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      11-07-2019, 06:08 AM   #28
CSBM5's Avatar

Drives: 2019 M2 Comp, 2011 M3, etc
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Greenville, SC

iTrader: (1)

Like KevinM above, I bought an E39 M5 in early 2004 and owned it for over 14 years. I did just about everything an enthusiast could do with the car (except daily drive it, lol). I had actually ordered and bought a new 2002 540i/6spd which is what started me immediately hunting an M5. The final few years it wasn't being driven more than 300 miles/year, so I decided it was time for it to move on to someone who would enjoy it also (sold on BaT in 2018).

The steering box has a quicker ratio between the M5 and 540i, and that part is immediately noticeable between the two. Overall, the M5 steering is both great and blah at the same time. Of course here in almost 2020, if you sample an M5 in order to truly evaluate the steering you really need a box that isn't worn (super low miles car or replacement), new center track rod, new tie rods, new thrust arm bushings...if any of these have issues, it only makes sense it won't feel it's best.

The steering in the E39 M5 is both great and blah at the same time. With essentially new components, the M5 still is so-so around center with some minor play, etc. Turn-in sharply from center isn't as sharp as many would like; however, a good portion of that play is actually in the thrust arm bushings which when replaced with monoballs becomes immediately apparent. However, it can't compete with a good steering rack overall, but I'd wager it's probably the best recirculating ball steering box ever produced.

The great part of the steering is when you are tracking/autocrossing the car and driving it at/over the limits of adhesion. It loads up nicely as contact patch side loads increase, you get nice feedback in the wheel as you are approaching the peak of the front tires, etc. Overall, you "know what's going on down there" when you're extracting the maximum the car is capable of giving (and myself and my daughter spent many events doing so driving the M5 over all those years). There are no shenanigans in those conditions; no variable ratio to deal with, no insulation from the contact patch, just nice connected communication.

I've said it since I bought the M5 almost new: it will go down in history as one of the single best all-around M-cars BMW ever built. Put yourself back 20 years ago. What else even came close to the M5? Heck, it was only a few tenths of a second slower to 100mph than a Ferrari 360 Modena back in 2000, yet it was quiet, sat 4 (or 5) people, large trunk, and would return mid-20s gas mileage cruising all packaged in a sedan body shell that set world records at the time for torsional and bending rigidity for a sedan that size. The feel of the 8 individual throttle bodies on the S62 was heaven 20 years ago and still is today; that precise torque management your left foot could do -- priceless, especially with the tail hanging out wide and the S62 wailing. (gotta stop here before I write a book)
Current Stable:
2019 F87 M2 Competition 6MT, LBB, slicktop, exec pkg
2011.5 E90 M3 6MT Silverstone II, slicktop, Dinan/Eibach, Apex 9.5/10.5x19 with PS4S
2007 E91 328i Silver, slushbox, Eibach fr/E93 M3 rear sway bars, 219Ms
1975 CanAm 125MX2, stock, original owner