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The BMW M5 E60 of 2005.

The fourth BMW M5 from 2005 had an engine with a very unusual construction. Like the Formula 1 engines of the time, it was powered by a throaty V10 engine that delivered 507 hp.

30 May 2024

The BMW M5 E60 is the fourth generation of the M5 and was in many ways a departure. The concept of the sportscar as sedan, combining performance with luxury, was firmly established in 2005. The competition was fierce. The new BMW M5 thus had to be an emotional technology provider like almost no other car, a performance show, a statement of driving pleasure, whilst remaining maximally suitable for everyday use.

Progress demanded some unusual solutions in the new model: the digitalisation of many components, the obvious sportiness and above all the drive train concept. It was clear from the start that the new M5 had to surpass the performance of its predecessor. The target size for the new M5 in the USA was at least 500 bhp (SAE). In the end, the new M5 achieved 507 hp in Germany, thus ensuring the prestigious 5 was also the first number of its maximum performance figure in the USA.


  • V10 engine with high-rev concept
  • 373 kW (507 hp) at 7,750 rpm
  • 7-speed SMG Drivelogic
  • Was also available as BMW M5 Touring E61
  • Adaptive suspension for the first time


The development of the BMW M5 E60 with its S85 engine began in the early 2000s. Back then, the gold standard in motor racing was 333 cc per cylinder, in series engines 500. If we take 100 hp per litre cubic capacity as the ideal in naturally aspirated engines and a goal of 500 hp, we need five litres of capacity distributed across ten cylinders. At the time, V10 engines were seen as unusual for series vehicles, even for BMW M. This motor concept was used more in Formula 1, also by BMW Motorsport. The connection was obvious: the motor blocks for the Formula 1 engines and those of the BMW M5 E60 come from the same Bavarian foundry in Landshut. This was the only connection to the Formula 1 engine.

To make clear the later relationships: the S85 was only used in this M5 and the M6 E63. Later, the engineers used it as a basis for the development of the S65 V8 engine in the BMW M3 E90, which in principle is an S85 less two cylinders.

V10 of the M5 E60V10 of the M5 E60

8.250 rpm

is the impressive top rev speed of the 5.0 litre V10 engine of the BMW M5 E60.


The S85 is a high-rev engine of the purest kind. The short-stroke motor with 92 mm bore and 75.2 mm stroke has 4,999 cc. Its maximum power output of 507 hp is achieved at 7,750 rpm, maximum revs are a massive 8,250 rpm. Maximum torque of 520 Nm is reached at 6,100 rpm. To achieve the output of more than 100 hp per litre capacity, the developers raised the compression to 12:1. To avoid engine problems, it was decided to use complex ion flow measurement. Here, the spark plugs are given a voltage of 400 v between ignition processes. When the current flow is measured, current spikes can be registered, indicators of uncontrolled combustion processes. The reward for all the effort is an engine with a very special charm, whose sound, power and smooth running fill sports car fans all over the world with enthusiasm. The engine won numerous international prizes, including International Engine of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

Drivetrain of the M5 E60Drivetrain of the M5 E60

And the constructors were equally fastidious with the gearbox, the 7-speed SMG Drivelogic. In contrast to early SMG transmissions, this was not a retrospectively automatic version of a manual gearbox, but was designed from the start to be an automatic. A manual version was never made.

UP TO 305 KM/H.

For the first time, the BMW M5 E60 was given an adaptive suspension: the EDC. In three different modes, the driver can choose between Comfort and Racetrack settings. And BMW M was also pushing ahead with the digitalisation of engine control. The iDrive menu is controlled with the M key on the steering wheel and offers three engine programmes: P400, P500 and P500 Sport. On ignition, the M5 starts in P400 with 400 hp. If you want more, select P500 and you get full power. P500 Sport opens the throttle valves faster and shortens the time between gear shifts. The optional M Driver’s Package raised the Vmax for the first time to the electronically limited 305 km/h. True top speed? We can only guess, but the speedometer goes up to 330 km/h.


BMW M5 E60BMW M5 E60

The BMW M5 E60 accelerates from 0 to 100 kmh in 4.7 seconds and reaches 200 in 13.9. And longitudinal dynamics are not the high-performance limousine’s only strength. Thanks to the active differential lock system and precise chassis tuning, the M5 offers convincing driving dynamics and handling that can stand any comparison. Including feedback: the variable servo steering gives the driver good, direct reactions from the steering wheel and ideal control, while the series standard high-performance brakes are set for maximum deceleration.


Hitherto, BMW M5 models had been visibly distinguished from the less powerful 5 Series only in detail. This changed with the launch of the E60: besides new front and rear aprons, there were the 25 mm wider front wings, the ventilation gills on the sides, new M alloy wheels and four 80 mm-wide tail pipes for the sports exhaust system. Together with Chris Bangle’s unique design, the model at first polarized opinion – but soon developed into a character car with high recognition value.


A Touring version of the M5 was available from March 2007. Hitherto, only the M5 E34 from 1992 had been offered as a Touring model. The E61 Touring went from 0 to 100 kmh in 4.8 seconds and at 250 kmh the electronic limiter kicked in – 305 kmh were theoretically possible. As with its predecessor, the Touring model of the BMW M5 E61 is a rare sight: 19,523 Sedans and 1,025 Tourings were built.

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