Filed under: Sedan
, First Drives
Lose Two Cylinders, Gain Two Turbos, Take No Prisoners
The first BMW M5
, the humble E28 of 1984, had little idea of the performance bloodline it would sire. Its equally humble sales figures proved it: just 2,241 were built. Previous to the 2004 arrival of the E60 M5, the '84 original and the much better-selling E34 that succeeded it in 1988 both carried excellent inline sixes that offered between 256 SAE horsepower in the first-generation's North American trim and 340 European DIN horses by the end of its run in 1995. Good for their time. The E39 M5, however, was the first model in the franchise that BMW
really set loose, running an almost 5.0-liter V8 from 1998 until 2003 that offered up 400 hp in European trim. This generation did very well, finding its way into more than 20,000 driveways.
Beginning in July of 2004, BMW Motorsport went nuts, tying the entire M5 project to its famously costly Formula 1 involvement. Many racing fans would note that BMW's F1 program was not only costly, it achieved dismal results. At least their misadventure gifted us the E60 and its "holy crap!" all-aluminum 5.0-liter V10 engine. Compared to the three preceding M5s dressed in civilian clothing, the flared Chris Bangle-era M5 and its free-revving 500-horsepower S85 engine was a sequined Miss Universe contestant belting out power ballads. Again, over 20,000 were sold, almost all sedans, and, man, have we ever done a lot of impressively useless burn outs and hammering Launch Control starts ever since. By far, the United States has been the Number One market for E60s, with over 8,000 sold here before the building stopped in March of last year.
Then BMW left the F1 circus, F1 abandoned V10s, and Munich focused hard on a greener Efficient Dynamics gospel. The tear-jerking S85 was retired without fanfare.
['Scuse the long preamble, but with a new M5, it's crucial to remember from whence we've come.]Continue reading 2012 BMW M5 [w/video]
2012 BMW M5 [w/video]
originally appeared on Autoblog
on Thu, 22 Sep 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds
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