Hooniverse Asks- Which is Your Favorite BMW M5?

//Hooniverse Asks- Which is Your Favorite BMW M5?

Hooniverse Asks- Which is Your Favorite BMW M5?

You know, I do like me some BMWs. Not the current stuff mind you, that’s far too complicated and I’ve crapped stuff that’s better looking – and I have a very adventurous diet. No, I like the older stuff the best, and of those I think my favorite is the e28 M5. Yeah, that’s kind of a narrow appreciation, but damn, it’s a fun car.
The thing about M5s, hell cars in general, is that each respective generation in some way has to top the last. That’s why the Motorsport edition of the 5-series has gone from inline 6 to V8 to V10 in the matter of a little more than a decade. The next M5 drops a pair of cylinders, which is good because if they kept going the way they were a V24-powered  e78 for the 2034 model year would have just been too dang much.
Sixes, eights and tens. That makes up the 5-series M retinue of engine options over the years and perhaps you are not like me, and something with a little more room in their horsepower pants tickles your fancy. Or maybe you’re just appreciative of the car that’s the best expression of the M5 persona – be that a V8, a six or a ten.  Either way, or everyday, the best thing about Bimmers, the M5 included, is their precipitous depreciation – meaning that a car that’s six figures off the lot is worth Camry money in under five years. Is this a great country, or what?
Whatever the value or cylinder count, the M5 has proven to be an exceptional automobile, and with so many permutations over the years from which to choose, there must be one that you can call your favorite. The question is, which one?

Image source: [bimmerfest.com]

By |2011-09-30T07:00:26+00:00September 30th, 2011|Hooniverse Asks|56 Comments

About the Author:


  1. dukeisduke September 30, 2011 at 7:04 am - Reply

    My favorite is the E28 as well, and the second would be the E39.

  2. Jo_Schmo September 30, 2011 at 7:16 am - Reply
  3. tonyola September 30, 2011 at 7:18 am - Reply

    The E39 is the best-looking. The E28 is too 1972-vintage blocky for my taste.

  4. Karmatose September 30, 2011 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Having just gave one a good ogling and coat of drool last night, I'd have to agree on the E28 M5 as my favorite M5. Favorite M car of all time though is the M 635 CSi.

  5. Bret September 30, 2011 at 7:20 am - Reply

    I'm an E28 fan. There's just something special about the E28 M5. It has a more brutish presence than its followers; not that the later M5s aren't awesome. The E28 looks like a bouncy young Rottweiler waiting to play, the newer M5s are more polished and aware of themselves and their place.

  6. mudmonster September 30, 2011 at 7:30 am - Reply

    It's between the E34 & E39 M5s. The E34 was the one who walked quietly and carried a big motor. The E39 showed how much talent the BMW's M team had and was instilled into it.

  7. JayP September 30, 2011 at 7:45 am - Reply

    E34 M5- while I was in my big Audi craze, my folks bought an '89 525i. It was a very tight car and would have loved to try it out with double the power and a manual (vs 160~hp auto). It was all around a good looking car.
    I learned something today…
    The early E34 M5s came with the turbine M-System wheels, AKA 'whitewalls'. Later models came with M-System II 'throwing stars'. I assumed those were separate wheels but they were the same underlying 5 spoke alloy with different covers.

    • vwminispeedster September 30, 2011 at 8:56 am - Reply

      I learned about the E34 from Ronin and have been a fan ever since.

  8. facelvega September 30, 2011 at 7:45 am - Reply

    I'm an E28 and E34 fan, in that order– they hit the nail on the head so cleanly, though two different nails. I do like the old E12, but in that direction the old New Six was crisper and cleaner.
    I don't understand why people like the styling of the E39 so much– except for the grille, it could be a Volvo sedan or a European Honda. It's nice within the standard nineties sedan mold, but that's hardly anything to get excited about.

    • Devin September 30, 2011 at 8:22 am - Reply

      I'm with you on not understanding the appeal of the E39. In my mind, it just looks bloated, pretty much evidence that BMW needed a new design direction, and fast.

      • pj134 September 30, 2011 at 10:03 am - Reply

        Twas the last vestige of simple, bold, Teutonic square design.
        I can dig `em.

  9. Smells_Homeless September 30, 2011 at 7:46 am - Reply

    I imagine what I'm about to say won't be very popular, much like my views on diesel engines. But hey honesty counts for something, right?
    BMWs, with the rare 8-series or 6-series exception, just don't do it for me at all. I mean, sure. They're amazingly capable, and some of them are crazy fast, but they're altogether too "clinical" for me. To take a walk through the cliche garden, they ain't got no soul.
    You may now pick up your pitchforks and torches.

    • muthalovin September 30, 2011 at 9:22 am - Reply

      We are friendly, peaceful people here on the 'Verse, so there is no need for the pitchforks and torches. Just some beers.

    • mdharrell September 30, 2011 at 10:34 am - Reply

      My position is similar. A fair amount of BMW's pre-War stuff is attractive (Dixi!) and I suppose I wouldn't mind an Isetta, a 600, or a 700 (aside from the prices), but my break-even point for saying "oh, neat" is somewhere around the 1973/74 transition from little round taillights to big blocky taillights on the 2002. Even at that juncture, however, it's not that I'd want an early 2002; I'm just willing to comment favorably and keep going.
      So, which M5? Nope. Just not my thing.

      • McQueen September 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm - Reply

        I'm going to jump on this anti-BMW bandwagon I really don't understand the over abundant love for the brand . I've ridden in and drove a few and they just don't give me a car boner , sure they are nice but I know if I owned one I would flog on it and when something breaks it's gonna hurt bad , like no lube bad .

  10. Number_Six September 30, 2011 at 7:46 am - Reply

    E28 – achingly sexy, bags of character, totally pure and uncomplicated. 10mpg with only 256HP? Who cares with that ripping silk exhaust note!

    • Number_Six September 30, 2011 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      For everyone saying they think the E28 looks oddly-proportioned I say, remember when cars had windows you could see out of? Plus that jutting prow. Beautiful. Absolutely perfect. Not that the E34 is anything less than second-prettiest sports sedan ever.

  11. buzzboy7 September 30, 2011 at 8:07 am - Reply

    I vote for the e34. I think it looks the best of the older ones(can't do a new one). The E28 looks disproportional to me and the E39 is overly bulbous. Also the E34 still used a big six which is Oh So Sexy.
    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-yzlfFw7pVyo/Tl-Ylvq_WpI/AAAAAAAAA7w/36tBmJ0AKNc/s800/4415411076_6c2693a82a_o.jpg"&gt;

  12. dawescott September 30, 2011 at 8:18 am - Reply

    With the E28, E34, and E39 all making a great case for themselves to me, the E39 wins out. As my friend (and E39 M5 owner) once said, "I can take a Ferrari with my daughter asleep in the back seat." The E28 and E34 both have great aspects that built up to the E39, but, in my opinion, BMW put it all together with the E39 M5. Since then they have still been great cars, but nothing has put together the beauty, power, and soul like they did with the E39… while still being a very sensible daily driver.

  13. Alff September 30, 2011 at 8:29 am - Reply

    E34, the best looking modern sedan period.

  14. scroggzilla September 30, 2011 at 8:31 am - Reply

    I'm torn between the E24 and the E34.
    Having said that, I'd really rather have E3 3.0Si…..with some go fast bits from Schnitzer
    <img src="http://www.autoplenum.de/Bilder/P/pBMW%25203.0%2520Si%2520%25281971%2529-622510/BMW/BMW-3-0-Si–1971-.jpg"&gt;

    • facelvega September 30, 2011 at 11:59 am - Reply

      I agree about the E3– even more than the 2002, it was the model that set the style for all subsequent BMWs, or at least what was distinctive about them. Also the sedan now has charm over the E9 coupes, which are now much more likely to have been preserved and thus less interesting as a rarity.

  15. Devin September 30, 2011 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Actually, it's easier to mention the M5s I don't like. One, is the E39. I know I'm alone on this, but I'm a bit superficial and the E39 is the second worst looking 5-series (the worst is the current model). Two, is the current model, because it went backwards from a big V-10 and the front bumper annoys me.
    E28, E34 and E60 I all love for different reasons. The original, the best looking, and you can't argue with a big V-10 respectively.

    • MrHowser September 30, 2011 at 10:44 am - Reply

      You and 5 other people in this thread alone all seem to think they're alone in their non-preference of the E39.
      For me, it's a tossup between E34 and E39. As I've never driven any of them, I have to base it on looks, and those are my favorites.

      • Devin September 30, 2011 at 11:37 am - Reply

        Ah, but our non preference is for slightly different reasons.

    • buzzboy7 September 30, 2011 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      I agree. I think the e39 looks awful. Truly. Fat and round and I think my 60's ness is showing again. MAKE IT BOXY!

  16. wunno sev September 30, 2011 at 8:40 am - Reply

    I don't know how anyone can answer ought but E34.
    <img src="http://files.conceptcarz.com/img/bmw/bmw_m5_asd1.jpg"&gt;

  17. RichardKopf September 30, 2011 at 8:56 am - Reply

    Fellow Hoons, I present to you, the E12 M535i:
    <img src="http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j129/hoopd87/9355c877.jpg&quot; width = 500 >

  18. Nate September 30, 2011 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Gotta be the E28. I’m in the process of acquiring one, and while I love the E39 and appreciate the E34, nothing beats the purity and world-beating badassness of the original. I could get an E39 for a little more or an E34 for a bit less, but it doesn’t matter. I want it old school, and I want it black!

  19. Jo_Schmo September 30, 2011 at 9:04 am - Reply
    • BlackIce_GTS September 30, 2011 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      Yeah, I was going to say the Canadian M540i. I doubt the commenters on the BMW M blog would have beaten me to such an obscure choice.

  20. njhoon September 30, 2011 at 9:09 am - Reply

    For me it is the E 28 then the E 39 and stops there. After the E 39 BMWs got ugly. I rode a few times in an E39 M and 540, and boy those things haul ass, deceptively so. The E28 is quick but it is the looks that give it the nod over all of the others.

  21. NTIV10 September 30, 2011 at 9:10 am - Reply

    See the license plate for my answer. Had it for two years, only sold it because the warranty was up. I've got my eye out for a nice CPO '09 or '10 model.
    <img src="http://s1.proxy04.twitpic.com/photos/large/411343735.jpg&quot; border="0">

    • NTIV10 September 30, 2011 at 9:20 am - Reply

      (I owned two E39s M5s and an E39 528i before it. Put the V10 and the amazing E60 seats in an E39, and you've got my perfect car.)

  22. muthalovin September 30, 2011 at 9:25 am - Reply

    As far as M5's that one could find in 'murica, my choice is the e39 in black. There is one I see quite frequently on my way to the gym, and I always find myself gawking just a little at it.

  23. Mad_Science September 30, 2011 at 9:50 am - Reply

    For me, the e39 is the most meaningful to me. Its launch ended a decade of relatively boring cars, and was the first (for me) example of a sedan/wagon with supercar performance. Prior to that, it was Camaro Vs Mustang, Corvettes, Porsches, obvious sports-car-looking sports cars. After that, performance versions of otherwise normal cars have always been more attractive to me: S4, M5, XJR, WRX, etc.
    Looking at them now, they're very of their time, but any car that, 10 years on, can still hold its own from a performance standpoint, gets my respect. I would…maybe consider buying one, but maintenance really scares me.
    I wouldn't hesitate to pick up an e3 Bavaria or e12 M535, though. Classic performance sedan that I can acutally wrench on…what a concept.

    • Devin September 30, 2011 at 9:55 am - Reply

      There's an E3 Bavaria on my street that some guy is letting just rust in the wind. It makes me sad when I see it now, since it should be owned by someone who appreciates it.
      Said man also owns a new Dodge Caravan which he covered in airbrushed skulls.

      • cheapthrills September 30, 2011 at 11:44 am - Reply

        I'm sorry to admit, that I'm in (partial) ownership of an E3 Bavaria in a similar condition. It's been in my family since new, so the 30 years of daily-driving New England winters did not treat it too well. We recently put it up on blocks to undergo its third (?) refurbishment, only to discover that its unibody frame rail has a rust crack.
        The main problem is that clean examples go for $5k, and a low miles, minty one will strugglesto bring in more than $10k. Our restoration is going to be dropping money into a hole.
        That said, it's a great car to drive. Its performance is surprisingly relevant at 40 years old, though I wouldn't consider it an "M" car by any means. It is a straightforward 530i equivalent: sporty, nice ride; great engine; comfortable cruiser.

        • Devin September 30, 2011 at 12:07 pm - Reply

          If you also own a skull-covered Caravan, howdy neighbour!
          I think the thing is in his case it looks like it's a fairly clean example, but he doesn't drive it, garage it, or even cover it, so it just rots. It probably would be in really nice shape if he'd even just put it in the garage.

    • pj134 September 30, 2011 at 10:16 am - Reply

      The rare sedan that makes you take notice. It was like the original G8 GXP in a way.

      • Mad_Science September 30, 2011 at 10:35 am - Reply

        Yup. In so many ways, those cars are very close to identical.
        If we had a budget, I'd love to put them head-to-head.

  24. TurboBrick September 30, 2011 at 10:11 am - Reply

    E34 all the way. E39 may be a better car, but I find that E34 was more BMW (Whatever that means) with it's straight six engine and more leaner appearance.

  25. yellofury September 30, 2011 at 11:51 am - Reply

    E39 because it was the last M5 before it went downhill and all tech than pure unadulterated muscle
    plus it was understated with less of the showoffy go fast add ons
    I also like the E34 because it was even more understated …a true sleeper Q car
    Also I really miss the narrow kidney grille BMWs…
    It wasnt called the executive rocketship for nothing

  26. cheapthrills September 30, 2011 at 11:54 am - Reply

    I am going to vote for the E39. With that, I'd like to add that 2001 was the peak year for BMW's aesthetics. The E39, E46, Z3 Coupe, and the E38 were all the last of the attractive BMWs. The fact that 10 years later, all other cars now look like the flame surfaced BMWs of 2002+ proves that although we all bemoan their looks, these ugly cars sell well.

    • Mad_Science September 30, 2011 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      There've been a few writups making the case that Bangle's designs saved BMW from a styling rut.
      …and while I still consider the '02 7-series and reborn 6-series the ugliest cars in recent memory, I definitely buy the argument. The e30, e34, e36, e39, and e46 were all evolutions along the same very basic theme. They risked becoming Jaguar.

      • Devin September 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm - Reply

        I'd agree with that. I might not be the one to ask since I really think the E39 and E46 look bloated and horrible, but apart from my own biases, there really wasn't anywhere to go at that point. There needed to be a shakeup of some kind and Bangle did it. It wasn't the most popular move, but not only did it get BMW out of a styling rut, but it allowed other companies to shake up their designs without worrying about the response – Mercedes-Benz was particularly lost after the retirement of Bruno Sacco and it was like they needed permission to be a bit creative.
        Though the latest crop of BMWs all look really fat so I wonder if they're going to fix that problem. I really hate the new 5, it looks like a fat kid in a cake store.
        I actually liked the 7 and the 6 once I saw them in person. The 7 didn't really look handsome, but it had an intimidating presence. It just looked important, and thus the driver looked important. The 6 in person I thought was really handsome, and I briefly wanted one very much.

  27. ZomBee Racer September 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm - Reply

    I once thought it would be interesting to learn all the "E" designations.
    That lasted all about 5 minutes till I got distracted by youtube videos of building implosions.
    I CAN however tell the difference between a 318 and a Z8 though. I knew it was a Z8 because it had a vanity plate on the front that said "BMW Z8".
    Nice black car, was parked under a tree near Pacific Palisades with bird crap all over it. Weird how my mind remembers certain things.

  28. rovingardener September 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    I am really looking forward to the F10. Sure it is a luxury barge but a bleeding fast luxury barge; I have no problem with this.
    If you want to suffer for your fun by an Elise. Or better yet build a Caterham as I plan to.
    For a transcontinental transport the F10 offers few compromises and I wish to indulge myself with just such a vehicle.

  29. domino_vitali September 30, 2011 at 8:10 pm - Reply

    looks like i came back online at just the right time 🙂

  30. McQueen September 30, 2011 at 10:27 pm - Reply


  31. FrankDuke October 5, 2011 at 12:22 am - Reply

    E39, the E34 is a great car but the E39 is just better. Can't beat hanging the ass out in a big V8 saloon.

  32. yayMX5 October 8, 2011 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    <img src=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BMW_M5_F10.jpg>

Leave A Comment