual, which means shifts won’t be as fast as in the Mercedes and launching the car the right way will be tricky.

On the other hand, the 550 has a 4.7-liter Biturbo V8 with 449 HP at its disposal. It is indeed a bit heavier but it makes up for it with its 7-speed automatic gearbox and superior torque – 700 Nm (516 lb-ft) going against the 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of the S62 engine inside the BMW.

It’s pretty obvious why the Mercedes won but then again, which one would you take home?