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BMW M5 Gold Portfolio 1980-2003
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BMW M5 Gold Portfolio 1980-2003

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BMW M5 Gold Portfolio 1980-2003

Reviews & Buyer's Guide

When BMW first introduced the M5 it was very much a softly, softly approach from the otherwise brash Munich company. BMW was committing major resources to the project through its fledgling Motorsport subsidiary and was to some extent unsure how the motoring public would react to a quality high performance sedan. They need not have worriedÑonce the secret was out through the media, who went berserk over it, buyers lined up for their very own M5. It was the beginning of a huge success story. Since then each new BMW M5 has been a much anticipated event that often starts months before the actual release via sneak photos of prototypes out on test, usually at the famous NŸrburgringÕs Nordschleif circuit where every new BMW is rigorously and mercilessly thrashed to ensure perfection. The first M535i, predecessor to the M5, featured the companyÕs big M30 3.5 litre six-cylinder engine from the 7 Series in the smaller and lighter 5 Series body, M badges front and rear plus the obligatory front and rear spoilers. It really was the proverbial wolf in sheepÕs clothing; 0-60mph took 6.9 seconds and maximum speed was 140+mph, very quick for the time and far quicker than purported rivals like the Audi 200 Turbo or Volvo 760 Turbo.

It took until the mid-80s for BMW to install the fabulous 3.5 litre DOHC in line six from the M1 into a family sedan and create the first M5. What an engine, what a car! Only discreet M badges and special alloy wheels gave any indication as to what lurked under the skin of what appeared to the uninitiated to be a BMW 5 Series sedan. It was, in reality, a true supercar with its blistering acceleration (0-60mph in 6.3 seconds, 0-70mph in 8.3 seconds) and an electronically limited top speed of 155mph. Rumours suggested if unrestricted it would run to 170-175mph! This first M5 really established the genre in the eyes of those who valued and could afford such machines, from then on the BMW M5 set the standards for everyone else to follow. With the arrival of the E34 series the bar was lifted even further with more power, up from 286bhp to 315bhp (at 6900rpm!!) still from 3.5 litres, as well as special wheels that generated turbo-cooling for the disc brakes plus further suspension refinements. Acceleration from 0-60mph (always the benchmark) took 6.4 seconds and the top speed was still pegged at 155mph. Minor upgrades took place with the M5 over the next couple of years with the engine being expanded in capacity to 3.8 litres that developed 340bhp and delivered this to the rear wheels through a new 6 speed manual gearbox. This was the last of the big six cylinder M5s and with it went an era.

With the release of the beautiful looking E39 series, the game was moved on another notch by BMW M GmbH. Under the smooth sloping bonnet of the new M5 was a 4.9 litre quad-cam V8 that delivered 400bhp at 6600rpm. Using the same 6-speed manual it screamed from 0-60mph in just 5.0 seconds and ran the SS quarter mile in 13.4 seconds at 107.8mph. For a heavy family sedan this was really something. The best just got better in the eyes of those who knew these things.

Includes New Model Intros, Road & Comparison Tests. Models Covered: E12 M535i, E28 M535i & M5, E34 M5 3.5 & 3.8 and the E39 M5

Softbound, 160 pages of which 60 are in full colour.

Price: £16.95 £14.95

Product Code: BM5GP
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