What it's like owning an E60 M5
In short, it's like having a caged cougar in the garage; it's exciting to play with, it makes a great noise, but at any point, it might eat you alive.
The creature I brought home.
On any bright and sunny day, I might decide to take out my 2006 BMW M5 (E60) for a quick jaunt into town. Boots won't do, they're far too wide - I decide to wear loafers. I grab the comfort access key and head to the garage. As I enter, the sounds of fury begin to pierce my eardrums - she's angry, I haven't fed her for the last few weeks.
I tip-toe into the room - all the while thinking about how everyone tried to steer me away from this fearsome creature. 'Get an elephant or a thoroughbred horse, get anything else!' they said. I didn't listen. I decided to listen to the one guy I knew who had such a fearsome creature. He said there was no larger rush, no bigger test of character than keeping an animal like this.
She hasn't seen me yet. She knows I'm close. She can smell my fear. I can hear her start to pace quicker in the enclosure. I round the corner into view. There she sits, perched atop her cage. She sees me. I see her. The bones of the last meal are strewn around with bits of hair. Her eyes are wild, ready for a fresh meal. I swallow hard. My breath becomes shallow. Climbing into the cage is always a bit precarious - she might mistake me as the next meal and not take the tribute of pork hindquarter.
I lock eyes with her to watch her slightest movement. At any point, this thing might kill me. Or worse, leave me maimed - left for dead. At best I get out of the room without a scratch. Last time she bit me. Not hard enough to cause for alarm, just enough for my wife to scold me for my carelessness. What an idiot I thought - you bought a god damned killing machine! The hell was I thinking!
I drop the meat on the ground. Slowly I retreat from the cage. My arms are wide in an effort to intimate the beast. My larger stature is no distraction. She's hungry. She doesn't care about the reading I've done in animal psychology, the hours of research or the dexterity of my hand. She is in control. She knows it.
My heel is elevated, to prevent tripping on the unseen hazards, as I exit the cage. She puts her head down and makes her way to the meal on the concrete. 'I've made it', I think to myself as I start to turn my shoulders towards the exit. The growl began at an ear-piercing screech. It ended with a low gravelly-like conclusion that shredded my soul. No! No!! No!!! She's AFTER ME!
As her incisors pierce my neck, I thought about screaming for help, but I didn't want that to be the last thing my wife hears as I die a nasty death on the cold, grey concrete. I instead decide to strike the beast, but my arms won't move. I can live with my choices if I can just survive! My instinct to live becomes my sole driving force, but I'm paralyzed. I can't move. Let me at least fight back! I panic... but then...
"Honey! It's time to get up!" my wife shouts from the other room. It's morning. My neck hurts, but clearly not from an animal bite. I shrug off the fears and make my way out to the kitchen for some coffee. "Aren't you driving the M5 to work today?" she says. It all makes sense now - the car, the creature.
I grab the key for the M5 and make my way to the garage. 'This is all too familiar', I think to myself. I round the corner into the garage and remove the car cover. The signature beep indicates the car is alive and now unlocked. I sit down, close the door, and push the start button. The car screams to life with the echo from the garage quickly reaching the neighborhood.
I gently rub the steering wheel with both hands simultaneously. 'Be a good girl today won't you? None of that check engine light non-sense. And let's keep it between the ditches. What do you say M5?!' I say as I begin backing out of the driveway. The car never responds immediately, unless I coax the answer from it. The conditions for a spirited drive are ideal. I aim for the highway and give her the beans - today is a great day.
Bad dreams, worries, and anxiety aside...
In all seriousness, this car is something that needs to be respected. The stories you've heard are true - just not for everyone. I am still waiting for my M5 to rip off my arms and beat me to death with them. It hasn't happened... yet. The fact these cars are expensive isn't anything shocking. Mine was north of $90,000 in 2006 money - so it's a bit more than that now.
I picked my car up from a friend for less than $20,000. He was a meticulous owner. All services were done on time. All the parts and fluids were OEM or better. If there is a better M5 owner, I haven't met them yet. Sadly, I am not as meticulous as he is. The car currently needs an oil change, brake fluid flush, and probably something else... it's written down somewhere.
I have had a check engine light pop up from time to time. The air temperature sensor is giving up the ghost, but it's uncommon for it to illuminate, and simply clearing the code, for now, is enough effort I want to put into it to fix it for now. I'll get around to replacing it - probably when something else goes awry so I have an excuse to 'do it while I'm there'.
Being there haven't been any super-expensive fixes in my ownership, I'll chalk it up to the fact the previous owners have been saints. These cars aren't known for being the most durable, and that is especially true when they're owned by hamfisted, knuckle-dragging, mouth breathers of the lowest quality. If you want an M5, vet the owner almost as closely as the car.
The car itself is comfortable. Mine is less than that as the 305mm rear tire enjoys rubbing ever-so-slightly on the rear fender's inner lip. This causes me to leave the suspension in 'sport' which is the rough, kidney-punching ride quality. I've considered going to a 295mm rear tire on the 20x12 rear wheel, but I haven't convinced myself I need to spend the $600 right now - the used tires will be for sale for any of you 911 or Z06 owners!
For any of you who say this car is essentially a 'quicker 5-series BMW', you are not far off. It does everything the average 5-series will do, just faster, more unreliably, and exponentially more expensive. I am averaging 10.9 miles-per-gallon. No, I do not have an Italian right-foot, but I do enjoy the noise it makes above 6,000 rpm.
How fast does it go? It really doesn't matter except to the most skillful drivers or anyone who enjoys shouting numbers for number's sake. The car has around 550 horsepower with the M-button activated, with the extra ponies coming from a reflash, intake, and exhaust. I think that's more than enough - I've had just as much fun with less. When you have an M5, the joys are higher, the lows are lower, and death comes for you just a bit quicker.