But this M5 is still a spectacular way to travel and sooner or later prices will find their level, the best cars will firm up and those who know will talk of it as a ‘future classic’.
It was launched in 2005, costing £61,750 in standard form. Standard? It had 19in alloy wheels, sports suspension, gearchange paddles, a head-up display, a sat-nav, leather trim, quad pipes… we’ll stop there. More important, it had gadgets: that Power button, launch control and 11 shift modes for the SMG ’box (the fastest is seriously hard on the already overworked clutch).
The M5 was facelifted in 2007, a move that coincided with the arrival of the E61 Touring version that already incorporated the new mods. Changes included adaptive cornering lights, larger headrests and visual tweaks (daytime running lights, and LED indicators and tail-lights). Crucially, the SMG transmission gained upgraded pumps and hardware, too. Facelifted cars were released in batches over 12 months, so it’s not unusual to encounter a late-2007 M5 that is actually a pre-facelift model.
All M5s require careful buying and this E60 is no exception, so drive as many as you can. Research the M button and that 11-mode shift system, and don’t be shy about exploring the many performance permutations. An owner who won’t let you try the M button in the most extreme S6 P500S shift mode is probably terrified that you’ll expose his car’s brutalised clutch and clonky diff.
Check not only tyre wear but also whether the rubber is budget or premium, and test his knowledge of engine oils. Castrol Edge 10W60 should have been its only tipple.
Prices are all over the place but you shouldn’t have to pay more than £16,000 for a 2007-reg low-miler. Towards £24,000 is where the best late-plate BMW Approved Used cars are, before the first of the next-gen F10 M5s hove into view.
An expert’s view...
SEAN MURPHY, IRIDIUM
“I owned an E60 M5 and had a very bad experience with it. It had done 130,000 miles without problems and then all hell broke out. Granted, some was accidental stuff like a wing mirror being knocked off (£1000), but it went through three iDrive controllers and two throttle actuators (there are two at £600 each). It also needed a new clutch. Parts aren’t cheap. I was unlucky with mine, though, because generally the E60 is reliable and will do high mileages with ease — and it has the best-sounding BMW engine ever.”
BMW M5 problems - buyer beware...