Our BMW M5 experience in Portugal kicked off earlier this month with the world premiere of the all-new F90 M5, but along with driving the new power sedan, we also spent some time with the previous generation M5s – E28, E34, E39, E60 and F10.

The M5, with its F1-inspired 500 hp V10 engine, is undoubtedly one of the best BMWs ever made, and by some accounts, the best M5 ever. Pounding out a whopping 507 hp and 383 ft/lbs of torque, the E60 M5 rocketed to 60 in 4.5 seconds. Top speed is limited at 155 mph(250km/h).

Power is transmitted to the rear wheels through an equally innovative 7-speed sequential manual gear box that uses Formula 1 technology to shift much faster than would be possible with a manual gear box. For the true enthusiasts, a manual transmission is being offered at no-cost.

Another innovative feature in the E60 M5 was the BMW M Drive system that allows the M5 owner electronically to select the level of damping desired (comfort, normal, and sport), with electronic steering assistance tied to damper setting. In addition, the system allows selection of three levels of engine power and throttle response, several shift-program settings on the SMG gearbox, and variable dynamic stability control settings.

At the same time, the E60 platform was one of the most controversial BMW designs in the last twenty years, if not ever. Penned by Davide Arcangeli, under the guidance of BMW former chief of design, Chris Bangle, the E60 5 Series introduced the “flame surfacing” design technique. Gone were the soft curves and angles of the E39 Series, replaced by sharp edges, angular lights and a muscular look.

The aesthetic imbalance replaced conservative design lines and rationality was replaced by wilful expressiveness. The biggest factor was its distinctiveness in the BMW family at the time, something that many customers are missing today.

To this date, the E60 M5 looks fresh on the road and still an eye catcher wherever it goes.