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I finally got my M5 in 2001 black/black luxury. Wanted to get a new one, but they were all sold out. I really hate the new Bangled up look, so I wanted to get a classic M5 before it was too late. am a big M fan, and already have an M3.

As promised, I can now give you some feedback on the car, as it compares to my Ferrari F40 and Maranello, as well as my Carrera.

To give some good news right upfront, I was VERY impressed with the car. It surpassed my expectations. I thought it was a heavy big, car..... It is a great driver car. I love romping on fast back roads. (being in New York/ CT, my personal track is the Taconic with no traffic, of course. Those from here will understand.....) I track other cars, so I won't abuse the M5 on the track.

1. First of all from the outside, it is a beautiful car. As beautiful as the best designs from BMW and top luxury sport designs. As it gets older, the M5 is gaining a timeless classic look, including the wheels ( I believe BMW designs the best looking stock/factory wheels, head to head with the Ferrari wheels).

2. From the inside, I feel very "with the car" in the M5. Great seats, steering wheel, controls etc. I guess we all feel at "home" in the M cars. The driver position is easy and confortable on the BMW. The dash's simplicity is as beautiful as the one in the original design of my Carrera. Unfortunately that BMW simple german fighter plane look is now all gone with the arrival of the Bangle " designer furniture" interiors. The Maranello inside tells you that you are driving an italian muscle car, with the huge hood seen from the steering wheel and the beautiful hump of the air intake projecting towards the nose of the car, while you are inside. The M5, instead, is very similar to the F40; very simple dashboard, you do not see much of the hood at all, so you can concentrate on the road and its surface.

3. On the road, the best two things are 1) the handling and 2) the M engine. The car stays flat and planted, with not that much lean at all. Very impressive for such a big car. Those who think the car is heavy and does not handle will be surprised by how great it is to drive fast, with its direct responsiveness. The engine has got great torque and a great mix of typical M engine sound and V8 character. But it revs out very nicely. I would say that regardless of actual power output, the M5 engine is as exciting and engaging as the F40 engine and the Maranello's. The F40 is airplane-like, with its whoosh and take off/flaming/popping of the waste gate, the Maranello's engine is a great clockwork of wizzing and sizzling, spinning inner gears, the M5 an iron fist in a velvet glove.

4. The least liked things are: !) shifter 2) brakes . The shifter is OK but certainly not as great as the Maranello' shifter ( the best gearbox of all the cars I have driven in my life, a pleasure in itself). My M3 shifter is more precise, smooth and a pleasure to use than the M5. Only the Carrera shifter is worse. When cold, I literally have a hard time in going from 1st into 2nd. After a mile, or so, then the oil/syncros warm up and it goes in fine. The service manager tells the usual: they are all like that....
Is that really true?

The brakes are ok, but seem to make an effort to slow down the car, with a bit of rumble/noise, which may be perfectly ok because the car is so smooth,quiet. The hard work of the pads when coming down at speed is heard quite brutally as you rapidly reduce speed. By the way, in terms of aerodynamics, BMW has done a great job, you can hear only the air swhooshing at speed and at 130-140 mph the car tracks very smoothly and straight as an arrow.

The best brakes of course are the F40's, with the Maranello a strong second. I love the "direct" race feel of the F40's no booster brakes ( A lot of effort, but amazing fine control, which is key when trail braking).

Finally, on fit and finish, the M5 is almost as good as the Maranello, especially the interior, the details of the full leather applications, and quality of controls, trim, accessories of the M5 are a work of art.

In sum:A wonderful, fast, elegant, supercar. I believe it is "a Ferrari with 4 doors". BMW should take it as I compliment, especially given that have two Ferraris, I am Italian and love driving fast, on the track or the road, all the time.

Thanks for you wonderful help with this amazing site. Much appreciated your advice and shared passion.

See you on the road ....
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M A T T A S I N A R I

NEW YORK CITY

2001 M5 black/black/lux
1990 Ferrari F40
2000 Ferrari Maranello black
1984 Carrera black
1996 M3 Cosmos Black
Crappy Range Rover HSE to go to dealers and buy parts

various R1's, Honda Fireblade, Honda NSR 250 Sport Production racing bike, Ducati 996 SPS
 

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Great Account!!! Youre dead right about the shifter and the brakes of the M5. I will be investing in a Schnitzer short shift very soon.

The F40 is my favourite ferrari, so raw and race-like, exactly what ferraris were made for. I love it and one day hope to own one, although they dont come cheap i know :D

I wasnt keen on the maranello when i first saw it, then i saw a Grey one with Red leather in the flesh and it was all over, awesome!....such a tough looking car.

Youre a lucky man with all those to chose from, congrats on the M5 and drive safely :wroom:

cheers
foxy kinggf
 

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Ah yes, the Taconic. I know and love it well. If you have the chance try rt 301 in Fawnstock Very nice road ....:).

Thakns for the write up. Perhaps we will see each other at a track event. Do you get to Limerock much? I am going 3-24 and 3-30.

Try some royal purple in the tranny. I hear that helps a lot.

Bruce
 

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Impressive! Believe it or not, I know what you are talking about on Taconi, have some relatives living in NY 10598 and have driving up to their place a couple of times... But not in a beast :( usually in rental cars, with power but absolutely no feel...

take care

Pim
 

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Excellent writeup, very informative comparison,

thank you

all the best
adam
 

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Thanx so much for the write up ... I always wondered how M5 would feel like compared to the ferraris of the world .... even though it is comparing aples to oranges but it certainly does not seem that way when you read your impressions.
thanx again and enjoy your rides .... great stable you got there ...
 

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masinari:

Thank you for doing this wonderful comparison. I am surprised to see the M5 gain so much praise from an Italian driver with Ferraris. That is a very large compliment. The brakes on the M5 are a weak spot and can be upgraded with a more aggressive pad or a big brake kit from either Stoptech or Brembo. The shifter is definately notchy and gets even more so when adding a short shift kit. Once again, thanks for the comparison and have fun driving all of your beautiful automobiles.
 

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Matt,

Great post and even better car collection. You're living right.

How many miles on the M5 now? You might want to just change the transmission fluid, OEM fluid will work fine. I learned that fresh fluid does wonders.

As for shifter, the OEM one has a lot of slop just because of the material used. I changed into an Autosolutions SSK, and mine now shifts better than my RUF. :)

Enjoy your collection. It's as good as any I've seen.

CP
 

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Matt:

An excellent write-up!!! Congratulations on your new beast (macchina bella)!!!

Watch out on the Taconic!! I was driving upstate last weekend on the Taconic. There were 3 speed traps set up by the NY State Troopers. I am sure pulling over anyone of your beautiful machines would make their day.

Buona fortuna!!!!

Tom
 

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Welcome to the fraternity of M5 owners! Great write-up. The shifter can be "fixed" by any number of aftermarket providers (UUC is my personal favorite). Changing the "lifetime" transmission fluid often works wonders with balky shifting, too. There is a long discussion about which fluid to use elsewhere on this board. The short answer is use OEM fluid if you are risk adverse like I am. The brake feel can be improved by switching to braided stainless steel lines but they're never going to feel as good as your Ferraris'. As for the rumble, you might have your wheel bearings inspected. They can wear out in 70-80k miles, I'm told. :M5launch:
 

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Thanks for the great write up. It is interesting to see the car put up against F-cars, and to see it do well is great. I dont think too much can compare to the intangibles in the Italians, but good to see it is a worthy stablemate.
:cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
kees said:
Nice write-up!

Any pictures of the rest of your stable?
Dear Kees, thanks for your kind message. You also have an amazing and exciting stable..

Will email/post you some pics ( i am missing digital pic of the Carrera and M3, which is actually stored in Europe (Italy).

M A T T
 

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Great, thoughtful post.. makes us all feel 'tingly' inside. Now you've convinced me to strap a fire-extinguisher under my glovebox like your F40.
 
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