Without question, one of the most popular BMWs of all time is the E39 M5. Its combination of free-breathing V8, beautifully balanced chassis, old-school steering, and classic good looks make it a near-perfect Bimmer. However, there are several brilliant BMWs throughout the brand’s history. Could the E39 M5 possibly be better than them all? Mat Watson asks that very question in his new video.
The E39 M5 in this video isn’t exactly stock, though. Under the hood, attached to the 4.9 liter naturally-aspirated V8, lies an Evolve supercharger and all-new intake plenum, the latter of which is made from billeted aluminum. That bumps power to 630 horsepower, up from the original 400 horsepower over the standard M5. All of that power is sent through a six-speed manual to just the rear wheels. It also gets an Evolve exhaust, which is significantly louder than the standard car’s and helps it sound good, even while going slow.
It’s also lowered, sitting on 19″ BBS LM wheels, which look fantastic on the Imola Red E39 M5. The lowered suspension also does a great job of keeping the E39’s supple ride quality, while improving both its handling and its looks.
Despite being nearly 20 years old, the E39 M5 still drives brilliantly, too. Its recirculating ball steering isn’t as communicative as rack and pinion setups from BMWs of the same era but it’s still precise and the front end is still sharp. Compared to the modern M5 (excluding the M5 CS), the E39 M5 is a breath of fresh air, as it prioritizes feel and excitement over outright performance and technology. Though, its 630 horsepower does make it quite a bit faster than the standard car.
Is the E39 M5 the best BMW of all time? That’s a tough question but probably not. It’s also especially hard to answer that question with a modified version. Still, the E39 M5 is absolutely among the best and possibly the best M5 of all.