RE: BMW M5/M6 (E60/E63): PH Buying Guide

RE: BMW M5/M6 (E60/E63): PH Buying Guide

Monday 5th June 2017

BMW M5/M6 (E60/E63): PH Buying Guide

Very far from perfect, but we won't see its like again - here's how to buy a V10 M car



Those with a faint disposition and weak wallet may want to look away now. The V10-powered M5 and M6 may seem like tempting value from as little as £11,000, but this pair can be ruinously expensive to run and have shattered the dreams and bank balances of many.

Mmm, bronze
Mmm, bronze
But hang on; they're 5.0-litre, V10-engined BMW M cars with 507hp, which can crack 0-62mph in 4.7 seconds, and have a derestricted top speed of 205mph. Surely that should have us all rushing to the bank, and then on to the nearest purveyor of such machinery?

Just like the car itself, it's complex. When it was launched in 2005, the E60 M5 was shocking; outrageously different from what had gone before. No more woofly V8, but instead a 10-cylinder motor that sounded rather coarse at idle and glorious at full tilt. The M6 coupe and convertible that arrived the following year were just as swift. The M5 Touring, the first and so far only M5 wagon offered in right-hand drive, came in 2007, but all models divided opinion.

Why? The SMG 2 gearbox used in all three models, which had no less than 11 settings for how fiercely it would fire through its seven ratios. The automated manual was also not always the easiest to live with when you weren't going gangbusters. And then the reliability issues cropped up. Not what you expected with a near-new BMW, and the reason that the USA was offered a six-speed manual alternative which never made it to the rest of the world.

A 2006 fix with the SMG 3 'box sorted most of these woes, but the exotic V10 also started eating its con-rod bearings. And there were electrical glitches to contend with too.

Where your money goes (and will continue to)
Where your money goes (and will continue to)
Even so, there was still much to commend the M5 and M6. Not least their performance, of course, but also the superbly balanced handling, and steering that did away with the electric assistance of the standard models in favour of a more touchy-feely hydraulic set-up.

A facelift in 2007 brought LED indicators, daytime running lights and adaptive cornering illuminations, along with some tweaks to cabin comfort. Even so, this generation of M5 and M6 has not enjoyed the strongest residual values, hence that £11,000 entry price for an M5 saloon at the time of writing. You'll need £1,000 more for the M6 in coupe form, while the convertible gets going at £18,000. Rarest and most coveted of the lot is the M5 Touring, and you'll pay upwards of £20,000 for that privilege. Each offers astonishing pace and handling in a car with great everyday practicality. However, you will need to factor in a large contingency budget - don't say you've not been warned.


PHer's view:
"In terms of reliability it has been faultless. I've read plenty of nightmare stories on the forums so I've had the BMW warranty in case of anything untoward."
SB


Buying Guide contents:
Introduction
Powertrain
Rolling chassis
Body
Interior
At a glance

Search for BMW M5s in the PH classifieds
Search for BMW M6s in the PH classifieds

 

 

Author
Discussion

Schermerhorn

Original Poster:

3,463 posts

120 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
Had an M6 coupe for 18 months. Loved it and hated it in equal measure. Not really keen to experience it ever again.

helix402

3,684 posts

113 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
A friend of my Dads was so upset by the reliability of his that he sold it for a 2000 Honda Accord.

coanda

1,988 posts

121 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
Schermerhorn said:
Had an M6 coupe for 18 months. Loved it and hated it in equal measure. Not really keen to experience it ever again.
Would you mind expanding on this? I have the M6 on my 'to do' list. Is it really that bad that it couldn't be an occasional V10 fix?

FN2TypeR

5,386 posts

24 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
I would love one of these, they are awesome, it would have to be an estate too

Alas, I am too weak and feeble to buy such a beast, due to its legendary status as a wallet emptier

Truckosaurus

6,464 posts

215 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
Former M5 Touring owner here. Loved my time with it, but glad to have sold it before the warranty expired and to have owned it for 18 months without having to buy any brakes or clutches.
Advertisement

Helicopter123

3,074 posts

87 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
BMW's 'afla romeo'.

Mostly a wallet-raping tale of woe and unreliability, punctuated by that odd moment when it all works and that glorious v10 makes it all worthwhile.

Special bravery award to anyone buying an early one for £11k...

SkinnyPete

1,025 posts

80 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
I would love one of these, that engine is incredible.

Would chop my left arm off to drive one round the Nurburgring smile

MDMA .

3,997 posts

32 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
Would love a late Touring. Not brave enough thoughfrown Be a bit like having a Russian lap-dancer as a girlfriend. Exciting and dangerous at the same time.

iSore

3,425 posts

75 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
The sheer cost of fixing these is eye watering. Not just the clutch and brakes, but the bit under the bonnet. Low oil pressure to the vanos units? Probably a porous feed pipe - 15-20 hours to repair. At £2000, it's one of the less expensive fixes. I used to work at a main dealer when these were current, a non stop litany of dramas.
Great engine when it works (apart from 13 mpg), shame about the rest of it.

ambuletz

6,828 posts

112 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
helix402 said:
A friend of my Dads was so upset by the reliability of his that he sold it for a 2000 Honda Accord.
Don't they have gearbox issues? From what I've read on here. The accord that is.

Dr Nookie

87 posts

131 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
SkinnyPete said:
I would love one of these, that engine is incredible.

Would chop my left arm off to drive one round the Nurburgring smile
You'd better get the SMG then...

Kierkegaard

993 posts

29 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
There was a cheap M6 kicking about on autotrader - had no MOT because of emissions and obviously the trader wanted rid. I believe it was on here somewhere too. You have to wonder why £60k+ wiped off the value in the space of 10 years ouch..but I guess pat for the course for top line German cars

A car I'd love to drive but hate to own.

Plate spinner

12,663 posts

131 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
An ex-boss had a saloon version from new.

He liked a lot of the time, but it left him stranded twice with various electrical problems that effectively put the car into full on sulk mode.

He was a well off guy but even he got annoyed with the mpg, in particular the range. Complained he was foverever filling it up. The minute the warranty ran out he chopped it in, took a bath on the depreciation but said that whilst he was pleased he'd owned it he'd not do it again or recommend it to others.

So not the most flattering review really. Can't say I'm that drawn to them. My interest in the M5 peaked at the e39 and I'd rather throw money into a good one of them than an e60.

Gandahar

5,531 posts

59 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
Being asthmatic I cannot run a mile from this sadly.

All these german cars are getting more and more expensive to run as the years roll past.

Bargain barge to buy, arm and a leg and a kidney to run.

Having said that, worthwhile buying one for a Q car track day weapon and if it goes pop do a runner whilst they are still putting it on the car transporter and cleaning the track.


Real men own one of these and an RX7.

Edited by Gandahar on Sunday 4th June 16:56

elms

1,911 posts

183 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
My old car

https://www.gilescooperautomotive.co.uk/bmw-m6-5.0...

I loved it but hated the fuel economy. How a slippery shaped car with an engine that's big but not 7.0 Dodge Viper size big can be so bad. But the engine is a gem, the gearbox is great when you learn how to get the best out of it.

I missed it the second I sold it.

Truckosaurus

6,464 posts

215 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
To put some numbers out there, I ran my M5 Touring for 18 months, and it averaged out at a little under £500 a month to run (depreciation, tax and servicing) with a BMW AUC warranty covering a couple of issues.

I'm sure there are people spending that on leasing a diesel 3- or 5-series.

As for the fuel economy. The trip computer suggested an average of 15-16mpg rising to 18mpg on a motorway cruise. Range was poor, you'd have to plan on stopping every 200 miles. From memory, the 'distance to empty' gauge would stop displaying with a decent percentage of fuel remaining so you'd have to be brave to push the limit.

That said, you'd get in the habit of stopping for fuel at the start of any journey of any length, I think the only journey where I had to stop again before getting to the destination was the trip to Le Mans.

Leins

6,503 posts

79 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
Scary-ass bills, something I've had with M-cars in the past but these seem to be in a different league

Those mad folks at Hartge had their usual unusual twist on things with this engine (turned up to 550hp in this case):


ianwayne

1,721 posts

199 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
Having recently sold a TVR Chimaera that I had for over 3 years, I was looking at what car I could have with similar performance for similar money (under £15k) and the M5 I already had an eye on. Especially since the E39 M5s are now still over £10k, so they wouldn't depreciate much more would they? frown I'm used to a car that needs constant attention but the faults I've read here are eye-watering. I had been tempted by this:

http://www.autotrader.co.uk/classified/advert/2017...

The pre-March 2006 cars are over £200 p.a. cheaper for VED but that pales into insignificance at what appear to be several bugs in the early ones. I think I'll give it a miss... for now.

threadlock

2,717 posts

185 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
I looked at the classifieds after reading this, wondering what my next everyday car might be when the lease hack goes back in November. 4.9 0-60, 155mph, 18mpg. Tempting.

Then I read the thread of comments.

Everybody's saying these things are a massive risk. Fair enough. It's a 500bhp monster. It's going to be highly-strung. It's going to be expensive to run. It's going to break.

Except my 2010 Jaguar XKR isn't. 0-60 in 4.6s. 21mpg. 503 bhp. Perfectly reliable. No Achillies heel. No Vanos, no fragile gearbox. Different body style and practicality, of course, but why does the BMW deserve the love? Jaguar managed to do everything the BMW does but with none of the hassle or expense.

I don't get it. XFR?
http://www.autotrader.co.uk/car-search?sort=price-...

BFleming

649 posts

74 months

Sunday 4th June 2017
quotequote all
Leins said:
Those mad folks at Hartge had their usual unusual twist on things with this engine (turned up to 550hp in this case):

An E90 H50 with the S85 V10. I'd love to know how many they built/sold...

Edited by BFleming on Sunday 4th June 23:07