BradLTL Dork
Sept. 10, 2014 4:00 p.m.

Having just purchased a 2006 BMW (e60) M5, I suggest we need to update our board slang from “e36m3” to “e60m5”. It’s fitting because that is exactly what you think when you step on the loud pedal… HOLY E60M5!

This isn’t a full on review, I just took possession of the car last Saturday (and I owed my wife some time off) so I haven’t really been able to play too much with it. I will keep this to my immediate impressions.

Will it baby? Hell yes it will. There is plenty of space in the back, kids seat goes in without drama, a ton of air bags and a 5 star safety rating. What does the kid think about the car? My kid is a bit of a gear head, your results may vary, but he’s commentary is “Let’s sell Mommy’s car and take the BMW every day, ok?” Yea, he likes it. He likes it when I rapidly accelerate to a safe speed. He will be the reason I get my first speeding ticket in like 15 years.

What is it like to sit in? Overall the car is awesome (yes, I am biased). The car is 8 years old, but looks as good as any new car coming off the lot. Nothing seems dated. Riding down the road it is substantially quieter than my truck and my wife’s Venza. The sound system is rich and balanced and has a ton of options: HD Radio, CD, CD Changer, MP3 CDs, External jack, Bluetooth, and Sirius… you should be able to find something to listen to while cruising down the road. The seats are heated and cooled, and then can be adjusted in every way you could possibly need. Then they have this “active bolster” feature. I’m mixed on this. When in sport mode, the bolsters will auto-magically adjust to support you going through a corner. As helpful as this may be, it is equally alarming and distracting. The materials and fit and finish are what you would expect from a premium luxury car, which is to say they are great.

Most of the controls for the radio, navigation, car features, and climate controls are buried in iDrive. Ok, so iDrive isn’t the best to use, but I think it gets a bad rep when it isn’t deserved. To me, iDrive is a setup tool. You are not meant to be constantly using it. You set it up to your preferences, it stores all that on your key and then you use the controls on the steering wheel to interact with everything. Could it be better? Yes, for sure. Is it terrible? Only if you are trying to customize or do detailed things while driving.

I’m really enjoying the HUD as well. I like not having to look down at the gauges. I have a couple minor things (I was going to say annoyances, but these are really my issues not the car) with the HUD. First, I’ve decided I like “M Mode” the best. It gives me a tach and speed and is the most useful. I would like to customize it though. Frankly, I would be fine if all the important information was displayed on the HUD and the standard gauges were just eliminated. That brings me to point 2 on the HUD. I’ve noticed at times that the HUD seems really dim and hard to see… which was really frustrating… until I realized that it was my polarized sunglasses causing the problem. Now I need new sunglasses.

How fast is it? Umm… it is really fast. Like really, really fast. It is a big, heavy car; but it neither feels big nor heavy. Most of the time you drive around with a paltry 400 horsepower, and for the driving I’ve done so far that is still fast. If you are following a slow car and they finally move over, or turn you have to pause a second before punching the gas. It’s not because the car isn’t ready, it’s because you have to give the cars coming the other direction that might be planning to make a turn in front of you a chance to get out of the way. Then you decide to push the button marked “M” on the steering wheel. Everything changes. There is an immediate and noticeable growl that comes from the engine. The suspension and traction control all switch into go-mode. In 2nd gear the acceleration is brutal and the change to 3rd is violent. As you go up in speed, the engine just has a never-ending pull. You feel like it doesn’t matter what gear you are in, this car will pull to the redline. They say if you remove the limiter it will go up to 205mph… I believe them, and honestly I believe it would go higher if it had another gear.

SMG, what’s that? I went with the SMG because my wife can’t drive a stick. The SMG means that in a pinch she can drive the car without too much drama. The SMG is interesting. It is important to note that this, while having paddles, is a MANUAL gearbox… and it drives like one. It isn’t an F1 dual clutch automatic that shifts gears in milliseconds; it’s a manual that performs the clutch and shift actions for you. At the fastest, the changes are just under a second. The other thing about the SMG is that you have to drive it like a manual gear box. In practical terms what that means is letting off the gas when you shift makes for a smoother ride for your passengers. If you are sitting on a hill, when you let off the brake (after a 1 second hold) the car will roll backwards; and hill starts can be a bit choppy. Coasting is a challenge. Since you don’t have access to a clutch pedal if you let off the gas, you are effectively engine braking the car. In higher gears it isn’t a big deal, but it is noticeable in 2nd. The SMG features an automatic mode, I’ve only used it once. It was fine, similar to the legendary Ford AOD transmissions. The wife drove it twice without supervision and didn’t complain, so I’ll rate that at “good enough”.

Umm… what else?

TL;DR… I really like the car, and it’s super fast.

ebonyandivory SuperDork
Sept. 10, 2014 4:11 p.m.

I'm jealous. Partly because you have an M but also because you drive a car you LOVE and that's priceless!

mazdeuce UberDork
Sept. 10, 2014 4:19 p.m.

Any concern about manitenence on these? I keep hearing that they are brutally complex and will make someone bleed money on them someday. I still want one.

BradLTL Dork
Sept. 10, 2014 4:20 p.m.
ebonyandivory wrote: ...you drive a car you LOVE and that's priceless!

Well said! I had been driving an appliance truck for 3 1/2 years, I could take it no more. When I told my wife I needed a new car, she replied "I wondered what was taking so long."

BradLTL Dork
Sept. 10, 2014 4:22 p.m.
mazdeuce wrote: Any concern about manitenence on these?

Concern? Yes. Reasons to be concerned? Not as much as you might think. That said, I did spend many shiney pennies on the extended warranty from Carmax. My car is covered for 60 months and up to 125k (has 53k now).

It is one of those things, you probably won't have many issues... but the one issue you do have will be a small fortune to fix.

Harvey Reader
Sept. 10, 2014 5:14 p.m.

A friend had one under CPO and dodged some costs for a few things, but did the brakes himself with OEM parts. The rotors run upwards of $300 each while front and rear pads cost around $300-400 (all together). It's not a cheap car to fix and it gets terrible gas mileage (as if anyone cares that buys a v10 car).

Lancer007 HalfDork
Sept. 10, 2014 6:24 p.m.

That is a very cool car. Now you just need this:

http://youtu.be/vRYYe0kLCto

motomoron SuperDork
Sept. 10, 2014 6:44 p.m.

I had a student with an e60 M5 at an SCCA PDX event at the Summit Point Shenandoah circuit. He was not a natural talent, and what with being unaccustomed to heavy brake application and driving a 9000#, 800hp car on a tight, technical track, it was not an easy day.

Oh, yeah. The car had the active seat bolsters. Shen has something like 16 or 17 turns, and this diabolical device was like being viciously palpated about the mid -section by an infinitely strong and unkind Russian masseuse. The general motion of the car wasn't conducive to my middle ear, and by the last couple sessions of the day - even having taken a couple Bonine - I was counting laps, then minutes then seconds hoping to see the checkers flying and the session to end.

That said, if I wanted a spacious, comfortable sedan with a weapons-grade level of wallop, one of these would be near the top of my list.

ansonivan Dork
Sept. 10, 2014 6:45 p.m.

Burnout video please.

Sept. 10, 2014 11:22 p.m.

I need to test drive a regular E60 soon.

Adrian_Thompson PowerDork
Sept. 11, 2014 7:39 a.m.

Would you be willing to post running and maintenance costs as you drive this for the next few years? The result will either be a lot of jealous people, or a lot of people thinking thank the FSM we can't afford one.

BradLTL Dork
Sept. 11, 2014 7:49 a.m.

Sure. I'll try to remember to keep things updated. I'm actually planning on having the whole car serviced by an independent soon, just to make sure all is well and updated on the car.

I suspect the biggest running cost will be gas. My first tank scored a whooping 14 mpgs, but part of that was the dealer put the wrong gas in the car (it requires premium 93 octane). My first tank fill up was $50, or about $25 less than my truck. I don't drive a lot (work from home) so the mileage isn't as big of a concern for me.

aussiesmg MegaDork
Sept. 11, 2014 8:43 a.m.

That has been on my radar, what is the price range on these?

Congratulations

Sept. 11, 2014 8:48 a.m.
motomoron wrote: by the last couple sessions of the day - even having taken a couple Bonine - I was counting laps, then minutes then seconds hoping to see the checkers flying and the session to end.

This has been my experience instructing at Shenandoah in general. It is a lot of pointless, unrewarding sharp turns.

It's fun to drive in a short wheelbase low powered car but it's painfully nauseating and tedious to sit right seat in ANYTHING there.

Oh... and to not threadjack... NICE CAR OP!

Tom_Spangler SuperDork
Sept. 11, 2014 8:53 a.m.

The E39 M5 has always been one of my favorite BMWs, but they are starting to age out of my comfort zone for DD-ness. I will be curious to see how the long-term ownership goes with the E60. It certainly is an awesome car, and the prices are coming down nicely.

BradLTL Dork
Sept. 11, 2014 8:59 a.m.

In reply to aussiesmg:

Good, low mileage examples of e60s run in the $27-35k range. I paid $28,900 and then shelled out another $5k for the extended warranty.

Sept. 11, 2014 9:03 a.m.
BradLTL wrote: In reply to aussiesmg: Good, low mileage examples of e60s run in the $27-35k range. I paid $28,900 and then shelled out another $5k for the extended warranty.

I think that $5k will end up being money well spent and you have still bought a staggering amount of performance and poise for $34k.

Tom_Spangler SuperDork
Sept. 11, 2014 9:39 a.m.
BradLTL wrote: In reply to aussiesmg: Good, low mileage examples of e60s run in the $27-35k range. I paid $28,900 and then shelled out another $5k for the extended warranty.

I suspect this is one of those rare occasions where the extended warranty is 100% worth it.

mfennell Reader
Sept. 11, 2014 9:49 a.m.

That CarMax warranty will come in handy. My BMW service manager buddy recently had two SMG E60M5s in at the same time with clutch-related no-start conditions.

I'm shocked to hear you got 14mpg. My friend with a short commute seldom broke TEN in the winter. With a 19 gallon tank (IIRC), he spent a lot of time at the gas station. I don't remember details but it spent a lot of time at the dealer. I remember the clutch (slave? disk?) failed and the steering wheel angle sensor that's required by about 11 billion systems.

BradLTL Dork
Sept. 11, 2014 9:53 a.m.
mfennell wrote: ...the steering wheel angle sensor that's required by about 11 billion systems.

Actually that was the hold up on taking delivery. This just replaced that and reprogrammed.

Harvey Reader
Sept. 11, 2014 10:19 a.m.

The only problem I have with the Carmax warranty is that you have to have the guys at Carmax work on it. The numbskulls at my local managed to butcher the dash of my RX-8 replacing the temperature control. Car was under warranty. They literally took a screwdriver to the thing trying to pry the console apart. The service manager had to have an interior repair guy come in and fix it, luckily the repair guy did a good enough job that I didn't have to have them replace the dash.

Personally I can't stand the look of the E60 5 series and would never have one. The M5 is the only one I find acceptable overall, but even still the front end grates on me. To each their own obviously, not meant to denigrate your choice.

I've heard anecdotes about the problems with the E60 M5 and they are numerous, but as long as that warranty has good coverage you should be good to go. For $5k it better cover everything. You're gonna get your money's worth out of it if you drive the car long enough.

BradLTL Dork
Sept. 11, 2014 10:45 a.m.
Harvey wrote: The only problem I have with the Carmax warranty is that you have to have the guys at Carmax work on it.

You actually don't have to take it to Carmax. Most dealers will accept the warranty, the local BMW dealer will. It is cheaper to take it to Carmax ($50 off your deductable).

Harvey Reader
Sept. 11, 2014 10:53 a.m.
BradLTL wrote:
Harvey wrote: The only problem I have with the Carmax warranty is that you have to have the guys at Carmax work on it.

You actually don't have to take it to Carmax. Most dealers will accept the warranty, the local BMW dealer will. It is cheaper to take it to Carmax ($50 off your deductable).

In my case it was just their standard 30 (90?) day warranty, but yours I'm sure is an aftermarket that other places will accept. My bad.

SpeedAddict502
SpeedAddict502 New Reader
Sept. 11, 2014 11:04 a.m.

The only big time problem I have been seeing come out of these is rod bearing failure like they used to have on the E46 M3. Several of the guys on M5 board that are getting around 70k miles are having their rod bearings go for no apparent reason.

But with a warranty you should be good!

digdug18 Dork
Sept. 11, 2014 1:01 p.m.

They are nice cars, but I wouldn't be able to live without AWD, even with snow tires. If it were me, I would have pointed you towards an AUDI with the 3.0T engine, not turbo, supercharged instead, with plenty of go fast parts available...

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