Celebrating 30 years of the BMW M5

May 1, 2014 | By | In Buying Guides
Celebrating 30 years of the BMW M5

This year, an important car celebrates a historic milestone. The BMW M5 has turned 30.

When it was introduced way back in 1984, no one could have guessed quite how much the M5 would have changed the performance car landscape. Here was a car that externally at least was no different to the rest of the 5-series models in the executive car park, but which underneath packed supercar-worrying hardware.

Indeed, the original M28 model boasted a 286bhp 3.5-litre six-cylinder engine from BMW’s purpose-built M1 supercar. Combined with hi-tech (at the time) independent suspension all-round and powerful brakes, the boxy-looking M5 soon became an icon of discreet performance and exceptional dynamics.

Since its introduction, the M5’s lineage has increased to include a further four models, each having its own unique flavour and ever increasing levels of luxury, but crucially keeping faithful to the original’s blend of blistering performance and unrivalled driver involvement.

Of course, all of the major players in the premium car market now offer a large executive saloon car capable of raising pulses and endangering driving licences, with the likes of the Mercedes E63 AMG and Audi RS6 all being designed with the specific task of stealing sales from BMW’s all-conquering super-saloon.

Below we’ve rounded up the best BMW M5 videos the web has to offer, showcasing exactly why this car is so special. If you fancy your own, a slice of automotive history could be yours for as little as £10,000.

E28 (1984-1988) – Chris Harris On Cars

Veteran motoring journalist Chris Harris extolls the virtues of the first M5 model, internally coded E28, in his video for the /DRIVE channel. The starring car is Harris’s own, so forgive the somewhat gushing introduction and revel in his ability to drive the car as its maker intended. With 286bhp, the machine is powerful even for today’s standards; heaven knows what it must have been like 30 years ago.


E34 (1989-1995) – RotexBMWdrift

One of the key aspects of the M5’s appeal amongst keen drivers is its controllability up to and beyond its limits of grip. This video shot by a nutty (though admittedly brave) German on the fearsome Nurburgring Nordschleife racetrack shows just how balletic it can be – particularly for a four-seater saloon – when driven by someone with the requisite skill. Just don’t try this at home.


E39 (1998-2003) – ‘Star’

One of the standout clips from BMW’s action packed series of ‘The Hire’ short films featuring Clive Owen. While it may pack all the stylised action of a Hollywood blockbuster, it’s a perfect demonstration of the M5’s dual role as a consummate luxury barge and razor-sharp thrill machine. Bigger and heavier this V8 model may be, but as the video shows, it hasn’t forgotten how to dance, though we doubt Madonna was too impressed…


E60 (2005-2010) – Fifth Gear

For the fourth generation M5, BMW really pushed the boat out, equipping it with a high-tech (and ear-melting) naturally aspirated V10 engine and a seven-speed automated manual gearbox. It was the full F1 experience wrapped up in a leather-lined limousine. Forget that it drank fuel and wasn’t particularly smooth at low speeds, we’re mourning the fact that due to increasing scrutiny of CO2 emissions and the unstoppable upward march of fuel prices, we’re not likely to see anything like it again.


F10 (2011 – ) – Evo Diaries

Embracing the industry trend for engine downsizing in the quest for reduced emissions and fuel consumption, BMW’s decision to equip the latest M5 with a turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 worried fans, who felt the model’s razor sharp responses and charismatic driving character would be lost. It turns out they were wrong, with the M5 still able to stand tall amongst its peers. Here BMW aficionado Chris Harris gives the F10 model M5 a shakedown test and compares it to its V10 predecessor.

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