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A Ride in a BMW M5 E39 - An Extremely Fun Car Even After 20 Years
I had the lucky chance to ride in a 2001 BMW M5 E39, and I saw why most BMW enthusiasts say this is the best M5 and one of the best cars the automakers had ever built.

A Ride in a BMW M5 E39 - An Extremely Fun Car Even After 20 Years

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First of all, let's get some things straight before telling you about the technical data. If you believe the E39 M5 is just a 20-year-old BMW 5-Series with a big engine, you can save yourself some time by not reading this article. From a technical standpoint, the M5 had a 4.9 liter naturally aspirated V8 engine with a power output of 400 hp to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.

It was a significant upgrade because the previous generation had a straight-six, making "only" 305 hp. This helps the 1.8-ton luxury sport sedan reach 62 mph (100 kph) in only 5.3 seconds. Remember this car was launched two decades ago, so at that moment it was one of the fastest mass vehicles ever.

The E39 M5 I took a ride in comes from an era when BMW was at its best and most sophisticated. The guy who owns this art piece is called George, but friends and family know him as Gogu. He is one of the most passionate guys about the E39, and he probably knows more about this model than anybody else. In his life, he owned a variety of 5-Series from that era, and now, besides the M5, Gogu has two other E39, more precisely, two 540i models with a 4.0-liter V8 engine.

One of them is a red one with automatic transmission, which was reconditioned and modified in a splendid way, especially the interior, which looks spectacular. In addition, the exhaust system perfectly completes the V8 engine. If you want to see more, you need to check his Instagram page.

The interior is the classic one from BMW in that period. Plus, we know the definition of an M5, it's an extremely sporty and fast car when you need it, but most of the time, it is a luxury sedan that gives you a comfortable ride. The steering wheel is electrically adjustable and has buttons for the cruise control. The front and back seats are so comfortable they feel like armchairs.

The front ones are heated and electrically adjustable as well. Oh, and it has sat nav maps. All of this is impressive for 2001. An excellent little detail is the digital red line, which lets you rev it more as the engine warms up. The car George owns has even the communication pack, which was a phone placed in a cradle just behind the handbrake.

The car was driven on some country roads to have a feel for the steering, suspension, and all the others. All I can say is that I was surprised at how comfortable the M5 E39 is when you are driving casually. You hardly feel any bumps, and everything runs smoothly.

Unfortunately, the exhaust doesn't do justice when accelerating hard because the sound is too subdued for a massive V8. Still, you always have an instant throttle response from the naturally aspirated engine. However, the steering is not as razor-sharp as you might expect. It's actually relatively slow.

The E39 M5 might feel slow or outdated compared to modern cars, but it is far from boring. Besides, it's from the arguably best period of BMW, and if you wonder why, I will just leave you with this beautiful quote from George when I asked him why he loves E39s so much. "There are no cars that combine the old and the new, the classic look with the futuristic technology as better as an E39".

 
 
 
 
 

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