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The BMW M5 of 1988.

The story of the creation of the third BMW M5 generation (1998-2003) is less well known, making it even more interesting. We take a look behind the scenes.

25 August 2017

Alexander Hildebrandt.Alexander Hildebrandt.
Alexander Hildebrant, Head of Product Marketing BMW Germany.

The story of the creation of the third BMW M5 generation (1998-2003) is less well known, making it even more interesting. Alexander Hildebrandt, Head of Product Marketing at BMW Germany, was the Marketing Director at BMW M until 1998. He was also the Project Leader responsible for the BMW M5 (E39). “I well remember the discussions about the BMW M5, and how – in the eyes of some M fans – it still had a flaw,“ he said. It concerned the V8 engine, which ended the era of the six-cylinder for BMW M5. The wistfulness of the fans was understandable: after all, the engine that saw its premiere in the in the legendary BMW M1 was being discontinued. But that didn’t change the fact that the new BMW M5 was expected to once again set new standards, and for that it had to have serious power under the bonnet.


Whoever has one, loves it.
Alexander Hildebrandt

Head Product Marketing BMW Germany

You want to offer customers a real M automobile – the heart of which is the engine. The challenge: to develop an M engine from the well-regarded V8 series engine. The effort paid off, because the V8 motor is a fine specimen. It mobilises 400 hp and a powerful torque of 500 Nm at just 3,800 rpm. For the first time, electronically controlled throttle valves were installed, which can open the actuators in 120 milliseconds. In connection with the double VANOS, the responsiveness is clearly improved. Using the sport button, the commands given by the gas pedal can be even more seamlessly carried out. The BMW M5 manages a sprint between 80 and 120 km/h in just 4.8 seconds – the same amount time someone takes to fall in love.

BMW M5 side view.BMW M5 side view.

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