Saturday, October 24, 2015

7-Speeds & 10 Cylinders: 2006 BMW M5 E60

The E60 generation M5 introduced the world to BMW's first (and only) production V10 powerplant, inspired by the V10 engine used in the BMW Sauber Formula 1 car.  The production engine shared nothing in common with the racing machine, (other than cylinder count) but that didn't stop BMW from selling it as a racing inspired beast complete with quick shifting electro-hydraulic gearbox.  Find this 2006 BMW M5 offered for $13,800 located in Hebron, OH via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.

The E60 generation is one of the sweetest sounding M5s you can find; the latest generation (F10) has gone to a twin turbocharged V8 with a much muted exhaust soundtrack.  The 5.0 liter S85 V10 puts out 500 horsepower and 380 ft-lbs of torque in a melodious crescendo up to its 8250 rpm redline. This particular E60 M5 is equipped with the 7-speed SMGIII transmission, which fires off quick shifts to hit 60mph in about 4.5 seconds.

See a better fast sedan for cheap?


  1. Replies
    1. There's no 'slush' to the SMG. Arguably, it's biggest fault is the other way 'round, there's certain driving conditions where it's just a little harsh and easily confused.

      It's quicker and works better with the V10 than the three-pedal setup.

  2. It is crazy that these V10s are holding up so well. Pretty typical for a BMW engine.
    There are many high milage E60s for sale right now for really cheap.
    I am going to guess that they will drop below the e39 and e34 in the next two years.

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  4. Like these a lot, tho the 2006-07 have a documented crznk bearing wear/failure rate. Look for documented oil change with the proper oil. A blackwell report is best. 2008 and up got a revised sump/oiling route. If engine is in good health, these are steals. This has the luxury pkg: wood trim, more adjustable seats, cold weather: headlisght washer, heated seats. Sticker would have been around $80000. I have not read on the forums of an 2008 up failure,tho a couple of preventive bearing chnages have shown excessive wear for the mileage. Parts would be aroumd $800 and a weekend with a good set of tools. An independent shop would charge afound $3000. Still a steal at dollars / performance. @kaibeezy, the smg is actualy a tick quicker than the manual. Also the stabilty control cannot be fully turned off on the manual. So on a track the smg is the faster car. The smg is not a slush box. Its an auto clutch manual. The bad is driving around town in traffic Its Not smooth shifting. A back road or track its magical...

  5. I haven't followed the durability issues on these, didn't much like the interior on the E60 and my E39 suited me fine. The V10 is really no stronger than the S62 under 5000RPM, it's just got an extra thousand RPM at peak.

    If I did pick up an E60, though, I'd definitely get the SMG. The whole package was set up for it, it's livable once all the software fixes are done, and the 6-speed just doesn't really suit the engine.

  6. The guy up the street from me has one but it sound's like a stick to me same year color went to Cali to get it.

  7. OK, OK, I was being a bit cheeky. I'm sure it's a lovely automatic. I will try one, somehow.

    Can someone explain how you remember to bother shifting the autoshift when you know it's going to shift for you anyway? Or maybe that's just my rental cars. CFlo?

    1. I don't really understand the question about 'remembering to shift'... but I'll try.

      It drives exactly like a manual, except a tiny lightning-fast robot operates the clutch. You shift when you want to shift. If you don't shift ("forget to shift") it will stay in the same gear until you shift, or until you hit 8250rpm, when it shifts up to save the engine. It will also shift down if you let the revs drop to 800rpm, rather than stall.

      Up-shifts are fast and positive. Downshifts are smooth. Downshifts under brakes at high revs approaching a corner, when you would normally heal-and-toe, are so good that you'll want to send out concert tickets to your car loving friends.

      If a person is the type of person who goes from an auto to a manual and forgets to shift, then this is not the car for that person. (I have ridden with these people, and they will pull up the the first stop sign and step on the brakes without using the clutch, and stall the car).

      But I assume you are not that person. You will just drive it like a manual. It's so like a manual that there will be a few times you go for the 'ghost clutch pedal', and are surprised that it is not there.

      What are the rental cars you are thinking of? I have never had an American rental car with an equivalent gearbox. If you are thinking of auto gearboxes with the parallel gate and the 'plus' 'minus' shifting, and torque converters, those are just a regular auto slushbox, and an entirely different thing.

    2. "entirely different thing" - that sounds like the key - what other cars besides this one can i try it on? - can i put in a fake clutch pedal?

  8. I nearly bought one of these for double the price a handful of years ago. The secret to the SMG is that it's not an automatic, and if you drive it like one, you're gonna be replacing a clutch pretty frequently. The thing shifts great if you work the throttle like you do a manual (i.e. lift to upshift, blip down). It's unruly, and shifts harshly if you let it pick when to shift on it's own. Master it, ALWAYS leave it in manual mode, and it's as gentle as 3 pedals.

    I still prefer the row your own gearbox. Having driven a few of each, it's a glorious car for sure.

    1. "unruly" and "harsh" makes it a lot more appealing - i work well with downside risk

  9. I have made the mistake of being very stubborn about only buying manual transmissions. I insisted on finding a X5 with a stick and it is so difficult to drive not to mention my wife hates driving it and it is her car, DOH!
    When I drive my friend's X5 with auto is is so much better. I made a bad decision because of thinking every car needs 3 pedals.

  10. You can test drive an SMG on an M3 at many a used car lot or private seller, if not a dealer. I did before buying my 6 speed M3. I could have loved the SMG, buy my wife, not so much. It does take some practice to drive it smoothly at slower speeds.

  11. Oh, just caught this. CAR is actualy located in Hebron, Kentucky. List on cincinnati craigs, and phone are code give away. Hebron is just across river by the airport (cvg). There is a Hebron,Oh near Columbus.


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