The 30th anniversary of the BMW M5 continues as the company is taking a look back at the development of the third-generation model (E39).

The 30th anniversary of the BMW M5 continues as the company is taking a look back at the development of the third-generation model (E39).

Often described as the best M5 ever created, the model was almost never built. As BMW's Alexander Hildebrandt explains "The bosses had actually decided against building this car. But my superior at the time, Karlheinz Kalbfell, was not prepared to take no for an answer." He eventually joined forces with Carl-Peter Forster and Dr. Wolfgang Reitzle to get the car approved for production.

While the hard part was over, engineers were soon faced with the challenge of selecting an engine to power the car. A naturally-aspirated inline-six was quickly rejected and the company soon began debating everything from a supercharged six-cylinder to a naturally-aspirated V8. The latter engine eventually won out and displaced 4.9-liters and had an output of 400 PS (294 kW) and 500 Nm (368 lb-ft) of torque.

The rest is history as the third-generation M5 would go on to become an icon that is still highly prized today.

 

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