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      04-05-2011, 08:43 PM   #1
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Top Gear - BMW M5: a history in pics

A week after BMW released that trailer with Dr. Segler and the M5 test mule being driven fast on snow, Top Gear made this feature about the M5 and its history in pics. It's not the most complete feature, but interesting nevertheless.

BMW M5: a history in pics

This is a history lesson.

Last week (that would be last month by now), the head of BMW's M division (Dr Kay Segler) fronted a video that contained a prototype M5 attempting to prove the righteousness of rear-wheel drive and lots ‘o power. On some snow.

It was a preview of the next BMW M5; a car which follows in some hallowed, tortured and mostly smokey tyres. And we've got them all for you right here.

From the original ‘E28' M5 to the barnstorming V10-powered leviathan, we've got pics of every M5 ever built.

The new one had better be good...

BMW M5 - 1985-1988 (E28)

Ignoring the M535i - an M-developed, 218bhp sports saloon - this is the first M5 proper. 286bhp from a 3.5-litre straight six, itself pinched from the M1. 0-60mph took 6.2 seconds and it topped out at 153mph.

As BMW itself says, the M5 was ‘hardly distinguishable' from its punier brethren ‘when considered from outside', a theme which would define this segment...

(Pictured here alongside the BMW M1)

BMW M5 - 1989-1995 (E34)

The third generation of BMW's 5-Series continued the theme of understated thuggery with the second iteration of the M5. A 3.6-litre straight-six took up duties, producing 315bhp in the first outing, later increased to 340bhp in 1992 from a 3.8-litre six-pot.

This latter unit hit 60mph from rest in a reported 5.7 seconds and went on to butt the edge of 177mph.

Sadly for Labradoodles, the nice chaps at M decided to transform the newly launched estate 5-er too, meaning an M5 Touring for the first time. Dog sick and oversteer in one potent - and pungent - combination.

BMW M5 - 1998-2003 (E39)

This is still a seriously powerful car. Seriously.

The third BMW M5 was introduced in 1998 and, at the time, packed Bee-Em's most powerful production engine in history: a 5.0-litre V8 with 400bhp. BMW reckoned it would hit 60mph in 4.9 seconds, while top speed was limited to 155mph.

BMW M5 - 2005-2010 (E60)

A 5.0-litre V10 with 400bhp made for disappointing headlines. How could two extra cylinders not yield more oomph than its predecessor?

Ah, that's because you're in ‘lurking-with-intent' mode. Press the magic ‘M' button and suddenly you've got 507bhp, 384lb ft of torque and a world of noise and magnificence.

Press that button and you'll hit 62mph in 4.7 seconds and - with the limiter removed - travel at 205mph. That, you'll agree, is quite astonishing in a four-door saloon car with a capacious boot.

Production of this has now finished (they sold 20,548 over five years), so all we're doing now is counting the days until Herr Segler reappears with the words, ‘this, meine damen und herren, is the new BMW M5'...
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