20 Years of the E60 BMW 5 Series


BMW launched the E60 5 Collection practically 20 years in the past – July fifth, 2003. It was an enormous step towards the long run, changing the growing old – however nonetheless very fairly – E39 5 Collection. The fifth era 5 Collection carefully adopted within the footsteps of the modern 7 Collection, the E65, inside and outside. It was the primary non-7 Collection to come back customary with the now-ubiquitous iDrive system and carried the torch of the Bangle-era “flame surfacing” design inherited from the Z4 and others. Twenty years later, we take a look at the contributions of one of the crucial under-appreciated BMWs ever.

Design of the BMW E60 5 Collection

E60 BMW 5 Series in Silver (M5)

You’ll be able to’t speak in regards to the E60 5 Collection with out speaking about its polarizing design. A part of the Chris Bangle period of BMW design, it was one of many earlier recipients (or victims) of the “flame surfacing” design language. Allegedly the product of a secret BMW mission codenamed Deep Blue; designers had been actually drawn to the flame for inspiration. A pure icon of unpredictably twisting traits and surprising curves, it was simply what the BMW design workforce – and Chris Bangle – was searching for. When trying on the E60 5 Collection or different flame-surfaced BMWs, it’s not possible to overlook the swoops and recesses on the physique, stretched headlights, and beltline accent line. Inspiration got here from the pure magnificence – and pure chaos – of a flickering flame.

So, what did that imply for the 5 Collection? It meant the E60 5 Collection needed to look remarkably totally different from the E39 5 Collection. The purpose was to set the model up for the long run by taking a major departure from conventional designs. Nowhere within the design is that extra evident than within the inside. A previously driver-focused inside now allowed nearly equal management to driver and passenger, due to a bigger iDrive display screen and simply accessible local weather controls. This helped enable passengers change the music or enter navigation directions.

Regardless of the design of the E65 7 Collection resulting in an almost 12,000-signature on-line petition calling for Bangle’s resignation, you’ll hear lots of people say that lots of the flame-surfaced BMWs are growing old surprisingly effectively. The E60 5 Collection – although arguably extra simply digestible than the E65 – is amongst them. Twenty years later, opinion has softened, particularly on the ultra-high-performance M5 variant.

Pioneering Know-how, Prioritized Dynamics

The E60 5 Collection didn’t simply look totally different; it superior the 5 Collection considerably. iDrive, nonetheless in its infancy, supplied onboard navigation, local weather controls, and music choice multi function place. Whereas maligned in-period, we are able to confidently say it’s top-of-the-line media interface techniques within the enterprise. A head-up show was out there for the primary time on a manufacturing BMW. You could possibly even get radar cruise management and a lane-departure system on the E60 5 Collection.

Regardless of bigger proportions, the usual E60 5 Collection weighed about the identical because the outgoing E39 5 Collection. Boasting practically 50/50 weight distribution, widespread use of aluminum within the chassis, and new tech like Energetic Roll Stabilization and Energetic Steering, the brand new automotive carried the efficiency torch of the E39 5 Collection – after which some. Automotive and Driver managed 0.90 gs on their skidpad with an early E60 530i. For reference, an E39 530i with the Sport Bundle pulled 0.82 – the modern Porsche Boxster 0.93.

Underneath the hood is among the few locations that the E60 5 Collection didn’t drastically change from its predecessor. Some would argue it was for one of the best since you bought a silky inline-six or highly effective, naturally aspirated V8 within the US. Guide or automated transmissions had been out there all through the E60 5 Collection lineup and lifecycle. The identical critics of the E60 5 Collection’ design had been enamored with the way it drove, for apparent causes.

The Unprecedented E60 BMW M5

The place the common E60 5 Collection impressed, The E60 M5 set a brand new bar. The cornerstone of the E60 M5 is its 5.0-liter V10 below the hood, closely influenced by the System 1 engine of the time. With 500 horsepower on faucet, it allowed the M5 to speed up from zero to 60 mph in simply 4.1 seconds and run 1 / 4 mile in 12.5 seconds. It additionally weighed lower than its competitors, just like the AMG CLS 55 and Audi S6. Whereas the automated-manual SMG transmission left some engagement to be desired, US prospects might even rating this tremendous sedan with a six-speed Getrag handbook.

Twenty Years of the E60 5 Collection

So, twenty years later, why is the E60 5 Collection necessary? Properly, it paved the way in which for the 5 Collection we all know as we speak. The extra tech-focused – and fewer driver-focused – cabin, for instance. It’s additionally value noting that whereas the fifth era of the BMW 5 Collection will at all times have its detractors, it’s undoubtedly incomes extra followers of its aesthetic as time passes. Historical past might repeat itself with the G8X sequence M autos. And, regardless of early criticism surrounding the E60 5 Collection, it was the best-selling model in its class 4 years in a row, promoting effectively over 1,000,000 examples worldwide.

After all, the E60 5 Collection marked the final time we’ll ever see a manufacturing V10 from BMW. It’s one of many best-sounding automobiles you will get on the secondhand market this facet of a Lamborghini. And the flame surfacing design provides the automotive a considerably fashionable look, even as we speak. To not point out the novel E60 M5 Touring that by no means got here to the US. Right here’s hoping as we speak’s BMWs age half as gracefully. Completely satisfied twentieth anniversary, E60 5 Collection.


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