Up: Very fast, very comfortable, very subtle
Down: Some outdated tech
Neutral: A non-flashy car that could lap a flashy one
Every time I’m in Minneapolis I try to shoe horn in as many car related activities as possible. A couple of months ago I headed up to the City of Flour and Sawdust to cover the Twin Cities Auto Show, do an insane photoshoot with Minnesota Exotics & Supercars, and thanks to Steve Miller, spend an evening with this beauty.
Steve’s vehicle of the week was this 2007 BMW M5 and when you get the opportunity to drive an M5, you take it. For the BMW sticklers, this is the E60 model and 2007 was right in the middle of its production run. But I don’t really care about the particulars, I wanted to know how “the ultimate driving machine” really drove. So I put in my Bluetooth headset, buttoned up my dress shirt, and climbed in.
The first thing you’ll notice is that, at a glance, there is nothing special about the M5 at all. It looks like a normal large sedan. Sure it has bigger wheels and plenty of “M” badges, but it definitely won’t stand out in a crowd. The interior is largely unchanged as well. Not to say it’s ugly, it’s a very good looking sedan, but BMW has gone through great lengths to keep any changes from the standard 5-Series subtle.
Now, under the hood is a completely different story. The E60 doesn’t have the puny 4.4 liter turbo V8 in the current M5, it has a gigantic 5 liter V10 engine. The sound is full, the acceleration is intoxicating, and the top speed is over 150 mph. Sure mankind can now easily tap more power out of smaller engines, but it just isn’t the same. Also, once this car starts accelerating it doesn’t stop until you reach the Moon!
Engine aside, one of the most rewarding parts of the M5 is driving it. Rowing through the nearly perfect 6-speed manual transmission (yes it comes in a manual!) makes you feel like you have control over all of the power all of the time. And speaking of control, the seats help you stay in it. If you’re taking a hard left, the right bolster adjusts to hug your side, and if you’re taking a hard right, well, you guessed it. It’s as if this entire car is telling you, “It’s OK buddy, go ahead and drive fast. I’ll take care of you.”
Speaking of fast, I haven’t even mentioned the “M” button yet! It’s a normal looking button on the steering wheel that you can press to turn a normal M5 into a widow maker. The “M” stands for “Motorsport” and it’s BMW’s division for racing. Normally you cruise around on a measly 400 hp, but you get access to the full 500 hp and quicker throttle response once the button is activated. If you want a little customization with your M Button you can do so from the iDrive menu but I didn’t fiddle with that. Give me all or nothing baby!
Now for the nitpicky portion of the review. Every part of this car would fit right in on a 2016 car lot except for two features. One is the GPS but that’s to be expected. It feels and looks 10 years old, as it should, so I won’t get into it. The other part was the gauge cluster. Not really the gauges themselves (those are pretty cool) but what’s in between them. The tiny screen on the lower half and the standard warning light display at the top just seems sloppy to me. Normally I wouldn’t bring it up but I know BMW could do better, even in 2007.
At the end of my time with the 2007 BMW M5 I wanted it. It was even for sale but I didn’t pull the trigger. It was so fast, super comfortable, both the stereo and exhaust sounded great, and it had tons of room. After you wade through all of the businessman and white collar jokes, the M5 just makes sense. When I’m older and wiser I would be stupid to overlook an M5, even one from 2007.