The BMW E60 M5 is the best budget supercar you’ll ever own. I bought one because I will forever have an ‘automotive desire list’ firmly planted in the 90s and 2000s, as those were my formative years. But why the M5?! Well, Jeremy Clarkson sold me on it in 2006, but I had to wait 13 years before I could afford it...
Why not?! It’s not like there is a new video almost every week telling you not to buy one. Or numerous posts from owners about how unreliable they are... or that it has abysmal fuel mileage... these topics must be a snowball to keep the prices down and keep anyone not worthy away. Right? This is what I tell myself whenever I think about the SMG pump taking a dump. Or when I realize that replacing the VANOS will make my wallet go KA-BLAMOS!!!
The story to my E60 M5 purchase is much more complicated than that, it goes back many years ago to another place, and another atmosphere. It ends with fate, and a homie-hook up.
Around 15 years or so ago, I was a younger and more energetic man, living in the slummy part of Chico, CA, and working as an automotive apprentice while studying automotive technology. In these days Top Gear was a cult icon. It was not available in the USA and could only be downloaded using things like Limewire or Mozilla. The files would arrive with quality rivaling Minecraft with something resembling 8-Bit quality. The footage sometimes either edited or having sync issues with the audio, too.
Regardless! It was the best automotive programming available. Even if it was unwatchable by today’s 4k standards. One night while sitting in my dumpster quality furnished room (read: my box spring was on the floor and bigger than the mattress, a lesser-than-Ikea-quality desk, a recently ant nest occupied desktop tower, and a CRT TV that would be an eyesore in most bowling alleys) I found myself watching Jeremy Clarkson review the then new E60 M5.
The Top Gear segment on the E60 M5 was disappointing. It spent two-thirds of the segment bashing how terrible the SMG-III transmission shifted in traffic, and how the sat-nav lady yelled over every late 70s Pop band Clarkson was enjoying. I still to this day do not know why I suffered though that segment. I should have turned it off and gone back to World of Warcraft. It was uneventful, poorly humored, and not at all pretty.
Maybe I had nothing better to do that night (probably). Maybe I was trying to learn about something I thought I’d never own (not likely). Or maybe it was destiny (psh...destiny...hah!). I suffered though that segment to find Clarkson pushing the “M” button on the steering wheel and turning the whole segment on its head. His attitude completely changes about the M5. He shows the excitement of the 8250 RPM redline, the seat bolsters that close up around you, and the power level being lifted to 507 HP. I was a 20 year old man entranced by the M5. I wanted one. Clarkson sold me a car I could not afford, and one I believed I never would.
Flash forward though out the years and you’ll find a number of fun cars I’ve owned since my college days. I believe the number is at 26 vehicles at this point. The 1970 Camaro was however the breaking point. I have never lost so much money on a vehicle. It was the most emotionally driven build, most money spent, and longest downward spiraling price I’ve ever had to endure. It almost ruined me from continuing on this automotive escapade... almost.
Where to go from the Camaro... yes! Time to get something far more complicated and potentially bankrupt inducing! The BMW M5! That should solve all my problems. To anyone other than those that know me, this would be a true statement. It would be like pouring salt on an open wound. The coup de grâce of my automotive desires - my family and friends would surely see to this!
What you should know is that I do know BMW. I used to work on them for a living. I found this BMW from an excellent friend who tested the oil, kept it garaged, and washed it with Holy Water and dried it with minks fur. This one is the one you would buy if you wanted a M5.
Now I don’t want to kiss and tell but I got an excellent deal on it - a solid distance under $20,000. A seemingly cheap car with only one crash on the CarFax (clean title) and 60,000 miles on the odometer.
It also came equipped with the following aftermarket parts:
Forgestar F14 Wheels - (F)20x9.5 265/30, (R)20x11 305/30
If you’re wondering when the first break down will be, or if I’ll be writing about it - Sure, I wouldn’t do you dirty like that. Of course I’ll entertain the critics. I will tell you that this M5 will not be a daily driver. Read it again. Will. Not. Be. A. Daily. Driver. This will be a 3rd vehicle for me and taken out on occasional canyon runs, cars and coffee or car meet events, or even simply to charge the battery.
This is an expensive car. A potentially ruinous one if your commute depends on it. But, as a third vehicle, I think I’ve found one of the best. It is terribly quick, it sounds like an exotic, all the while being able to transport my children! Who’d-a-thunk that Clarkson would sell me a car going on two decades ago and it would take that long for me to take delivery?!
I am overjoyed to finally own one of my automotive heroes, sold to me by my automotive hero. I was fortunate to find the right car, at the right time, with the right price, and owned by an honest individual. When the iron is hot - it’s time to strike!