Engine

This magnificent piece of engineering proved to be the ultimate in power and dare we say, sound! The engine is a 5 liter NA V10 with 507 BHP and 384 lb-ft of torque good for a 0-60 in 4.5 seconds nuff said. This epic V10 has ten individual throttle bodies and is favored by none other Sabine Schmitz, the Queen of the Ring. This is a car that must be driven to get the performance out of it, but first you have put the car in the correct mode, as Jeremy Clarkson hates to do. 

Interior - Exterior

The interior, my least favorite part of the E60 M5 and it doesn’t nesecarly disappoint, except for the lack of gods greatest gift to humanity, the manual, and the ever so complicated IDrive and don’t get me started on the adaptive seats. Lets put it this way, if you are getting an E60 M5 don’t buy one with, Adaptive seats because Bmw’s engineers were on lunch when these were designed and installed. The M5 comes with a leather interior in three different colours, which makes it look even more sophisticated than the lavishly equipped basic model or - for an extra price - with a full leather interior, which looks absolutely stunning. Further important differences versus the 5 Series are the instrument cluster, the optional M-specific head-up display, the steering wheel with MDrive buttons and the redesigned centrer console.

Transmission

Bmw did many things right with the E60 M5 but the interns somehow designed the clutch, which almost ruined the car. The 7-speed SMG III sequential manual gearbox, also known as a single-clutch automated manual transmission was a huge disappointment, save the manuals! 

On startup it defaults to a slug mode, where the shifts are slow, the performance is set to 400hp and the traction control is fully on, boring. There is a moving redline as the engine warms up, once the oil and transmission are up to temp (about 2-3 minutes) put it in M mode. M mode is not some magic button, where witchcraft happens, like Clarkson's review would have you believe, its a short-cut for a number of settings controlling the power, throttle response, steering weight electronic dampers, and traction control. The gear-shift speed has 6 settings with the 6th and fastest speed only selectable with the DCT fully off.

In maximum attack mode with the DCT off the gear shifts are 50ms with a big thump in the back as you upshift. Only a big guerrilla like Clarkson is going to have problems with the SMG being jerky, its not an auto and you cannot drive it as such.

Maintenance

Is the M5 expensive to maintain…ha that’s a joke! Well, noble reader, it all depends on your definition of expensive. Servicing is not scheduled in the same way other cars are. As your IDrive and DIS will show, the car tells you when and what needs servicing and you have no option for annual or milestone maintenance. The engine servicing is based on the number of liters of fuel used. The faster you burn it the more frequent your servicing. 

Oil services are the most regular of the services. BMW will normally charge around $400 to $450 depending on what’s needed for an oil service. Castrol Edge 10W60W (not Edge Sport) is the only oil endorsed by BMW //M and as such you should only use this brand and spec if you want to keep your warranty and service book intact.

The next service is the brake fluid change and its every 2 years that it needs doing. Every 3rd oil change brings around a main-service including engine oil, plugs, filters, engine check, SMG service, diff service and some other stuff. 

Fuel consumption is something a lot get their knickers in a twist about. BMW are dead accurate with this. Motorway about 24 MPG on cruse control, round town about 12mpg. On a track you will empty a tank in half a day. 

You don’t need to sell a kidney or your child to afford the maintenance, but next time your thinking about ordering that perfectly grilled steak, get the salad and spend your savings on new brake pads and oil so you can drive home safely. 

Market Value

The market right now for the E60 M5 is in limbo; the prices are still dropping but will probably not drop below Chris Christy’s waistline, in skinny people terms that’s $20,000. There are several out there in between $20k - $25k but be very careful because you could end up with a massive repair bill on your hands. 

Here is an average price guide for an E60 M5: 

  • Unicorn: Low miles, meticulously maintained, pervious owner extremely detailed - $50 - $60,000
  • Enthusiast owned: Higherish miles and actually driven but maintained and repaired - $40,000 - $50,000
  • Town Bicycle: Higher miles, semi neglected but still has that M spirit - $30,000 - $40,000
  • Rust Bucket: If you find one, please for the Love of God restore it to its former glory! - $25,000 - $30,000

Problems

This is where it gets interesting, unlike the E39 M5 the E60 M5 decided to throw a temper tantrum and cause main different issues. Here is a run down of what problems you will probably encounter actually you will encounter. 

Slow gearchanges and flashing gear symbol on DIS: Probably SMG software or pump failure. Or clutch has worn out and is beyond normal automatic adjustment. Do not have your clutch adaptations reset if you think your clutch might be worn, it'll do more damage.

Transmission warning lights / Yellow Cog of Illness / Orange Cog of Really Illness / Red Cog of Death: Hopefully just a wiring issue like the E60's sunroof issue.

Rattling noise for a couple of seconds on start up: Could be a number of things, such as oil level getting close to the 1 liter marker, timing chain / tensioner stretch or wear or cold start procedure kicking in. Cold start system is controlled by throttle butterflies. Vanos is not normally an issue on the E60/1 M5 but it has been known on the odd occasion.

Suspension: Actually very reliable but its not uncommon to need the control arms replacing every 20k or so.

Additional Info

Credit: ticat928