E39 "vs." F80 - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums
E39 M5 and E52 Z8 Discussion 1998-2003 Advertiser's Forum

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post #1 of 74 Old 16th August 2016, 07:22 AM Thread Starter
KevinM
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E39 "vs." F80

I promised a comparison of my beloved E39 M5 with my new F80 M3. As background, the E39 M5 has been my daily driver since December 2004, and I have been driving E39s since I ordered my 1999 528, replaced by a 2002 530 (both MT) until I purchased the M5.

The M5 has been the best car I have owned Ė a fantastic and reliable DD. My desire for a new car began basically to retire it to garage queen status at 97K miles. I considered a few cars, but my requirement for a manual transmission eliminated most. I thought about the M2, but wanted to experience European delivery this summer and it didnít look like that could happen with the M2. I had always thought the F80 might be a good DD and the announcement of the competition package sealed the deal. We did Euro delivery 6/3/16 and had blast. For those who are interested, here is my delivery post: European Delivery write up Below are my very initial impressions after a few weeks of driving the F80.

Power: Well, you know this one. The F80 is nuts (to me), with 444 hp/409 lb/ft. Like all turbos I have driven, including the 1M, turbo lag, while not pronouced, is there and just part of the picture. Itís actually fun, but there is no mistaking this is not an NA engine. Still, basically instant power when you want it. I certainly donít need more power.

Traction: Much has been made of the F80ís inclination to go sideways on full throttle (with traction control off). I live in Tucson, AZ, and thus donít deal too often with wet/cold conditions. The car is like glue on every road I have taken it. The competition package has suspension changes and as well as wider 285/30 PSSs in the back; Iím not sure how much these changes contribute.

Steering: Oh, the horror of electronic steering! Truthfully, not a big issue for me. My gold standard is the rack in my previous E39 530 and current Z4M coupe, and no BMW has yet measured up, including the recirculating ball steering in the M5. I have no real complaints with the F80 steering. It is (in sport or sport+ mode) fairly similar to the E39 M5, but not as good as a hydraulic rack and pinion set up.

Suspension: Excellent. Depending on the mode, more or as supple as the E39 but controlled Ė despite the 20 inch wheels. Roads in Tucson are pretty good, but there are some rough ones as well.

Sound: I am not an exhaust person. That said to my ear the F80, at least with the competition package, sounds great. I feel like a hooligan in in sport/sport + modes with all the overrun pops and burbles (if the windows are open). I suppose it is a bit juvenile, but you can always leave the throttle in efficient. There is much fuss about ďactive sound,Ē or sound being synthesized for the cabin, but the system appears to have been optimized as I do not notice it at all.

Tech: Well, of course, no contest. I havenít even begun to scratch the surface of all this stuff, and probably wonít ever. That said, there are a few things I really enjoy. The back-up (looking forward to this being mandatory in 2018) and side/top view cameras are great for parking. The Nav and voice control features are great. The HUD is cool, especially with the Nav graphics. None of this is necessary for me. By far, the feature I love the most is the automatic phone pairing and voice control of my iPhone via the steering wheel buttons. I subscribe to Apple Music and the ability to tell Siri through the car what I want to listen to (or who I want to call) is fantastic. I realize this is just updated Bluetooth technology.

Iím not sure about all the driving modes. As many of you know, there are three modes (efficient, sport, sport+) for the throttle response, steering and suspension. Perhaps in 6 months Iíll have had enough time to play with all the settings to determine what I like. Sport seems pretty good for all of them (I think I might like sport + for steering). The manual transmission rev-matches in efficient and sport throttle modes. This feature allowed me to confirm my suspicion that I am not the best at heel-and-toe work, despite much practice. It is pretty cool (and somewhat addicting), although I wish the system was fully optional Ė current programing has rev-match on in efficient and sport throttle modes and off in sport +.

Looks: Subjective of course, but I do love it. My gold standard is the E39 M5, which strikes the perfect Q-ship balance for me. The F80, especially with the competition pack, is more overt. The mineral grey paint helps minimize attention, but people seem to notice the car. On reflection, the same people probably noticed my E39 M5 back in 2004Ö

Is this car a replacement for the E39 M5? For me no. Switching between them, the M5 just feels different. The clutch is much heavier, everything feels more mechanical and more connected. After 12 years I still love it. I have no doubt the F80 will be a great DD, even if I donít end up keeping it long-term (Iím out of garage space!).






























Kevin

2016 F80 M3, Mineral Grey/Golden Brown/6MT - ED delivery 6/3/2016 http://f80.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho....php?t=1291837
2002 M5, Sterling Gray/Caramel
2007 Z4M Coupe Silver Gray/Black
1999 Mercedes ML320 (hauler...)
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post #2 of 74 Old 16th August 2016, 02:10 PM
mubarak
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Congrats,,,I tell from experince,,I have driven the f80 m3 for 3 days days and nights,,,when I went back to my e39 m5 to drive ,,f80 m3 was forgotten for ever..something about this e39 m5 ,,it is a legend man.

Thank you.
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post #3 of 74 Old 16th August 2016, 03:01 PM
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Thanks for the review Kevin! I agree completely with you about a daily driver new car -- what else in 6MT (or 7MT) is on the market now that can replace the E39 M5 for daily driver duties? In many ways, especially size, the F80 is the spiritual successor to the E39 M5 as you're finding out.

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post #4 of 74 Old 16th August 2016, 03:25 PM
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How would you compare the cabin space?
They appear to be quite close.

2003 ///M5 Sterling Gray Metallic
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post #5 of 74 Old 16th August 2016, 03:28 PM
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Great write up Kevin - thanks for the comparison. My E39 M5 was recently totaled - and I have been looking for a replacement. Have considered the F80 M3 - will definitely drive a few now.
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post #6 of 74 Old 16th August 2016, 03:38 PM
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so what's your reason for upgrading your e39 m5 to garage queen status at 97k miles? because i mean it's not crazy low, but almost 100k seems pretty ordinary. but still, that e39 m5 looks completely stellar, like it looks mint. i doubt you're ever planning on selling it, but damn, that could easily sell for 20 grand. but i don't know if this can be that fair of a comparison, bc the m3 has a twin turbo i6 while the m5 has a roaring naturally aspirated 5 liter v8.
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post #7 of 74 Old 16th August 2016, 05:58 PM
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post #8 of 74 Old 16th August 2016, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
KevinM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSBM5 View Post
Thanks for the review Kevin! I agree completely with you about a daily driver new car -- what else in 6MT (or 7MT) is on the market now that can replace the E39 M5 for daily driver duties? In many ways, especially size, the F80 is the spiritual successor to the E39 M5 as you're finding out.
You got it. If you want a manual transmission, rear-wheel drive sedan that is even close to the size and performance of the E39, you basically have two current choices - the M3 or the Cadillac ATS-V. For me, driving BMWs for 17 years, that was an easy choice. I suppose if you don't want the extra performance, the 340i could also fit the bill. The Alfa Giulia QV looks promising if it eventually makes it here and if it proves reliable in a few years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Architect View Post
How would you compare the cabin space?
They appear to be quite close.
Without measuring, my impression is that they are almost identical.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bweiner View Post
Great write up Kevin - thanks for the comparison. My E39 M5 was recently totaled - and I have been looking for a replacement. Have considered the F80 M3 - will definitely drive a few now.
If you can, try to drive one for longer than a typical test drive - it may take you a bit to adjust to the power delivery and start to have fun with the car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrytek View Post
so what's your reason for upgrading your e39 m5 to garage queen status at 97k miles? because i mean it's not crazy low, but almost 100k seems pretty ordinary. but still, that e39 m5 looks completely stellar, like it looks mint. i doubt you're ever planning on selling it, but damn, that could easily sell for 20 grand. but i don't know if this can be that fair of a comparison, bc the m3 has a twin turbo i6 while the m5 has a roaring naturally aspirated 5 liter v8.
I really didn't have a completely rational reason. I want to keep the M5 long-term and mint, so just didn't want to continue daily driving it. And after 12 years, I had the itch to try something new. I also wanted to see what all the new tech can do and see if anything transformed the driving experience for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.Almonte View Post
Thanks for the review.
I love your F80 interior!
Thanks!

Kevin

2016 F80 M3, Mineral Grey/Golden Brown/6MT - ED delivery 6/3/2016 http://f80.bimmerpost.com/forums/sho....php?t=1291837
2002 M5, Sterling Gray/Caramel
2007 Z4M Coupe Silver Gray/Black
1999 Mercedes ML320 (hauler...)
Too many kids' cars...
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post #9 of 74 Old 17th August 2016, 12:59 AM
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The new M3 looks fatter in the back





I think the F80 is 70mm wider than the E39 M5....



Mark
2002 E39 Lemans Blue M5
Black interior, Rear fog lights, hardwired V1
DICE Mediabridge Bluetooth, iPod

Last edited by Mark_m5; 17th August 2016 at 01:00 AM.
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post #10 of 74 Old 17th August 2016, 06:39 AM
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Subscribed. I think realistically that this is my upgrade path sometime soon. My heart wants me to stay E39 and supercharge, but that raises maintenance and smog issues that I'm not sure I have time and energy for. I need to test drive F80 - both manual vs. DCT, plus Dinan addons to see if it's really worth the $.

As a reference point my wife has a new 991 Carrera S. It's nice and all, and it's fast, but I really miss the M5 torque when I drive it. I think my M5 is faster, and is dialed in close to how a 2015 sports car is supposed to handle. Not the same obviously, but for $100k less it's not unreasonable at all.
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