Last week, some friend was visiting me so I took the opportunity to do a small stress-test on the M5 by driving along in the mountains around Hakone. Another a friend also just bought ŗ 911 Type G and wanted to test it, so we all together.So I gave the M3 for the day to my friend and took the M5!
Funny to see how big is the M5 compared to the E36, while in today world it is barely the size of a modern 3 series
So around Hakone, you have a lot of lovely private roads such as the famous Turnpike or Ashinoko Skyline : roads are great, scenery is nice and law loosely enforced, so it makes a great week-end drive, especially because this day there was very few people on the road.
So I went hard on the M5, as anyway if something is about to break I prefer it to break now so at least I know it
The car is behaving really great on small roads, the suspension is very rigorous, with a nice but firm dampening which is not causing any undesirable movement of the car. Of course the car is swaying a bit like a typical car from this era, but in a tame and very predictable manner, so you can use this body roll to go around easily around the corners. It is however a bit heavy, you can especially feel it downhill when attacking narrow corners : there is some weight pushing you down for sure.
However the car brakes really well, I did not have any issue stopping in any situation. The travel of the brake pedal is however a bit too short for my taste, and I was unable to heel and toe properly...
Once we arrived on the top of the Turnpike I noticed a lot of smoke from below the car with a burning smell... I was quite worried but when I looked below the car I noticed the previous owner wrapped the catalytic converter in some kind of (supposedly) heat resisting fabric and this is consuming itself! I will need to remove that crap ASAP.
Fortunately no big deal as it was actually very cold and snowing outside so no further drama...
We took a coffee and kept driving around. The chassis definitely needs to be revised, as it feel nowhere near as sharp as it should be: all suspension arms, links and bushes need to be changed, as usual on those cars.
The engine is definitely lacking any power below 4500rpm, after however it pulls quite well, even next the the M3 so I guess the issue is really coming from this resonance valve.
We then had fun driving another hour, before having a quick lunch and go back to the highway for home.
The M5 is really much more comfortable than the M3 and easier to live in, I really can't wait to have some long road trip with her!
So that was a good drive, which allowed me to check-up more on the car and I can now plan my maintenance, knowing that there is no emergency as the car is all-in-all running fine:
- All fluids change + filters + spark plugs
- suspensions arms, bushes and links in the front
- Bushes and links in the rear
- Drive shaft U-joint
- And all those vacuum hoses in the engine
This week, the M3 is getting prepared for winter as I don't trust the M5 quite enough yet to serve for long family trips, so I will bring her to my mechanic next week end to kick-off the maintenance loop.