6 Generations of U.S. M5 Sedans – The History

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1988 E28 M5            

Where it all began. The first M5 set the benchmark for understated performance and luxury when it arrived in the US. Powered by a 3.5–liter, 24 valve, dual-overhead–cam inline-6 engine producing 256 hp @ 6,500 rpm and 243 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm, the 3,420 lb. sedan accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds and kept going all the way up to a top speed of 150 mph. The E28 M5 was the fastest production sedan of its time and you could have it in any color, as long as it was black.

1991 – 1993 E34 M5

The second generation of M5 arrived in the US in 1990 with a brand new chassis and increased performance. The 3.5L 6-cylinder engine now produced 310 hp @ 6,900 rpm and 266 lb-ft. @ 4,750. This allowed the 3,804 lb. sedan to accelerate to 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and feature an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph. Unique to the early cars were two-piece wheels with a turbine cooling cover.

2000 – 2003 E39 M5

The first V8 M5. The third generation M5 sedan was powered by a new 5.0L, 32-valve, 4-cam. Naturally aspirated V8 producing 394 hp @ 6,600 rpm and 368 lb-ft @ 3,800 rpm. 0-60 mph was accomplished in 4.8 seconds by the 4,024 lb. while the top speed was again limited to 155 mph.  The substantial increase in torque (+100 lb-ft.) across the rev range was immediately noticeable and appreciated by owners.

2005 – 2010 E60 M5

To arrival of the V10. Mirroring BMW’s efforts in Formula 1, this generation of the M5 received a technologically advanced 5.0L V10 engine. Producing 500 hp @ 7,750 rpm and 383 lb-ft @ 6,100 rpm, the engine could rev all the up to its 8,250 rpm redline. 60 mph was reached in 4.5 seconds with an electronic limiter set at 155 mph. The 4,087 lb. E60 M5 also saw the introduction of the 7-speed SMG transmission and M drive modes; P400, P500 and S500 referring by name to the horsepower allowed by each setting.

2012 – 2016 F10 M5

Breaking with the tradition of high-revving engines of the past, the fifth generation M5 arrived with a very torque-laden, twin-turbocharged 4.4L V8. Delivering 560 hp @ 5,750 rpm and 500 lb-ft. @ 1,500 – 5,750 rpm, the new engine propelled the 4,370 lb. sedan from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds with the new 7-speed DCT transmission and in 4.3 seconds with the 6-speed manual.

2018 – Present F90 M5

The current generation of M5 sedan is the fastest and most capable M5 in history. Producing 600 hp @ 5,700 – 6,600 rpm and 553 lb-ft @ 1,800 – 5,700 rpm from its 4.4L twin-turbocharged V8, the F90 features the first all-wheel drive system to be fitted to an M passenger car. The added traction of the M xDrive system allows the M5 to sprint to 60 mph in only 3.2 seconds. Top speed is limited to 155 mph.

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At just fifteen, Kyle Edward co-founded a YouTube channel called The Oakland Car Review and that's where it all started. Over the years the channel grew, getting over 2.4 million views. Wanting to get more into writing content, he co-founded ThisIsDrive Magazine which ran for nearly one year before converting to a fully digital platform, ThisIsDrive.com. Now, Kyle both leads the website and creates videos for the ThisIsDrive YouTube channel. Having been published on automotive topics for over five years, Kyle is a truly passionate automotive journalist.