How does the E39 M5 compare to the Monaro?
I've always been seriously tempted by the Bmw
Good question. I'm not sure I'm overly qualified to answer yet given I'm some way from fully knowing the M5 yet. I should also caveat that the M5 has twice the miles my Monaro had and there is no guarantee that my particular M5 is a 'good one'. Although it seems mechanically sound enough.
Power wise it feels the same. I've yet to go through the fuel flow tests etc to see if all the sensors are delivering me the full oompfh but bum on seat - it doesn't feel far off. Not surprising as it has the same horsepower as the monaro.
But it revs higher. I don't get the sense of 'immediate go' the Monaro had. The M5 wants to be rev'd just a little bit more. Gearing is different as well, much higher rpms in 6th at 70 etc.
I don't find it as refined - which surprised me - it wants you to drive it hard and whilst the ride is comfortable I do find road and cabin noise worse. I have a wheel bearing on the way out, haven't replaced the diff + gearbox oil yet and the monstrous rear tyres are cheap ones - all of which may be causing a bit more cabin noise than should be there. The Monaro purred like a kitten in comparison.
Long waffle aside, here's a quick pro's / cons of the m5 over the monaro
+ As quick. Possibly more once you know how to wring it's neck.
+ Waaay more grip. It's not comically under tyred like the Monaro. I have wads more traction in the M5 with it's cheap ditchfinders on the rears than I ever had with the Monaro on it's expensive Dunlop's. This may, though, be a bad thing if you like the Monaros twitchy character.
+ Traction control that actually works and doesn't decide to think about kicking in until you're upside down, backwards in a ditch.
+ All the toys in the cabin and upgrading is trivial thanks to the modular bus nature of the the audio and nav kit.
+ Half the price.
+ Parts are trivial to source. Very strong aftermarket sector, mountains of web pages and you tube videos for DIY.
+ Dealer network will still look after them if you want. They won't think you're talking about a Movano / there aren't only a half dozen approved specialist dealers in the UK to look after them. Loads of BMW specialists about. In summary - dead easy to get them looked after even if you don't live next to a monkfish.
+ Ignoring the Monaro being tail happy - much more assured chassis. Feels very planted but does feel like a heavy car. I'm not as worried diving into corners as I was in the Monaro.
+ Much easier to live with day to day. This will be preference I guess but without the sport button pressed (so slacker throttle response, full power steering assist) the M5 is completely docile around town. Easy to forget what's lurking under the bonnet it's so manageable. Coupled with better all round visibility and it's much easier to handle in tight spaces. Perfect for my OH to just tootle around in and, if I'm honest, me for parking as well.
+ Revs higher so makes a fantastic noise once you get up the range. The Monaro growled this things roars. * stock exhausts on both the cars.
+ Bigger boot
- Feels like an old car. I don't know if this is just the miles on mine, but it just feels less modern than the Monaro. Odd as I think the platforms are actually pretty much the same age? I do have the wood interior trim though which perhaps makes it feel older than it should
. Pipe and slippers are in the glovebox.
- I personally get on well with lots of lowdown grunt. Having to rev the M5 higher is something I'll have to get used to. This doesn't mean the M5 is slow down the rev range but it's different.
- As above doesn't feel generally as refined as the Monaro. This is the biggest surprise; I thought there would be far less drama with the M5.
- Doesn't look as good
- Potentially much more expensive to run. Far more complex than the Monaro.
- Not as rare or as special as the Monaro. Far more people know what an M5 is so you may get more reaction but the Monaro tended to catch proper enthusiasts who were very excited at seeing one.
- I thought the Monaro had problems with rust...nothing on this.
Not sure if that helps. I didn't get on with the Monaro because it was billed to me as 'costs 10p to run, parts are dead easy'. I actually found I forked out a reasonable chunk keeping it on the road and had to scrabble for some parts myself. That's probably reflected in the above positives for the M5 - the fact I can just throw this at one of the many BMW indies and / or have dozens of next day delivery uk parts outlets to pick from is a big bonus to someone like me who will never spanner it themselves. It was never a huge problem with the Monaro but my expectations were set from the off and it fell short which never quite sat right.
I'd be careful if you're thinking of swapping, they're much more different than I anticipated. I couldn't say one is better than the other as I think other than having 400bhp V8's they're quite different cars.
The M5 is a great car though and it's overall ease of ownership and driving (if not the cost!) means I'll get on very well with it.
The Monaro was a great car too though, just in different ways. Definitely drive the e39 if you find yourself thinking about changing.