BMW M5 E60/E61 Touring - Best BMW M cars
M car estates are a rare breed but the E61 M5 Touring has an F1-inspired V10 engine to make it well worth seeking out and the E60 saloon wasn't bad either
Come on… you always wanted a paddle-shift equipped estate car with a 5.0-litre V10 making 500+bhp and almost 8,000rpm. And with the E61 M5 Touring, that’s what BMW delivered.
If the engine choice seems faintly ludicrous in this era of down-sizing and multiple turbos, back in the early 'noughties it obviously seemed sensible to develop an M car with an obvious link to the BMW Sauber F1 car. Ironically V10s left the F1 stage in 2006 due to an efficiency drive, but that wasn’t going to stop the M5’s party – and anyway, in reality the road-going V10 had nothing at all in common with the F1 engine. Apart from a stupendous turn of speed, of course, with some testers of the E60 saloon version quoting figures around the 4-second mark for the 0-60mph sprint.
What’s the BMW E60 M5 like to drive?
Steve Sutcliffe tries it out on track
I thought the E60 M5 was fantastic in 2005 but reckon hasn’t aged terribly well since. All the ingredients for greatness are there. It has a 5.0-litre V10 engine with a monster soundtrack that delivers either 400bhp or an insanely aggressive 500bhp, depending which mode you select. And then there’s the theoretically fast-changing six-speed SMG gearbox with another button that allows you to scroll up through the shift speeds, plus a typically well developed rear-drive chassis, again with numerous modes than can be dialled up or down, depending what kind of mood you’re in.
But for a variety of reasons, the E60 now seems quite cumbersome and not especially sharp. To be honest, it feels compromised by its technology, not improved by it, with the gearbox action even worse these days than it was 17 years ago, mainly because so many excellent automatic transmissions have appeared since. Amazingly, the car also doesn’t feel that quick, not beside the likes of the G80 M3 or the F10 M5 that followed it, nor even the Z3 M Coupe.
Either way, the E60 M5 was disappointing to drive – possibly because I’d been so looking forward to reacquainting myself with it, and possibly because I was expecting too much from it.
BMW E60 M5 prices and specs
- Number built: 20,589 (1,025 Touring models)
- Price new: £65,330
- Value now: £20,000
- Engine: 5.0-litre V10
- Power/torque: 500bhp/520Nm
- 0-62mph: 4.7sec Top speed: 155mph
- Gearbox: Six-speed SMG
- Weight: 1,855kg
- 1IntroductionWith a legendary roster of fabulous performance cars in its illustrious history, here's our pick of the M power crop...
- 2BMW M1The M1 was a racing supercar for the road, and still sets pulses racing today
- 3BMW M3 E30Hailed as one of the best-handling cars ever, the original M3 is a nailed-on classic
- 4BMW 3.0 CSL E9Known as 'The Batmobile' the BMW 3.0 CSL was a proper homologation special for the road
- 5BMW M3 E46Great looks, great performance and a hardcore limited-run model to boot, the E46 BMW M3 had it all
- 6BMW 1 Series M CoupeM car fans had been crying out for a return to the ethos of the E30 M3, and the 1 Series M Coupe was it
- 7BMW M635 CSi E24The shark nose M635 CSi exudes retro charm today but still packs a mighty punch
- 8BMW M5 E60/E61 Touring - currently readingM car estates are a rare breed but the E61 M5 Touring has an F1-inspired V10 engine to make it well worth seeking out and the E60 saloon wasn't bad either
- 9BMW M5 F10The F10 M5 moved from V10 to V8 power, proving that downsizing isn't all bad
- 10BMW M3 GTS E92 Huge performance came at a huge cost but the M3 GTS remains one of the most focused M cars to be let out of the box
- 11BMW Z3 M CoupeThe M Coupe is unlike any M car before or since and it still holds a place in the hearts of many fans, while others can't stand the sight of it.
- 12BMW M3 G80The G80 M3 offers huge performance and a massive technology count to go with its grille of epic proportions
- 13BMW M5 E39The E39 BMW M5 was the car that started the German saloon horsepower war
- 14BMW M5 E28The mighty BMW M5 E28 remains one of the finest performance saloons ever