With the E60 edition, BMW created the ultimate M5, or at least the one with the ultimate cylinder count to date. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice M5 is a manual-shift example and has some very expensive engine work already under its belt. Let’s see if it’s priced to ultimately be a good deal.
Do you like those James Bond and “Mission Impossible” kind of movies? You know, the sort where the ultimate, edge-of-your-seat action almost always sees the hero having to overcome some seemingly insurmountable obstacles to defuse a bomb or something, succeeding at the very last second?
If so, then you also may very well have liked yesterday’s 1997 Porsche Boxster. That 986 had an engine, along with some other parts, out of its bigger brother the 996 generation 911. Unfortunately, the 996’s ECU didn’t make it onboard the Boxster lifeboat, so now the car is throwing up Check Engine Lights in complaint. Any attempt to re-register the car, either through its November re-up or by way of a sale will likely require a smog test.
That’s something the car, in its present state, is not going to pass. That deadline is looming, and there doesn’t appear to be any sort of action hero swooping in to save the day. The result of the cloud hanging over the Boxster’s convertible top (non-working, by the way) led fully 85 percent of you to vote down its $6,500 asking price in a No Dice loss. As a 986 owner myself, I wish the seller the best of luck in getting his car off to a good home that will properly take care of it.
OK, if you thought yesterday’s Boxster was a Germanic can of worms that should be avoided, let’s see what your take might be on this 2009 BMW E60 M5.
As many of us know, this edition of BMW’s hottest mid-sizer was its craziest. The cylinder count went all the way up to 10 and, swear to god if the Germans had the wherewithal and the sense of humor, they would have made it go to a Spinal Tap-worshiping 11.
In this particular car, you wrestle with that 500 horsepower S85 mill via a Getrag six-speed manual. Woo hoo! That stick shift transmission was a U.S. model exclusive, and it eliminates one of the M5’s more vexing headaches, the SMG III auto-manual. Those tend to have a plethora of issues involving pump failures and the clutch pack packing it up, among others. It’s so notorious that some Bimmer fans have declared that SMG really stands for Serious Money Gone.
But like I said, that’s not a problem here. Of course, this being a BMW of a certain age, there are still plenty of potential landmines here that could pop up, so you’d want to stay on your toes.
A prime source of those potential problems lies in that unruly child that lives under the hood. The S85 V10 is an amazing engine with copious quantities of power across the rev range and an exhaust note that sounds like an orgy of aliens happening on the molten plains of Venus. To make all that wonderful engagement happen, however, these engines tend to go through connecting rod bearings like they’re blueberries in the kitchen of a pie-baking contest.
Happily, this M5 comes through again, with the ad noting that the bottom end has already been refreshed with new bearings. Are you starting to see a pattern here? This version is generally considered to be among the least reliable of BMWs, and of M5s in particular, though the particular car under consideration may let you dodge at least two of those very expensive bullets yet still enable you to enjoy what’s objectively a pretty amazing car. It’s a “have your cake and eat it too” kind of machine.
The rest of the car looks pretty good, although the combination of the Space Gray paint and the E60’s awkward Dame Edna looks mean it’s not the most emotive M5 you could find. These look elegant in Interlagos Blue and surprising in Indianapolis Red, but come across as somewhat anonymous in this dull-as-dishwater gray.
The bodywork under that paint is at least clean and doesn’t appear to show the car’s 138,000 miles in any significant way. The factory BBS Style 166 wheels have been painted black, which just darkens the whole car even more. A refinish in factory nickel would likely do wonders for the appearance. Oh, and those leech-looking things on the front bumper corners are actually blacked-out side marker lights, not actual leeches.
A black leather interior complements the overall look and also seems to be in fine shape. The highly bolstered front buckets show little sign of wear, while in the back there’s just an indentation from what was probably a child safety seat mount.
The selling dealer says that the car runs and drives without issue and that it has benefited from some updated suspension parts along with the rod bearings. The transmission is said to shift as it should, and the engine to run in a similar fashion. It appears that maintenance records are available back to when the car was new, and the title is clean.
It should be noted that the E60 M5 is a favorite car of YouTubers like Tyler Hoovie and Samcrac. Their experiences with cars like this have probably scared off the vast majority of potential M5 owners, since they tend to buy the cheapest and hence worst examples of these models they can find. They think the repairs will be cheap enough to make it all work out in the end (Narrator: it doesn’t). In the case of this M5, a lot of the bad stuff has either been avoided or already addressed. That doesn’t mean it couldn’t blow up in your face, it’s just less likely that the usual suspects will do so.
That being the case, you’re naturally going to expect to pay a premium on this car. That happens to be a $19,999 asking, and we now need to decide if that’s too much of a premium for this car as it sits. What do you think, should someone roll those dice and take a chance on what looks to be a well-sorted V10 M5? Or, are these cars just too cursed to ever pay that much?
H/T to steveone for the hookup!
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