Interesting Video Shows How the BMW E39 M5 Was Tested Before Entering Production

BMW E39 M5 1 photo
Photo: screenshot from Youtube
The BMW E39 M5 was launched back in 1998 at the Geneva Motor Show and the world stopped for a moment once it reached the show’s floor. It was unlike anything the Germans made within the lines of the 5 Series range before and the industry did well to pay attention.
The production of the car began later that year, in October and the M5 was originally built on the same assembly line as the regular 5 Series, in Dingolfing. While that may seem normal today, it was unusual back in the 1990s because M cars used to be manually assembled.

Seen as a drop in quality by most, that didn’t stop the iconic E39 from rising to the status of legend. Most of it though came from the engine and nothing else.

Under the bonnet hid a 4.9-liter V8 known internally as S62. It used to make 400 HP flat and 500 Nm (369 lb-ft) of torque which was a remarkable figure back then. It had a torquey feeling and a sound that was never again heard on an M5, since the E60 used a V10 and the current F10 is using a turbocharged unit that doesn’t have a particularly interesting note.

In terms of engineering, the car was ahead of its time but by today’s standards it starts to lag behind. The suspension was made of aluminum and had MacPherson struts with a multi-link design, an architecture similar to what you’d find on regular 5 Series models with V8 engines.

The springs were 23 mm (0.9 inches) shorter, though, while a specific shock valving along with thicker front and rear anti-roll bars, polyurethane auxiliary springs, and steel ball joints were added to the mix.

For the first time on an M5, the car also received a Sport button that is also showcased in the video below. What that did was adjust the electronic throttle butterflies of the engine, offering a faster throttle response. Later on, the M5 and M6 models had a similar button that actually increased power from 400 to 507 HP.

Either way, we’re not here to discuss how the car handled or what it felt like. We’re here to take a look at one of the most interesting videos we’ve seen on Youtube lately.

It seems to have been shot by BMW themselves and shows how the M car was tested before being launched. You’ll see how the front axle, the suspension, and the brakes were tested as well as frames from Nurburgring testing, an integral part of the development of every new car from Munich. It’s all very interesting and shows how things were done in 1997. That’s why there’s a cassette player included in the dash of the car, in case you were wondering.

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