BMW M5 E39: Review

E39

It’s been a few years since BMW feasted its customers with Series 5 name M powerful and sporty, but with the M5 E39 launched in 1998, the brand propeller reached a level never reached by any other brand. A large sedan, sporty, healthy, and discreet, certainly, but with the capabilities of a supercar. With this new generation M5, BMW crushed the competition so much that it was annoying (for others).

TECHNICAL CHARACTERISTICS
Engines
EnginesV8 32 valves
Displacement4941 cm3
FoodSiemens MSS52 Motronic + double Vanos
Power400 hp at 6600 rpm
Couple500 Nm at 3800 rpm
Transmission
Driving wheelsPropulsion
GearboxManual 6 speeds
Wheels / Tires
PneumaticAV 245/40 ZR18, AR 275/35 ZR18
Dimensions4784 mm
Width1800 mm
Height1432 mm
Unloaded weight1720 kg
Performances
Max speed250 km / h (electronically limited)
Production20,482 ex (1998-2003)
Rate
Average Rating 201815 000 Euros

Since the E28, the Series 5 was offered a vitamin version for a sporting clientele but wanting space (rear seats, chests) as a certain discretion (relative, certainly). Aa car called M5, because it was developed and then assembled at Motorsport, BMW’s “sports” division (see also. BMW M5 E28 ). In the 80s, these were emblematic vehicles but rarely intended to make volume (2191 copies for the M5 E28). The 90s and the M5 E34 were going to change the deal!

Indeed, there were several phenomena. Thanks to the E30 and its derivative M3, BMW had conquered, in the 80s. A new clientele which, the following decade, wanted to move to the higher model (an M5 so). At the same time, the “sports saloon” was becoming more and more a matter of specialists (BMW, Mercedes, Audi), this market being abandoned by generalists in front of the race for power and technology for such small volumes. Thus, in 1989, BMW presented his M5 E34, a wise mix of power and sobriety, probably one of the most beautiful M5.

With the E34, BMW passed a course. And, with more than 12,000 vehicles sold, without even being able to sell on the North American market. We multiplied by 6 the volume compared to the E28. And, with a power exceeding 300 hp (315 first and then 340), the M5 E34 set the bar quite high.

In 1998, when BMW launched the heiress, the M5 E39, the competition had just reached the level. The Audi S6 plus (C4) offered 326 horses (see also. Audi S6 Plus) while the Mercedes E50 AMG (W210) produced only in 1997 rivaled just 340 horses. These two competitors could boast a V8 so far when the M5 E34 was content with a 6 in line. But, the E39 put things in place!

Farewell the old L6 S38, up to the V8 S62, a modern engine with 32 valves, 4.9 liters and developing 400 horses! Nothing else. At Audi, the new S6 C5 released a year later offered only 340 horses, while at Mercedes, the new E55 AMG released the same year that the M5 E39 did not develop than 354 horses. You tell me, without control the power is nothing, but here again, the M5 pulled out of the game. Becoming M, the E39 and its 1720 kg proposed an unusual agility (attention, it was not about a Lotus Elise all the same).

In fact, with its specific settings, its powerful and furious engine, its line of clever discretion, and its extraordinary performance for the time, the M5 E39 allowed its owner to go and tease the GT of the time with two children in the back, luggage in the trunk and madam next door. A sufficiently attractive cocktail to explode again the sales figures. 20 482 copies produced between 1998 and 2003 (on a close period, the E55 AMG was sold only 12 000 copies). A figure to relatives anyway compared to the M5 E34. The E39, finally available in North America, was distributed to 9992 copies.

For the first time, the M5 did not pass through the premises of Motorsport. Studied upstream by the BMW subsidiary to be able to attach the M if the seller, assembling it directly on the chains of E39, Din golfing. Note that this M5 will never receive bodywork break despite the realization of a prototype. Finally, like the rest of the E39 range, it had a slight “restyling” for the 2001 vintage.

The arrival of the E60 pushed the E39 M5 towards the exit (read also. Series 5 E60) but it will be necessary to wait two years for a new M5 to appear, in 2005. With its V10 of 507 horses, the M5 E60 once again pushed the limits. But somehow better. With the evolution of the M5 (until today and the F90 and its 600 horses). And, the entry into the collection of the E34 thanks to the fashion “young timer”. The M5 E39 has remained between two glasses of water. To make a small pleasure at reasonable prices (two times cheaper than an E34 M5), at around 13 000 Euros today (2018). But beware; the trend is largely on the rise. Two years ago, we still found less than 10 000 Euros.

What is certain is that between the classic, E34 and the exuberant E60 signed Chris Bangle, the E39 has many assets. Its main quality is its performance/discretion ratio. The E28 M5, in its Eighties trend, tends towards tuning, the E34 is less efficient, and the E60 very pleasant. When rivals of the same era, they struggled to keep up the pace of sportsmanship. In this, the E39 M5 is a smart choice, rigorous and economical!

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