More than twenty years ago, the E39 M5 was the fastest sedan in the world. Its 400 horsepower 4.9 liter naturally-aspirated V8 made it king of the super sedan world. It was also mated to a six-speed manual transmission and it powered only its rear wheels. At the time, it was about as high-tech as a super sedan could be but, by today’s standards, it’s an antique. Which is why Jason Cammisa uses it to prove just how fast new electric super sedans are, twenty years later.
In this new video from Hagerty, Cammisa lines up the all-new Lucid Air Dream Edition, the Tesla Model S Plaid, and an E39 M5 for a drag race. Obviously, both the electric sedans are far quicker than the E39 M5 but it’s how much quicker they are that’s shocking. Especially when you consider the advantage the M5 was given.
While the Lucid Air and Tesla Plaid sat at the start line, the E39 M5 was heading toward it at 70 mph. So the E39 M5 got a highway speed flying start, while the two electric sedans had to start from a standstill. Even with that insane advantage, the Tesla still managed to win the drag race by a hair. The Lucid wasn’t far behind, either, and would eventually pass the BMW just a couple tenths of a second after the quarter-mile.
As Cammisa notes in this video, the Lucid is so efficient that it uses less energy than a Nissan Leaf and only one eight the energy of the E39 M5, while making three times more power. The future of performance is clearly electric.
Of course, EV haters will claim that the E39 M5 is more engaging, more charismatic, and more enjoyable to drive and, in many circumstances, they’re probably right. But there’s no denying the engineering brilliance of these new electric sedans, which prove just how far we’ve come.