Production Innovation: The E39 M5, unlike its predecessors, was produced on the same assembly line as the standard E39 5-series, showcasing BMW's commitment to precision engineering and efficiency.
Geneva Debut: Introduced at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show in 1998, the E39 M5 didn't hit the roads until late October that year, marking the beginning of its legacy.
Limited Production: With approximately 20,482 units manufactured between 1998 and 2003, the E39 M5 remained a rare and sought-after gem among automotive enthusiasts.
Powerhouse Engine: At its heart, the E39 M5 housed the remarkable S62 engine, a finely tuned V8 with a 4.9-liter displacement, delivering an impressive 400 bhp (294 kW).
Precision Engineering: The S62 engine boasted a 7000 RPM redline, Double-VANOS technology, and individual throttle butterflies for swift and precise response.
Manual Mastery: All E39 M5s featured a Getrag Type D six-speed manual transmission, fine-tuned to accommodate the potent S62 engine.
Enhanced Transmission: To handle the increased power, the transmission came with upgrades like a reinforced clutch, a shorter 3.15:1 ratio rear differential, and a limited-slip differential with 25% maximum locking.
Optimized Suspension: The E39 M5's suspension received significant improvements, including reduced spring height, specialized shock valving, thicker anti-roll bars, polyurethane auxiliary springs, and steel ball joints.
Precise Steering: The recirculating-ball steering system offered a reduced steering ratio of 14.7 for precise control, with servotronic vehicle-speed-sensitive power assist for added convenience.
Safety and Braking: Safety was a priority with four-wheel vented disc brakes, featuring "floating" two-piece rotors in European models, ensuring consistent performance and ride quality.
The E39 M5, a departure from its predecessors, marked a shift in production. Unlike its handcrafted forebears, the E39 M5 rolled off the assembly line alongside the standard E39 5-series at the Dingolfing factory in Germany. It's a testament to BMW's commitment to precision and performance.
Unveiled at the 1998 Geneva Motor Show, production kicked off in late October of that year. Over the span of 1998 to 2003, approximately 20,482 units of the E39 M5 graced the roads. BMW M aficionados had the privilege of choosing between the European LHD and RHD versions and the North American specification version.
Powering this beast was the awe-inspiring S62 engine, a highly-tuned V8 based on the M62, boasting a displacement of 4.9 liters and a staggering 400 bhp (294 kW). With a redline soaring at 7000 RPM, Double-VANOS technology for precise valve control, and individual throttle butterflies for each cylinder, the engine delivered lightning-quick responsiveness.
Transmitting this power to the wheels was a Getrag Type D six-speed manual transmission. Geared at 4.23(1), 2.54(2), 1.62(3), 1.23(4), 1.00(5), and 0.83(6), it was a work of art. While similar to the E39 540i's transmission, it underwent enhancements to handle the S62 engine's might. These included a reinforced clutch, a rear differential with a shorter 3.15:1 ratio, and a limited-slip differential with 25% maximum locking.
To ensure that the E39 M5 delivered on the road, BMW M made critical suspension upgrades. With a 0.9-inch (23 mm) reduction in spring height, it hugged the asphalt with determination. Unique shock valving, beefier front and rear anti-roll bars, polyurethane auxiliary springs, and robust steel ball joints completed the package.
Steering the E39 M5 was a joy, thanks to the recirculating-ball steering system. The steering ratio reduced to 14.7 from 17.9, offering precise control. An intelligent servotronic vehicle-speed-sensitive power assist system added to the experience, allowing drivers to toggle between two levels of resistance via a console-mounted Sport button.
Safety and stopping power were paramount. The E39 M5 featured four-wheel vented disc brakes, boasting a 13.6" diameter in the front and a 12.9" diameter in the rear. European models showcased "floating" two-piece rotors, reducing the risk of warping and enhancing ride quality on uneven surfaces. Anti-lock brakes came standard, providing confidence on the road.
This meticulously engineered masterpiece, the 2001 BMW M5, was a true gem in the world of high-performance sedans.