Used 2006 BMW M5

2006 BMW M5
List price range
2006 BMW M5


  • Stunningly fast V10 engine, extremely well-balanced chassis, elegant driver-focused cockpit, exceptional build quality, strong resale value.


  • SMG transmission not always perfectly smooth or responsive during hard driving, iDrive system still a hassle, tinny exhaust note not worthy of such a great machine.
BMW M5 years

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2006 BMW M5 is once again king of all performance sedans and a classic for the ages.

vehicle overview

Originally introduced in 1972, the BMW 5 Series has spent the last three decades catering to those who desire a sedan that functions equally well as a prestigious luxury car and a thoroughbred performance sedan. The 5 Series has long been the benchmark by which other sport sedans are measured. And how does one make such a good car even better? Slap a BMW Motorsport badge on it. Well, that and all the good things that go with the badge, too.

The 2006 BMW M5 fun starts under the 5 Series' hood where an all-new 5.0-liter V10 resides. Power is prodigious: 500 horsepower at 7,750 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 6,100 rpm, with a sweet 8,250 rpm redline. About the same weight as the previous V8-powered M5, the 2006 version is a great deal faster. BMW claims a 0-to-60-mph time of about 4.7 seconds, likely a conservative estimate. The transmission is all-new, as well. Now in its third generation, BMW's famous sequential manual gearbox (SMG) has seven speeds and is faster and smoother than before. An array of 11 different settings control shift point and speed, as well as clutch slip; the SMG can go from boulevard auto tranny cruiser to hammer-shifting redline blasts with the push of a button.

The BMW M5 chassis gets a bit more back-to-basics than the standard-issue 5 Series -- there's no active steering, active roll bars or run-flat tires. What you do get is a tweaked suspension setup and massive brakes (14.7-inch discs in front). The M5 also adds an Electronic Damper Control that lets the driver choose between three suspension settings -- comfort, normal and sport.

Styling changes inside and out are subtle. Unique fascias and wheels set a unique look for the exterior. Inside you'll find the trademark BMW Motorsport leather seats and decidedly sporty trim pieces. Unique to the M5 is an optional head-up display, which displays the typical vehicle data, as well as color-coded tach display to assist the driver with perfectly timed shifts. Glorious as the 10-cylinder engine is, the M5 is more than just a fast 5 Series. A true super-sport sedan, the 2006 BMW M5 sacrifices nothing in the way of performance while providing a surprisingly compliant ride in quieter moments. Five hundred horsepower never felt so good.

2006 BMW M5 configurations

A high-performance variant of the midsize 5 Series, the 2006 BMW M5 sport sedan comes in one trim level only. Standard equipment includes lightweight 19-inch alloy wheels with 255/40ZR19 performance tires in front and 285/35ZR19 meats in back, HID adaptive headlamps, automatic climate control, a leather interior, heated and power-adjustable sport seats with driver memory, a sunroof and Bluetooth compatibility. The iDrive vehicle management system is also standard, as is a DVD-based navigation system with voice command. On the audio side, buyers get a premium-grade Harman Kardon Logic 7 sound system with 13 speakers and a glovebox-mounted CD changer. Other options to consider include 18-way multifunction seats with active backrest width, ventilated seats, a full leather interior with Alcantara headliner, satellite radio and a versatile head-up display. Aluminum interior trim is standard, but wood is available at no extra charge.

2006 Highlights

The high-performance M5 returns to the BMW lineup for 2006, this time packing a 500-horsepower V10 engine.

Performance & mpg

The BMW M5 features a 5.0-liter V10 engine that generates a heady 500 horsepower at 7,750 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 6,100 rpm. Routing power to the rear wheels is BMW's seven-speed sequential manual gearbox (SMG), a sophisticated transmission that combines the control of a manual gearbox with the ease of an automatic. The SMG includes 11 shift programs as well as a launch control mode that primes the M5 for drag strip challenges.


Standard safety equipment includes a head protection system and seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the front seats. Side-impact airbags for rear passengers are optional. A stability control system (BMW's DSC) programmed for performance driving is also standard, as are massive four-wheel disc brakes with electronic brake proportioning, cornering and stability enhancements. The BMW 5 Series was named a "Best Pick" in IIHS frontal-offset crash testing.


The 2006 BMW M5 is an extremely balanced machine that can handle aggressive driving maneuvers as well as it does dilapidated highways. The Electronic Damping Control system allows the driver to choose between three suspension settings: comfort, normal and sport. As expected, the M5 exhibits precious little body roll in sport mode along with excellent turn-in, while in comfort mode it's actually quite compliant, with the suspension swallowing all but the harshest bumps. Engine performance is absolutely outstanding as the V10 spins to its 8,250-rpm redline faster than the driver can find words to describe it. Sadly, a tinny exhaust note accompanies the experience. And although the SMG delivers expert gear changes most of the time, occasionally it's a bit slow on the draw when the driver summons maximum warp speed.


The driver-oriented M5 cockpit greets passengers with a dignified show of luxury and performance appeal. The multifunction iDrive interface integrates the audio, climate and navigation systems, and can also store the driver's personal settings for the car's stability control and adaptive damping systems. Build and materials quality is outstanding. Supportive seating is provided in both the front and rear, and even adults won't mind sitting in the backseat.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2006 BMW M5.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Don't Make the Same Mistake!
I bought an 06 BMW M5 in May with 68,000 miles. On the drive home, the oil cooler broke and started leaking oil. That was a $1500 repair, an addition to the money I just spent purchasing the car and approximately $1000 in taxes. A few weeks later, the passenger restraint malfunction showed up. The battery cable had to be replaced. I spent nearly $1000 on that particular issue, maybe more. Shortly after, I began to get transmission malfunctions, as well as engine malfunctions which placed the car in limp mode. I spent $7000 fixing the transmission problems and just a few months later, I'm having problems again. I've lost $15,000 this year because of the M5 and I'm done.
Experience with 2006 M5
The new BMW M5 has a substantially different character than the previous model: less low rpm torque, but more mid and high range power. Using the SMG transmission well is like learning an action video game or how to tango with a new dance partner. Once you've got the rhythm and the timing, it's a great transmission, but this may take 5,000-10,000 miles. That's why reviewers tend not to like it. Same with iDrive. It's clunky for tuning different radio stations, but very handy otherwise, once you've learned how to use it. Unlike with the Editor's M5 Review, I find the steering to be very good and much better than on my prior model M5. What's not good: fuel economy and driving range.
The best financial mistake you should make.
Mr. Waffles,01/28/2017
Look. If you're in the market to lose 2k in value on a car (picked up for 16k, traded in for 13k and 1k tax), tempt fate with a looming expensive repair (thankfully I never had one while I had it), and have everyone you know collectively hate everything you love about your money pit, this is without a doubt the car for you. Don't take any of what I just said as me saying you should steer away from this car. Losing 2k on this car was worth every penny. The way that engine revved was out of this world. The exhaust note simply wasn't something that could have been recreated on any other engine and is probably what I loved the most. The car just builds speed faster than anything I've ever been in. For a 2 ton sedan, it handles it's weight as if it were a little roadster. And when you're in a corner, the active side bolstering is both a nice party trick for passengers as well as an absolute (to me) necessity when cornering hard as it allows for both a relaxed feel when cruising or that nice race car feel when driving hard. And that transmission, definitely jerky to drive in traffic and at slow speed. But when cruising and driving at 10/10s, I feel it's just mated perfectly to the engine and car no matter what anyone says about it not being a "true manual" car. Definitely want to keep both hands on the wheel when ripping it at 170 mph. Trips to the bmw dealership every 800-1000 miles or so was annoying to get a quart of oil as the engine loved to drink it as well as gasoline. Sometimes at the rate of 8 miles to the gallon. Passengers were never a fan of having to wait to warm it up or shut it down or pretty much anything that involved the car moving as it was apparently uncomfortable. But the way I saw it, the car was originally built to only really have a driver to go ponder the limits of mortality. The only reason it had 4 more seats was because someone at BMW was insane enough to go "You know what the driver needs? The ability to instill fear into others, 4 people at a time." All in all, if you can afford to pick up even a questionable example in your budget, do not hesitate. Buy it, enjoy it as long you can. The 6 months I had mine were worth every penny I lost.
State of the art in performance
Having driven BMW's for 39 years I can attest that this V10 is the state of the art in performance in a thoughtful, safe and understated sports car. It's like will not be seen again. I have had two of these - the E39 and the E60.
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Features & Specs

11 city / 17 hwy
Seats 5
7-speed automated manual
500 hp @ 7750 rpm
See all Used 2006 BMW M5 features & specs
More about the 2006 BMW M5
More About This Model

The ad reads: 2006 BMW M5, Black/Black or Silver/Black. October/November Delivery. All Options. Best Offer Over Cost. (800) OVER-PAY

We may have faked the phone number, but this exact classified did appear in a popular print periodical, and it wasn't the only one.

Another ad read: 2006 BMW M5, Loaded, October Build, Red with Tan Leather, MSRP Plus $5K.

Looks like the new 2006 M5, which is just now rolling into U.S. dealerships, is the latest markup darling of the auto market. The fourth generation of BMW's super sedan has been on sale in Europe for about a year, so America's wealthy car nuts have had to wait, and that pent-up anticipation is driving up prices. Despite the M5's $81,895 base price, which includes a steep $3,700 gas-guzzler tax, it appears that buying one for that price is impossible. At least for awhile.

Usually when this happens, we say wait, don't be a fool, save your pennies. But not this time. The 2006 M5 is so good, we say break the bank and pay whatever it takes to get one as soon as possible. Sell your kids into servitude if you have to, just get one. Trust us when we tell you, the first time you take it to redline in all seven of its forward gears you'll forget what it cost you.

Until then, take the ride with us.

400 or 500 hp, You Choose
Mat the M5's gas pedal and all hell breaks loose as 400 horsepower are transferred to the tarmac by the computer-controlled manual clutch Sequential Manual Gearbox. Keep the throttle pinned and the tires squeal, as the big 5.0-liter V10 spins to its 8,250-rpm redline faster than my G4 laptop can type the words.

Flick the steering-wheel-mounted upshift paddle for 2nd and the 285/35ZR19 rear tires chirp under the strain of all that power. Split-seconds later, you're doing the same thing for 3rd and the tires still can't hold traction, squealing once again as the all-aluminum V10 sings its post-6,000-rpm Formula One wail. A mile later the car has already reached its 155-mph speed governor.

Cripes, this thing is fast and we haven't even hit the button. The one that makes the M5 feel as if it's grown a turbocharger. You see, when the V10 is first fired up, it defaults to its 400-hp mode, a figure not coincidentally identical to the maximum output of the outgoing M5's 5.0-liter V8. And since the two cars weigh virtually the same, it means the new V10 M5 in its economy mode is as quick as the old V8 was at full speed.

The button is located just forward of the gearshift lever, push it and the V10's 10 individual throttle butterflies completely open (the reduced power mode restricts them to about 90 percent) unleashing another 100 hp. Now you've got 500 hp peaking at 7,750 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 6,100 rpm to play with. Which is enough for that V10 to kick you in the pants so hard it makes that last top-speed run seem like a Sunday hop to your favorite bar for wine-soaked steaks and a side of couscous.

Incredible Civility
If the engine is a leap forward, the M5's chassis is more evolutionary. The basic setup and dimensions remain true to the 5 Series with identical measurements for the front and rear track and wheelbase.

Of course, the magic of BMW's M cars has always been their massive performance accompanied by incredible civility. "The M5 is as comfortable going to Trader Joe's as it is lapping a racetrack," says Dave Buchko BMW's product communications manager.

He's right, it is. Were it not for its stiffer ride and the SMG tranny the M5 could be a garden-variety 5 Series. Electronic Damper Control lets the driver choose between three suspension settings — Comfort, Normal and Sport. Although it's firm, the Comfort mode is surprisingly compliant for a car of such massive abilities, swallowing all but the harshest bumps. In Sport, things stiffen up to the point of uncomfortable, but there's precious little body roll and more immediate turn-in.

That said, despite the claimed 50/50 weight distribution, the M5 will understeer — especially when pushed through low-speed corners. Mind you, that's at lateral G-force levels that would challenge a Corvette. And oversteer, of course, is but a quick stab of the throttle and the V10's 500 tire-shredding stallions away. Don't worry, lifetime roadside assistance for tires is included in the price of the car.

Power to Stop, Too
The M5's brakes don't seem to need any such special treatment, though surprisingly, the front calipers only have two pistons rather than the de-rigueur-for-a-sports-car four. But the front discs measure a massive 14.7 inches in diameter and provide more than enough leverage to speedily get the 4,012-pound über-sedan down from its top speed.

As usual, the M5's Dynamic Stability Control, which is standard, can be deactivated by the driver. Plus, the M5's DSC system has a third mode called M Dynamic Mode, which allows more oversteer and wheelspin but will kick in before things get completely out of hand.

DSC also works with the brakes in two ways. The first is called Brake Standby. In anticipation of hard braking, it moves the brake pads closer to the rotors if the driver lifts off the throttle abruptly. The other is called Brake Drying. Acting upon input from the windshield wipers' rain sensor, the brake pads periodically engage the rotors just enough to eliminate any film of water, but not enough to cause any brake application.

Look, Mom, No Torque Converter
Much improved over the previous such transmission used in the M3, and newly fortified with seven forward gears, the SMG transmission is now finally ready for prime time. Shifts are fairly smooth, and their speed and force can be adjusted among six programs with a console-mounted button. In the "softest and slowest" setting, it could be the transmission in a luxury car. In the "hardest and quickest" setting, the gear changes happen with all the subtlety of Jeff Gordon charging out of the pits at the Daytona 500.

In the SMG's automatic mode, shifts also feel more sophisticated than in previous versions. There's not as much gap between upshifts and less hunting for gears. This is especially true in the Sport mode. Nonetheless, you still can fool its computer occasionally, and a foot full of throttle is greeted by a delay while the M5 searches for the appropriate gear. It matters not a whit, of course, when you're going for it. Being able to get instantaneous gear changes with the flick of a paddle is worth the trade-off. Plus, it matches revs on every gear change with the precision of Juan Pablo Montoya.

A six-speed manual will become available next fall, but it will be exclusive to the U.S. market. BMW expects to sell 2,000 M5s a year in America, about 50 percent of those with the manual gearbox. For now the sedan body style is it, but Mercedes-Benz does offer its E55 AMG as a sedan and a wagon, so an M5 wagon may be in the cards. "We're looking at doing a wagon, but nothing is confirmed," is all Buchko would say.

Out to Launch
The only mechanical difference between the European-spec M5 and the one sold in America is the elimination of the SMG's Launch mode. At least, that's the only difference BMW will admit to. Although Launch mode does make it easier to blow off that Camaro from a stoplight, and it is similar to the system used in BMW's F1 racers, you won't miss it. Even without Launch mode, BMW says the M5 will hit 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

But what do you expect from a car powered by an engine that's cast in the same facility as the BMW-Williams F1 motor and is the largest naturally aspirated engine I can think of that exceeds that Holy Grail of more than 100 hp per liter of displacement?

It's also an engine with 10 individually tuned inlet manifolds, BMW's BI-VANOS system with variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust cams, and a sound that's just like an F1 engine once the revs climb past 6,000. As a last point of reference, it's also worth noting that at 7.7 pounds per horsepower, the M5 is the most powerful BMW sold anywhere in the world, eclipsing even the limited-production, carbon-fiber-infused M3 CSL. It's also one of the thirstiest, with EPA ratings of 12 mpg city and 18 mpg highway.

Loaded and Luscious
Inside, apart from the SMG gearshift and the attendant performance-oriented switchgear, the major differences from a run-of-the-mill, top-line 550i are beautiful suedelike headliner trim and a head-up display that includes a tachometer. There's also some new electronic trickery like oil level measurement that can be displayed on the LCD screen between the gauges.

The same output also informs the driver about necessary scheduled maintenance, which is free for the first four years or 50,000 miles. And through the iDrive system, you can configure something called MDrive that sets things like the stability control and suspension-damping systems to your personal tastes.

Unfortunately, the tach in the head-up display disappoints. It lags behind the real deal by as much as 1,500 rpm, so it isn't very useful. Rely on it while driving hard, and you'll be constantly bouncing off the rev limiter.

Other candy includes supremely comfortable and substantially bolstered standard front sport seats with 16-way adjustment for the driver and 14-way for the passenger, plus standard almost-everything-else you can think of, like a premium sound system with 13 speakers, navigation, Park Distance Control, heated front seats and, of course, leather.

As good as those standard front seats are, we recommend the optional M Multifunction sport seats, which include active side bolsters that automatically inflate and deflate like a jet fighter's G-suit to better hold the driver and passenger in place during hard cornering. It sounds gimmicky, but it works. There are even three settings to adjust how quickly the bladders inflate, and the system can be deactivated with the push of a button.

Save Your Pennies
A regular 550i is a fine handling, powerful beast with a sweetheart of a motor. But this new V10 is another virtuoso effort from BMW, where superiority is expected. Only this one exceeds even the incredible demands placed upon the M division's broad shoulders.

For now, the M5's price is well over sticker. We consider the car well worth it. Hey, can you put children on eBay?

Used 2006 BMW M5 Overview

The Used 2006 BMW M5 is offered in the following submodels: M5 Sedan. Available styles include 4dr Sedan (5.0L 10cyl 7AM).

What's a good price on a Used 2006 BMW M5?

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Should I lease or buy a 2006 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.

Check out BMW lease specials
Check out BMW M5 lease specials