BMW E39 M5 vs Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG W210 Acceleration Comparison

Today people are saying that BMWs no longer have essence and that their engines are not what they used to anymore. While we might not agree completely with what the so-called ‘enthusiasts’ are saying, we have to admit that some cars from the brand’s past will forever hold a dear place in our hearts. One of them is the E39 5 Series.
bmw e39 m5 vs mercedes-benz E55 amg 1 photo
Photo: Image edited by autoevolution
We said the 5 Series and not the M5 because the M model wasn’t the only one to leave a mark on our collective conscience. The thing is, the body style of the entire range looks just as good today as it did back then and the naturally aspirated engines they used are still regarded as fun to drive.

Not too long ago we were talking about the 540i, a car that has such a small price today that it would be a shame not to get one (if you can find one for sale) while you still can.

Another emblematic V8 was the one fitted on the M5, codenamed S52, featuring a 4.9-liter block and making no less than 400 HP and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque. Apart from the specs that look average by today’s standards but were pretty impressive back then, the car was also fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission, the way cars should be done no matter what age we’re in.

On the other hand, the Mercedes-Benz E55 AMG that was Stuttgart’s response to the M5 back then, was fitted with a 5.4-liter V8 making 350 HP and 530 Nm (391 lb-ft) of torque. The problem was it could be had only with a 5-speed automatic gearbox that wasn’t all that good to be honest, despite being equipped with ‘AMG Speedshift’ technology.

Both of the cars were rear-wheel drive which made things rather interesting, especially considering the manual gearbox in the M5. That left room for error unlike today when the equivalent Merc has all-wheel drive and can only be had with an automatic 7-speed gearbox. Fortunately for BMW lovers, the M5 is still available with a manual but only in the US.

In the video below we can also see exactly how a stick shift can ruin a drag race as the E39 slips its wheels a lot more than it would be recommended ideally. However, it manages to catch up and even accelerate faster than the Merc. Of course, we don’t know in what circumstances the two videos were recorded so you should take the result with a grain of salt.

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