A chequered story that began over 30 years ago and is based on a seemingly simple recipe: luxury through the highest level of performance and comfort in a street legal mid-sized sedan
1984: The first generation M5 (Type E28S) was powered by a 24-valve six-cylinder 3.5-litre engine with 282hp borrowed from the mid-engined M1 sports car. The car sprinted from a standstill to 96km/h in just 6.5 seconds with a top speed of 152mph. It was the fastest four-door production sedan of its time.
1988: More power came with the second generation M5 (Type E34). BMW Motorsport GmbH shoehorned a 3.6-litre engine and for the first time a M5 reached 155mph. During its career the engine displacement increased to 3.8-litres and the output to 327hp. From 1992, a Touring version appeared, of which only 900 were made.
1998: The third generation M5 (Type E39S) came in with loads of confidence and oomph. Underneath the bonnet it packed a 5.0-litre 32-valve V8 engine, good for 396hp and 500Nm of torque. Top speed was limited to 155mph, with zero to 96km/h in just 5.3 seconds.
2005: With the fourth generation M5 (Type E60), BMW developed a new 5.0-litre V10 engine with 503hp on tap, delivered at an astonishing 7,750rpm. It did the zero to 96km/h sprint in just 4.7 seconds and again was limited to 155mph. In some markets, the M5 driver was able to cancel the maximum speed limit with the new M Drivers Package – so the M5 went as fast as 189mph. Also new was the automated Sequential M Transmission with seven gears and Launch Control feature for maximum acceleration from standstill.
2010: The fifth generation (Type F10M) came in 2011 with a downsized but equally potent engine. BMW introduced its first generation forced fed 4.4-litre V8 twin turbo engine that produced 558hp, almost double that of the first M5. Torque of 680Nm also represented almost double improvement. The turbocharged M5 sprinted from 0 to 96km/h in 4.3 seconds, via a new 7-speed M twin-clutch transmission. Its unrestricted top speed was 189mph.
In 2013 came the M5 with Competition Package, a variant with 573hp. In 2014, the special 30th anniversary model with 598hp came along, of which only 300 were built.
2017: With the sixth generation M5 (Type F90), BMW M is continuing its success story with the M5 series of machines.