BMW 550i (E60): Spotted


Car fans are notoriously fickle. They'll talk themselves blue on cars they want to buy if only the manufacturers would make them, only for those models to emerge and be left languishing on pricelists. The Toyota GT86 is the perfect example; enthusiasts wanted a rear-drive, lightweight alternative to hot hatches, which Toyota then sold fewer than 5,000 of across the EU in the three years to the end of 2018.

Manual V8s are another category. As the big cube, naturally-aspirated V8 continues its interminable decline, so a few want to keep control via a stick and three pedals. But clearly not in sufficient numbers to keep the things going; combine all that with emissions regulations and the drastic improvements in auto tech and the demise is hard to avoid. Beyond the Mustang GT, what else is currently available?


That said, it is still possible to combine the reasonably modern and usable with the traditional appeal of a big V8 and a manual gearbox. See, as an example, this E60 BMW 550i. While it is now a 10 year-old car, our recent M5 comparison revealed what a contemporary car the E60 generation remains, inside and out. Certainly those au fait with current BMW infotainment tech will be at home here.

What they'll be less familiar with, pleasingly, is the charm of a 4.8-litre V8 deemed good enough for Morgan until very recently allied to the satisfaction of a manual gearbox. BMW has never supplied the sweetest of manual gearboxes, but there would surely be enough novelty appeal in the Munich take on a muscle car to overlook that.


Moreover, any manual 5 Series is pretty rare (and therefore interesting) - let alone one with a V8. Howmanyleft suggests that there just 11 other 5 Series like this one registered in the UK, which if anything is higher than expected. There are five SE-spec manual saloons, 10 M Sport 550i Tourings and, staggeringly, three manual 550i SE Tourings - by comparison there are currently 146 550i M Sport auto saloons of this generation registered. Clearly, there are rare BMWs and then there are rare BMWs.

This particular 550 is nicely specced in carbon black with cream leather, and comes with new Pirelli tyres plus a wheel refurb, paint touch up work and wiring repairs. A car like this is surely not the kind of 5 Series where ownership is fallen into by accident, so you would have to assume a level of care and commitment that may elude the more ordinary versions. Certainly it's looking good at 109,000 miles.


Some will likely baulk at that mileage with a £12,500 price tag, but this was a near-£60k car once upon a time. And, well, it becomes a case of find another after that, really. Indeed, find another interesting four-door saloon with a manual that isn't simply an E39 M5. Which is a pretty compelling alternative, granted. Otherwise there's the odd MG ZT 260 and, er, well, that's about it.

So while the appeal of probably the most controversial 5 Series ever in one of its least popular derivatives is going to be extremely narrow, the 550i is most definitely welcome here. As a car for combining much of what we like about the old days with a good chunk of the new, it looks very alluring indeed. Try it while some are still around!


SPECIFICATION - BMW 550i

Engine: 4,799cc, V8
Power (hp): 367@6,300rpm
Torque (lb ft): 361@3,400rpm
MPG: 25.9
CO2: 260g/km
Year registered: 2008
Recorded mileage: 98,000
Price new: £N/A (optioned to £58,000)
Yours for: £12,500

See the original advert here.



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Comments (130) Join the discussion on the forum

  • VolvoMariner 13 Jan 2019

    Great car. My brother in law had one that I borrowed a few times. Spoiled by a poor Auto box, which made the car all or nothing. I always said the manual would be the one to have.

    However it was a money pit...not an easy car to sell for a decent amount, either... massive risk for private buyer and most the trade would offer you about half.I would suspect you'd need to wait a very long time to get that much for it. I think his went for closer to £7-8k in the end.

  • janesmith1950 13 Jan 2019

    Seems like a lot of money for a car two generations old with a gas guzzling engine without *that* much power these days.

    It's not going to be much fun to hustle, so why bother with the manual?

    Hence only selling new in tiny volumes.

  • Jag_NE 13 Jan 2019

    VolvoMariner said:
    Great car. My brother in law had one that I borrowed a few times. Spoiled by a poor Auto box, which made the car all or nothing. I always said the manual would be the one to have.

    However it was a money pit...not an easy car to sell for a decent amount, either... massive risk for private buyer and most the trade would offer you about half.I would suspect you'd need to wait a very long time to get that much for it. I think his went for closer to £7-8k in the end.
    In fairness to this seller, if the manual box is much better (and rarer), as the auto fetched 7-8k then this manual may not be too badly priced. Very niche car however so it’s hard to apply exact science.

  • Genuine Barn Find 13 Jan 2019

    I owned a 545i E60 a couple of years back. Ok, so it was an Auto, but it had that peach of a V8 under the bonnet and lower miles than this car.

    I paid £4500 for mine.

    As nice as this car is, the price is a touch optimistic (to say the least). You could pick up an M5 E60 for a little bit more if you got lucky at the auctions. (Our Le Mans car in 2017 was an E60 M5 with a massive spec - my friend paid £12,500 for it after putting in a cheeky bid).

  • s m 13 Jan 2019

    article said:
    “......Indeed, find another interesting four-door saloon with a manual that isn't simply an E39 M5. Which is a pretty compelling alternative, granted. Otherwise there's the odd MG ZT 260 and, er, well, that's about it......”
    Vauxhall VXR8

    Manual box

    Vauxhall VXR8 V8 430BHP | 61000 MILES | FULL | Full Service History https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2...


    Edited by s m on Sunday 13th January 09:17

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