The BMW M5 is coming up on its sixth generation, with the upcoming F90 M5 on the horizon. So that makes the E60-generation M5 quite old now and a bit behind on the times, in terms of technology. Despite that, E60 M5s still make awesome builds because under the hood lies one of the greatest BMW engines ever made — the S85 5.0 liter naturally-aspirated V10.
In this latest video from The Smoking Tire, we get to check out a pretty cool E60 BMW M5 build and remember just how great that engine was and still is. The only real issue with this kind of M5 is the SMG (Sequential Manual Gearbox), which is slow to shift in manual mode and a bit clumsy when left in automatic. Back in its day, it was cutting edge and very impressive. Though, it seriously lags behind modern-day dual-clutch units. So, for E60 M5 duty, a manual is preferred. However, despite that, this is still a very cool car.
This owner’s E60 M5 has been modified with a new exhaust, new headers and, most importantly, electronically-controlled air-ride. That air-ride replaces the traditional coil springs with air suspension that can be adjusted with three different height settings, via a controller mounted on the center console. Level one is show car stuff and is its lowest setting, where the car is essentially sitting on the ground. Level two is for driving and is low but not ridiculously low. Level three is the highest setting and is for going over speed-bumps and up steep driveways. Air-ride is a great way to have a lowered car without the worry or inconvenience of scraping. Though, it is expensive and complicated, plus it lacks the handling precision of coilovers. On the outside, this owner has actually fitted the front bumper of an F80 M3, by combining it with a stock E60 bumper somehow and it actually works. It looks kinda weird but not bad. Just a bit strange.
But the real star of this build is that engine. With the upgraded exhaust and headers, that S85 V10 sounds incredible and is crazy loud from the outside but just right on the inside. It also doesn’t rid the V10 of that top-end scream that its known for, thankfully. It’s also crazy fast and when it gets to about 7,000 rpm, it really starts to move quick. These M5s can easily hit 200 mph if they have enough runway to work with. The only issue is being hamstrung by that gearbox.
Apparently, there are owners, tuners and builders who are working on a fully-functioning DCT conversion, using the same dual-clutch transmission from the E90 M3. That would greatly improve the shift speed and quality, making the E60 M5 feel modern and even more exciting. Though, it has to be incredibly expensive to do such a swap. So if you’re in the market for an E60 M5 to build, this isn’t a bad car to make your benchmark. Just get a manual one instead.