Let’s face it the M5 is a special car and it always has been. BMW, and in particular the M-division have produced some of the most desirable, yet attainable, high performance cars of recent times. The current M5 is no different – but is well outside of my budget. For me the E60 is the special one as it has a V10 engine…given the way emissions laws are heading I wonder if we will ever see a V10 on a family-style road car again (I hope I’m proved wrong!).
For my £12k though I’m looking at an early 2000’s E39 model with average mileage and low owners. Full BMW service history would be good (and required!).
5-litre V8 with 394 ponies under the bonnet. Those are top trumps style stats! 0-60mph in a little over 5 seconds, so all in all similar performance to the 911 I wrote about previously.
Four seats, plenty of electronic gadgets, full leather, BMW build quality…it all sounds pretty damned comfortable to me!
Not quite a Q car, but not far off it. De-badged most would struggle to tell it apart from a 525i…could be very fun off the line, watch out boy-racers.
If it doesn’t turn heads initially the sound from the V8 will no doubt cause a couple of neck spasms.
Masses of practicality, literally. It’s a full five seats with plenty of legroom. The boot is capable of not one, but four sets of golf clubs (perhaps not with the trolley attached) and reliability is good, but not perfect. Buy from a specialist with a full service history and I think I’d be doing ok. Let’s face it on a car of this age, and performance, you’ve got to expect a few things to perish through time alone.
But then there’s the MPG, it was never going to be great with a 5 litre V8, but 20mpg is going to be about as good as it gets. If this is to be a daily driver that could quickly mount up, and feels like one massive black mark in an otherwise highly scoring car.
Servicing shouldn’t be a problem as any BMW main dealer or specialist should be able to look after it. I’m lucky as we have Munich Legends not far from home, and I’ve often lusted after the cars on their forecourt. If I buy another BMW they will get my business.
Depreciation is an interesting one. You’ve got to think that at £12k this would be near the bottom of the depreciation curve, and if not fully depreciated it will be pretty close. Earlier M5’s have firmed up in value, and it feels like good E60’s have been in the £20k range for a long while now. Perhaps not an appreciating asset just yet, but I think depreciation can be ignored for man-maths purposes here.
Conclusion – another 8/10
There’s a special heritage here, and relative exclusivity. I’ve been lucky enough to drive a few M5 variants, and whilst they have their querks, you know you are in a luxury performance car. The E39 was the car of choice for Alex Roy in his world record breaking cross-country race (read ‘The Driver’ by Alex Roy if you haven’t already), and whilst I’m not condoning such driving on open public roads, it does say a lot about what this car is capable of.
That said mpg is going to be an issue, and reliability is a grey area in a car of this age. Those two issues resulted in the score coming down to 8 out of 10.