At the recent international media launch of the new BMW F90 M5 (our drive review here), BMW has brought out the entire generation of M5 models, from the iconic E28 to the E60 and now F90. All those six M5s can’t be more different from each other, from their powerplant to design and features, but there is always the one thing most enthusiasts care about – the engine sound.
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In order to see how the exhaust sound has changed over time, the video below gives us a closer look at each car. Before we jump into the video, here is a quick recap on the M5 family.
The E28 M5 uses a version of the M88 engine found in the, now idolized, M1. With 286 hp and the ability to hit 60 mph in around 6 seconds, this was ludicrous at the time, yet absolutely fantastic.
The E34 was a bit more powerful, using a 311 hp S38 engine, than the E28 and it had some more modern gizmos, but it just didn’t handle quite as purely and, despite the extra power, didn’t feel much faster.
What many people believe to be, not only the best M5, but possibly the best all-around saloon-car ever made, is the E39 M5. It truly was magnificent. With subtle yet aggressive good looks, a wonderful, naturally aspirated, 4.9 liter V8 with double VANOS variable valve timing, and a 6-speed manual. The E39 could sprint to 60 mph in under 5 seconds and is still one of the better handling sedans of all time.
The E60 M5, designed by Chris Bangle, is probably the most publicly scrutinized of all M5s. Now people miss it because it’s the last M5 not to be turbocharged. We call this one the monster M5, because it has a 5.0 liter, F1 derived, V10 that redlines at a mind-altering 8,250 RPM and makes a devilish sound while doing it. It could be had with either a 6-speed manual or a 7-speed, SMG gearbox.
The F10, thanks to its turbo V8, makes 556 hp and can hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. This is aided by the fact that instead of a clunky SMG, BMW switched to a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which proved to be a massive improvement. The F10 M5 may not be as pure as the others, but it can still excite, just in different ways.
BMW’s fist all-wheel drive M5 was unveiled this year and so far, the reviews have been great. We sampled the F90 M5 last month in Portugal and delivered on its promises.
Now, let’s take a look at the engine and exhaust sound of those M5s.