BMW E39 M5 - today's auction tempter

By: Unique Cars magazine

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Brute in a suit

Collecting Cars currently has a BMW E39 M5 on the market for another 24 hours - a model you don't see being offered in any quantity.

The harsh reality of the local classic market is a chrome bumper Aussie Ford GT is worth substantially more, even though the M5 is on the cusp of classic status and is on a different planet when it comes to performance.

We drove one recently and walked away deeply impressed with how quick and capable it remains on a tight and twisty back road, even though it's a model first launched back in 1998.

The 4.9lt V8 claimed 294kW (just shy of 400 horses) and 500Nm, driving a six-speed manual. Top speed was limited 250km/h, though an unrestricted test mule was said to be good for 300.

In any case, the model has its fans. Among them is MOTOR magazine Editor Andy Enright, who in a 2020 piece for Wheels magazine listed it as one of his top three M cars. 

He said: "Make the effort to track down a good BMW E39 M5 and it still has the ability to make many modern super-sedans seem long on window dressing and short on nuanced chassis engineering. The M5 was a case study in how to transition a hand-built sensibility onto a line-built car. It was purposeful, athletic and charismatic, and now, as we crave feedback, delicacy and authenticity more than ever, its light only burns brighter."

As for the car up for auction, it's a 1999 version claiming 176,000km on the odo and overall good condition. Bidding is at $47,750 with a day to go.


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