As featured in October Straight Six 2017
November 10-12th 2017
THE UK’s BIGGEST AND BEST CLASSIC CAR SHOW
The BMW Car Club have secured a prominent stand in the Premier Hall at this year’s show.
Our Members can take advantage of reduced price tickets and we shall also have an exclusive hospitality area for relaxing, chatting with club officials and enjoy a tea or coffee.
The theme this year is `family ties` which is most timely given November is the launch date for the latest M5 which will be unveiled daily. The expectations are certainly high for this über express (see feature by Jeff Heywood) and it will be ably supported by its forerunners. Once again our members have come forward and kindly ‘loaned’ their cars for display; we have secured the Classic M5’s in E28, E34, E39 and E60 guise and provide below brief comments from the owners and their cars which will be displayed.
There will be a striking new feel to the Club stand with more space for hospitality as it is important for officials, members and potential new members to meet in comfort and get a true understanding of what our club offers. In fact this year we are looking to have official BMW Lifestyle and accessories available with opportunity to win an exclusive BMW prize.
Speaking of prizes we have a free competition for members to win two free tickets – see below.
We look forward to seeing you over the three days. So do call by the club stand and say Hello.
Keith Bridge – E28 M5
My M5 is pretty unique, being the only example in the UK to be finished in Carmine Red (chassis No 014) the interior trimmed in anthracite hounds tooth cloth and fitted with an electric sunroof, even though air-con was standard spec on a RHD UK (DC92) E28 M5. LHD M5s were given the factory code DC91. Even the original Blaupunkt New York radio-cassette is still in place and functioning perfectly!
I have owned the car for the past 14-yrs, having 150K on the clock when I purchased it. The M5 was part of a pair owned by a local Lancashire farming family, the other car being a Royal Blue Metallic example fitted with a factory bodykit (chassis No145 of 187 officially imported RHD models in the UK). Total worldwide E28 M5 production only numbers 2,191 units.
Since I purchased the car I have only covered a further 34K miles, the car only requiring basic servicing (carried out by myself, ex-Williams BMW!) and the odd job here and there, like inlet gasket replacement and a new OEM exhaust system, but nothing too serious.
The car always attracts a lot of attention at shows, its rarity value seemingly well known amongst fellow car enthusiasts, and is kept in immaculate order. Although an attention grabber at shows, on the road the car is a real wolf in sheep’s clothing which I like, looking like an understated classic family saloon, but one with a fearsome bite!
The M5s performance is legendary, thanks to a relatively skinny kerb weight of 1465kgs. 0-60mph is despatched in 5.9 seconds before the car’s aerodynamics see it run out of steam at 156mph! When new, the E28 M5 compared favourably with a Ferrari 328 in the power stakes, having 286hp versus the Ferrari’s 270hp, although to keep things in perspective, the E28 M5 cost a whopping £31,295, at a time when the Ferrari could be yours for £34,750, just £3.5K more…
The E28 M5s M88 engine is essentially the same straight-six lump that first appeared in the equally venerable BMW M1. With a 10.5:1 compression ratio, 264-degree camshafts, equal-length exhaust headers and a single-row timing chain, it is identical to the one found in the non-catalyst versions of the E24 M635CSi. Power is rated at 286hp at 6,500 rpm with 251 lb/ft of torque at 4,500 rpm. The M88 can be identified by the BMW Roundel and only the words “M Power" on its valve cover.
All E28 M5s were hand built by BMW Motorsport technicians. My car was built at the BMW Motorsport facility at Garching (in the outer suburbs of Munich), on a pre-painted body and chassis delivered from the BMW factory at Dingolfing. E28 M5s have always been rare-birds, with just 187 officially imported/sold in the UK; the DVLA website shows that less than half are still registered, so my Carmine Red example is fast becoming as rare as a rare-breed hen’s set of teeth!
Kevin Payne – E34 M5
My first experience of an M5 was back in 1990 while I was driving an E30 325i Sport as a company car. BMW invited me test drive an E30 M3 and E34 M5 back to back. I was smitten by the subtle but awesome performance of the M5.
Nine years later I bit the bullet and searched for the right car, eventually whittling those available down to a lovely Avus Blue with throwing star wheels and one in Cosmos Black with M-Parallels. The Cosmos Black car was the one for us as it looked great with the wheels and had the better spec with the big discs, EDC suspension and 6-speed gearbox. We have been privileged to be the custodians of it for the last 18 years. Over those years it was serviced by BMW dealers to retain the extended warranty which almost covered the peace of mind investment when one of the rear suspension struts began weeping so two new ones were fitted.
Ultimate Road trip – September 2003 Alps tour taking in the Nurburgring Nordschleife for a few laps on the way. These were the first of what would become more than 800 laps of that awesome track in an E30 M3.
To be able to safely exploit the performance we took part in many car club “better driving” days, on the Lotus test track at Hethel, Donington Park, Croft and Silverstone.
Bringing things up to the present day, my M5 has a patina which shows that after 23 years and just over 100k miles it has be used and cared for in equal measure, it is as it came from the factory with only an electric rear blind added, obtained from a car stripped to be a ‘ring toy.
Richard Stern – E39 M5
Another M5 is back in the ‘Stern’ household and boy have I missed owning one. My first M5 was an E28 one of only two made in Malachite Green; a stunning car of course I wish I’d never sold. Funny thing was when they launched the new E39 M5 I went to my local BMW Dealer and test drove one. My feelings at the time were the car was too heavy and not as involving as the E28 M5 and I recall saying to the Salesman I wouldn’t swap mine for his.
That was 16 years ago, when it wasn’t just the car that was lighter but the driver as well. My first E39 M5 was a 2000 model in Le Mans blue which I sold for £7,500 and two years later saw it advertised on Autotrader for £12,000 with ten thousand more miles on it! But if you didn’t already know E39 M5s are increasing in price and finding good ones is getting difficult, with some dealers asking anything from £16-40K for low mileage, decent cars.
Before my second E39 M5, I tried to fill the void of a V8 in my life with another E39 this time it was an Alpina B10 3.3 manual, but it just didn’t do it for me. I then tried an E92 335i Sport Coupe and it still wasn’t the car for me. Finally I was in a position to buy a sensible one again, I didn’t want black and I wanted a facelift model, with Sat Nav and sunroof...
After months of searching every spare minute I had, I found a nice example with no Sat Nav and no sunroof and pre-face lift, but as some friends explained, the Sat Nav would properly be out of date, so finding a good un-abused example was paramount. It’s a Silverstone Metallic example (only 389 made) with full BMW service history, fitted with facelifted front Hella Xenon lights and now upgraded rear lights, with black sports leather interior and feels tight as the day it was new. The car has no sunroof(!) and the wheels are in stunning condition, even though they have never been refurbished (rare to find now and a lot of them have refurbished wheels are not the correct colour).
I do a lot of miles and I want to enjoy every one of them, otherwise what’s the point in driving if I’m not enjoying the journey? Boy I am loving it, I once made a statement that the E39 is one if not the best made BMW model ever and I still stand by that, they are such a good car, well made, great to drive, not too complex and still affordable. Get one now while you still can.
E39 M5’s were built from October 1998 to June 2003 a total of 2595 RHD cars made.
For more info on the E39 M5 go to; http://www.bmwmregistry.com/model_faq.php?id=18
Martyn Goodwin - E60 M5
I acquired my E60 M5 in May 2009 after a relatively short search. I was specifically looking for a car in Interlagos Blue with Silverstone Grey and with an average mileage as well as full service history. So when this particular car came onto my radar, I paid a holding deposit over the phone and set off to Goodwood to see it. Love at first sight and drive! So two days later I set off again, this time by train, to collect the car for my first long distance drive.
Almost every drive since has been wearing the same wide grin, the sound-track, effortless performance, comfort and joy of owning and driving one of BMW’s uber-saloons.
It has not been without some less enjoyable moments, but only once have I been flat-bedded home after some spurious voltage signals sent the SMG wayward with auto change-down from 7th to 2nd (fortunately not at high speed). This was resolved by replacing both throttle actuators, voltage regulator and clutch sensor – none of them jobs for the faint-hearted but a challenge to be enjoyed!
My car is far from being a daily driver but equally it is not a garage queen. With average fuel consumption at 15.5mpg on Shell V-power, it is not the most economical car to drive for anything other than pure enjoyment and to indulge the senses. It was bought as a keeper, even if at times it does seem to consume parts more frequently than fuel, and with subtle modifications to the original factory spec. it is very much my personalised pride and joy.
The king is dead, long live the king!
The F10 M5, king of the superfast super-saloons is dead – long live the new king - enter stage right the new F90 M5! The all new, 4WD F90 M5 will be making one of its first UK public appearances when it is set to wow the crowds on the club stand at the NEC Classic Car Show in November.
Words/Photos Jeff Heywood
So here in all its glory is the new BMW F90 M5. Not a G30 M5, even though it’s based on the latest G30 5 Series, because these days M cars get their own unique type number. So F90 it is – I hope that clears up that little conundrum. And there’s one key point that sets it apart from any of the previous incarnations of the original super-saloon (all five of them): its four-wheel drive. BMW engineers call this car “two cars in one”. They also use the word “inevitable” - the ‘they’ being both BMW M boss Frank Van Meel and BMWs Vice President of Engineering Dirk Häcker - when discussing the fact that both axles are driven.
While BMW has been under pressure from certain markets to offer just such a car, the real issue has been the steadily increasing power outputs required to stay competitive in this class. After all, there is only so much torque that can realistically be deployed through the rear wheels of a big saloon. Yet BMW, much like rival Mercedes-AMG with its new E63, has not forgotten the entertainment factor. This is a car able to revert to rear-wheel drive at the touch of the iDrive touchscreen.
“The car had to feel like a rear-wheel drive car, but with a bit more traction”, is Van Meel’s succinct summary of the project brief. To achieve that the engineers have adopted and developed existing components from the parts bin - the active M rear differential from the M3/M4 and the transfer case from the M760i - and combined them with its own software in one single integrated control module. That transfer case behind the M5’s gearbox contains an electronically controlled clutch, with a propshaft running to the Active M Diff at the rear, from which new carbon fibre clutch plates can distribute torque from 0-100% left to right. Meanwhile, another propshaft runs to one side of the car’s centreline up to the front axle, and another pair of driveshafts with an open diff.
For the first time one ECU looks at every input: steering, throttle and brake from the driver, plus yaw, lateral and longitudinal data and individual wheel slip from the car. Essentially, it should know what’s going to happen before you do.
The really clever bit is the active centre differential, because that clutch can be anything from 100% locked open - making the car rear-wheel drive only - to completely closed (effectively 50:50 split). M engineers don’t like to talk torque split percentages, because the M5 apparently deals in much subtler, precise metering to individual wheels. What they claim, is that so sophisticated is the M5’s ‘brain’ that the shuffling around of torque is undetectable.
It helps that the G30 is usefully lighter than the F10. Despite somewhere around 60kg (no specifics, yet) of additional driveshafts and differentials, the new car is slightly lighter than an F10 M5. Wheels are 19” as standard, with either Continental or Yokohama rubber, or 20” as an option, shod with Michelin Super Sport 4s or a Pirelli equivalent. Brakes are steel discs as standard (with blue ‘M’ calipers), or carbon ceramic as an option (gold). Oh, and there’s the now (for M) ubiquitous carbon roof, said to help lower the height-to-weight ratio.
To understand the new M5, you need to know how the modes work together. There are the usual Comfort, Sport and Sport Plus modes individually attributable to the steering, throttle and dampers, and the Drivelogic gearbox has three shift programs too. But it’s the DSC operation that really matters: with it fully on, the M5 is about as four-wheel drive as it gets.
Move to M Dynamic Mode and that becomes ‘4WD Sport’, which, predictably, favours a more rear-biased set up. Switch everything off, and you then have a choice of three modes: the aforementioned ‘4WD’ and ‘4WD Sport’, plus now also ‘2WD’. ‘2WD’ is 100% rear-wheel drive, 100% of the time, and yes, it is only available with no electronic safety net whatsoever. Your preferred setups can be saved to M1 and M2 programs, simply toggled by little levers behind the spokes of the steering wheel.
Engine, transmission and 0-60mph
The F90 is powered by a ‘new generation’ of the familiar 4.4-litre twin turbo V8, now with higher injection pressure (350 bar), redesigned turbochargers and new cooling and oil supply systems. It’s connected to an eight-speed Steptronic ‘box this time, not the M-DCT twin clutch setup of the previous car. According to Häcker the ultimate performance of the two gearboxes is virtually identical, but the traditional auto option still holds an advantage in urban driving where it’s smoother in operation. With the same ethos in mind, the rear subframe is now attached to the body with bushes, not solidly mounted. With the drastic improvement in traction off the line, the 0-60mph time is apparently 3.4-seconds or less...
As one would expect, the F90 M5s interior is a wonderful place to conduct your (driving) business. The trim used is top notch, leather sumptuous and the standard sports seats are some of the best on the market. They hold you comfortably in place when pressing on, without feeling like your sat in a sparsely trimmed vice. The driving position is perfect, controls are legible and ergonomically set out and the iDrive is now a paragon of ‘how to do it’ with an infotainment system. The gearbox works superbly well, with race-style sequential-type gear-changes available quicker than the blink of an eye.
We weren’t too keen on the placing of the new touchscreen on the top of the dashboard. Here is where you access Navigation, Media, Communication, ConnectedDrive, My Vehicle and Messaging, and although a delight to use and crystal clear, we much prefer the screens that fold away into the dash when not in use, leaving a clean and uncluttered look. As we’ve pointed out though, it is a delight to use and the size is huge – you could happily watch TV on here and not feel as though you were being short-changed, when stationary of course!
All in all, a top quality interior that can be personalised even more if you want to hit the options list…
What’s it like to drive?
Sampling the new M5 on a circuit is quite a bit different to driving it on the road. Even so, it does give you a good idea how the car will drive on UK roads, and the performance and handling that is on tap. Once out onto the circuit the new car feels relentlessly, brutally fast. Just a squeeze of the throttle surges the car forward with ease, while summoning everything is going to be a fleeting experience on the public road. With 600-ish bhp and over 516lb-ft of torque, and taking into account the resultant savage performance, these figures seems about right - if almost slightly conservative from behind the ‘wheel. It wouldn’t raise an eyebrow if BMW had told us that the M5 had 620-640hp…
This is the first M5 to feature electric power assistance for the steering. It’s one of BMW M’s better efforts - the kind where you soon learn to trust its precision, and later when lapping the circuit after a rain shower it’s possible to get a real sense of the grip available.
The initial signs are that the new M5 is surprisingly agile for a car of its size. Adjust the throttle in a corner and the car’s attitude subtly shifts; change direction through the fast ‘S’ curves and it repeatedly locks onto its new line with dogged enthusiasm, resisting understeer keenly.
But it’s at the exit of a corner that the new M5 is particularly interesting. Even in the standard ‘4WD’ setting it always feels rear-driven, and if you’re generous with the throttle on the corner’s exit it’ll adopt a surprisingly neutral attitude. For such a big, powerful car it’s not in the least bit intimidating - even with the DSC fully off - despite the physics at work. Select ‘4WD Sport’ and the electronics allow the tail to step out of line given similar provocation, but then pull things straight with only the slightest steering input required. It looks more spectacular than it actually feels from inside the car. So if you really want to wrestle with 600bhp in its uncensored form, select ‘2WD’ having completely removed DSC, and the M5 is as tail happy as it’s ever been, although with a nicely progressive nature.
One more thing: there’s a new switchable sports exhaust on offer, which gives the BMW V8 a lovely burble at tickover and a proper snarling, popping and banging at revs, but it still isn’t as vocal as the AMG V8. Akropovic will sort that one out!
Price and real world rivals
As we went to press BMW UK announced that the new F90 M5 would be priced at £87,160. This isn’t an on the road price, the OTR will be announced later. We can all dream up fanciful rivals for the F90 M5 – Maserati’s Quattroporte, Jaguar’s XJR575 etc. but in reality, the real world rivals list is surprisingly short. Expect a major confrontation with Mercedes-AMGs E63, maybe the new Porsche Panamera Turbo and the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo come into the equation, while Audi’s RS6 is only available in Avant format, competing with the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo head on.