2001 BMW M5Enlarge Photo
The last M5 was a performance tour-de-force, coming with a V-10 producing 500 horsepower, an available seven-speed single clutch automatic gearbox, and plenty of road holding to create one of the fastest production sedans in the world. Despite the amazing abilities, most people feel that it was a bit too complicated and heavy for its own good. The best M5 according to enthusiasts is the E39 generation, available from 2000 to 2003.
The biggest surprise about the M5 was its 5.0L V-8. BMW engineers started out with the regular M62-series engines found in the 540i and added revised cylinder heads and valvetrain, more displacement, a special intake, and other tweaks. The result was an amazing 394 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque.
The only transmission available was a six-speed Gertag gearbox.
The suspension of the M5 was consisted mostly of normal 5-series pieces, just proving how good the E39 chassis really was. The hot car received lower and stiffer springs, re-valved shocks, steel ball joints and thicker anti-roll bars front and back. Brakes were vented disc on all four corners equipeed with ABS.
The M5 could blast to 60 mph in as little as 4.5 seconds, and with the speed limiter off could reach a top speed of 180 mph.
Prices for an adult-owned M5 with under 100,000 miles can run under $20,000. Finding one that hasn't been abused won't be a difficult task, and besides drinking some oil, will provide a fast, reliable, daily driver.