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.
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.
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.
Acceleration, in town driving with SMG is on a par with a trip to the track and much misunderstood. Only drive this car in SMG and M Mode.
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.
Power, versatility, seating comfort, head up display, SMG transmission, iDrive, Highway prowess (you can put the car anywhere you want).
Improved SMG (dual clutch design), more refinement and inter-model standardization in iDrive operation. Faster calculation of engine oil level (there's no dipstick). Direct injection for greater engine efficiency. Larger gas tank.