2001 BMW M5 Review

Pros & Cons

  • Stellar performance, attractive and luxurious interior, understated appearance.
  • $70,000 price tag, small gauges, understated appearance might not be flashy enough for some.
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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2001 BMW M5 is the king of all performance sedans, a classic for the ages.

Vehicle overview

BMW went and did it. After constantly improving the current 5 Series platform until it was one of the best sport sedans on the planet, they've taken the segment to an entirely new level with the radical M5. If you're already a fan of the 540i, prepare to be mesmerized by Bavaria's top performance sedan.

Starting with the 4.4-liter block from the 540i, BMW's M Division bumped displacement to 5.0 liters with a bore and stroke job. Compression is set at 11:1 (requiring the use of premium fuel, of course) and the cylinder heads are redesigned to offer greater crossflow cooling. Outfitted with the requisite double-VANOS variable valve-timing system, this engine is good for 394 horsepower. Even with the M5's 3,800-pound curb weight, zero-to-60 acceleration happens in a lightning-quick 5 seconds! But don't expect those times to happen with both hands on the wheel; the M5's only transmission is a six-speed manual.

Along with Corvette-like acceleration, the sedan features a lower ride height than you'll see on a standard 540i, aluminum suspension pieces, stiffer spring and shock rates, and 18-inch wheels with Z-rated tires. A sport mode switch on the center console will recalibrate the variable-assist power steering for increased road feel and snappier throttle response. When things get too snappy, traction control and electronic stability control are waiting to intervene (unless you've switched them off).

While paying 70 large for a performance toy might not sit well with the other half, don't forget to mention all the amenities that come standard on every M5 Sedan. Dual-zone climate control, heated leather seats with leather inserts and eight-way power adjustments, power headrests, a GPS navigation system, a 10-speaker sound system, one-touch power windows, rain-sensing wipers, etc., etc. Remember, you're not just buying a European hot rod, this car is meant for safe and secure family transportation...right?

You can customize the interior look of your M5 with a slew of no-cost options. Prefer the Nappa Heritage leather to the Nappa Point leather or the bruyere Wood Trim to the burl Wood Trim? Just check the option boxes that appeal to you. You can even delete the rear spoiler to further hide your M5's true intentions. Park Distance Control, a rear sunshade and a rear-seat pass-thru are the only extra-cost factory options, though a BMW CD changer is pre-wired and can be dealer installed for a nominal fee.

The M5 represents BMW's most capable performance car yet. It is an uncompromising sport sedan in terms of both ability and amenity. If your demands for horsepower, handling, hedonism and hip-room run to the extreme, the M5 has no peer.

2001 Highlights

BMW's top-performance sedan, the 394-horsepower 2001 M5, gets subtle exterior tweaks and a new head-protection airbag system for rear-seat passengers.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2001 BMW M5.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

You all want this, let's be honest
Town Savage,11/14/2004
4dr Sedan (4.9L 8cyl 6M)
One word describes the difference between this car and all the rest, CLASS, because it is in it's own. Interior design, comfort, safety, reliability.
BMW E39 M5 2001
4dr Sedan (4.9L 8cyl 6M)
I have owned the car for nearly 2 years now and can only praise the car as it is a joy to drive and puts a smile on my face all the time. The brakes on the M5 are the only bad point I can make about the car and I have upgraded mine to a set of AP 6 Pots which has done the job and I will feel very happy with taking the car to the ring. The M5 is a good buy with prices for big motorway mile cars as low as 11k up to £25k for mint low mileage 03 plates. Remember these cars back in 99 were £60k with no spec so a lot of them are speced up to £70k so look what you get for your money. BMW E39 M5 Register
Stellar Performance
4dr Sedan (4.9L 8cyl 6M)
This car is great. The only complaint is the horn is a bit weak. By far the best car BMW makes...
The One
4dr Sedan (4.9L 8cyl 6M)
It's a solid, bullet proof, fun, comfortable, stable, hungry, explosive. The E39 is the best M5 ever made - and that's from seasoned BMW owners. This car holds its value because it is a value. I test drove an 00 M5 w/120,000 miles on i and totally ragged. It was still selling for 18k. This is an awesome car that still bring smiles to my grill. It's destined to be a classic on par with the e28 M5. I still drool when driven properly (100+ mph)


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2001 BMW M5

Used 2001 BMW M5 Overview

The Used 2001 BMW M5 is offered in the following submodels: M5 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (4.9L 8cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2001 BMW M5?

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Which used 2001 BMW M5s are available in my area?

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Can't find a used 2001 BMW M5s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used BMW M5 for sale - 8 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $9,359.

Find a used BMW for sale - 8 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $7,399.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW M5 for sale - 1 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $9,614.

Find a used certified pre-owned BMW for sale - 5 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $8,313.

Should I lease or buy a 2001 BMW M5?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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