BMW 5-Series E60 - Chris Bangle’s Finest
“Si stava meglio quando si stava peggio”. Italians say it all the time. It means, roughly translated, things were better when they were worse. I don’t ordinarily agree with this school of thought but in this instance, I’m going to have to make an exception to talk about the BMW 5-Series E60. My favourite 5-Series.
I distinctly remember what people used to say when Chris Bangle was design chief at BMW, I remember the criticism, but when he was in charge, you could at least tell the difference between a 5er or a 3er without having to use a ruler. And now, well, you sort of can’t. Not to mention the big grille.
The E60 was introduced in 2003, a 4.8-metre saloon with elongated fin-shaped head lights and a flat rear end. Many people criticized the looks, they said it was ungainly and ugly but it wasn’t. It was well-proportioned and, more importantly, it had plenty of character.
Over the years, the 5-Series E60 was made available with several engine options ranging from the tiny 154-hp 2-litre petrol to the 500-hp M5. You could have a diesel as well, something you can’t do these days because the world’s governments have decided diesel is evil, ranging from the 161-hp 520d to the 282-hp 535d. I never got the chance to drive the M5 but I have driven a couple of E60s, including the 535d, which had enough torque (428 lb-ft) to restart a dead planet.
I miss the old E60. And not in a “way-back-when” sort of a way, either. I miss it because it was a very good car.
And crucially, Dr. Bangle knew how to design a front grille.