M5 – a numbers game

P1020064_4a8492d4a8c60-lightboxLet’s kick off with why did I buy this car; ok I’ve bought into the BMW dream and love rear wheel drive after owning lots of great front wheel drive cars. The car before this was an M3 Evo with 106k miles on the clock and 10 track days under its belt with me, bought for £6k and just one of the best all round fast rear drive cheap track cars!! Loved it. Just after having sold the M3 a small child declared itself to be mine and a friend offered to supply us with a villa in Tuscany FOC for the World’s greatest roadtrip and the greatest cars were going to attend, so I needed the following –

1 – Boot space for nappies and pants

2 – Pace to keep up with a roofless red Fiat

3 – Something that was cheap

4 – Most importantly something that would make it

Now I hear the Audi boys say, why didnt you get the RS6, but it’s about the feeling and old Audis dont have it. Later ones do but not in my price bracket….

Anyway so back of the start of last year I started looking first at E46 M3s but then the M5 is in the same bracket and the E39 is far better built than the E46. Ok at this point I’ve never driven one, so a test drive comes after looking at a few and yep it’s pretty good and boy is it quick, turns in well for a big car, looks nice in Silverstone blue, current owner seems to know a hell of a lot about what needs to be kept on top of; great.

Deal done, so to the first number – 400: yep I know it’s got 400 bhp but this 400 stands for the cost of the insurance. Bargain I feel. 400: ok the second 400 stands for the 400 bhp; I mean you still have to admire that back in 1998 there’s a 4 door saloon with 400 bhp, it’s alot, a Porsche 996 Turbo only has 420!! 30: now I’ve just done this on the motorway with all those road works and a steady 50 – 70 mph, yep 30mpg! 21: well that’s what it does day to day, and if there’s a short run to the nursery its 11.3! 369: pound.feet of torque, now that’s important, as when I drove the latest M3 V8 it had no low down grunt which I would miss after owning the E39….800 is basically the cost of fuel doing 3000 miles on a roadtrip in an M5.

900: again money linked, this is the price to have Powerflex rubbers fitted all round on the suspension; worth every penny.

250: that’s my average service bill. I try and do the oil services myself as the missus now has an E46 M3 so we need to buy a lot of oil in our house for both oil changes (buying on the internet for cheapest price is £150 for all cars and 16 litres of BMW M sport oil)

Now with 93k miles on the clock, it’s still lovely to drive, that wall of torque is barely matched by our M3…which means the M3 only gets a beating when the sun’s out. It’s just hard to drive fast, the M5 is a doddle to drive fast.

Problems, Ok it’s 8 years old what’s wrong…erm nothing really liked although I’ve had done the following, usually down to me being picky:

– Rear disc and pads

– Front pads

– 2 front tyres

– replaced gearbox oil

– Powerflexbushes

– sway arm bracket upgrades

– 2 services

– replaced aux belts – due to cracks

– small rust bubble on bottom of bootlid

– rear bulb

– rear suspension arm

Final note – only the other week this M5 confirmed to me why I loved it following an Aston Vantage on the motorway and keeping up with all it can give. If you can live with 21 mpg for godsake get one. I think in the coming eco years the E39 M5 will be looked back on as an everyday supercar with an old school V8 that actually doesnt mind doing the school run.

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tom orton