Our autoTRADER.ca Find of the Week is one of the most iconic sports sedans ever built, which is a surprise, since it's also one of the most understated. It's a manual-shift, big-V8, extra fast midsize sedan, but it takes a sharp eye to spot the visual differences between it and a base model with an inline-six as small as 2.0 litres in displacement. It's a 2002 BMW M5.
In the late '90s and early 2000s, BMW was the king of the sports sedan. There is no offense intended to the AMG models coming from Mercedes-Benz at the time that offered massive power from incredible engines, but not the same level of driver involvement as BMW.
The pinnacle of that might have been what's known as the E39 5 Series. That's the generation of the car that was sold from 1995 until 2003. It was the last of the BMWs before everything became computerized and electronic. Many people look at these as the last of the analogue BMWs.
While the standard E39 5er was launched in 1995, it took a few years longer for the fast version to show up.
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The M5 was introduced in 1998. This was the third car to wear the M5 badge, with the first launched in 1984. This one was the first one to get a V8 under the hood.
It was an M-version of BMW's M62 V8. This one was 4.9L in displacement, and it was the first BMW V8 to be fitted with variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust cams. The engine got individual throttle bodies for each cylinder, though they're hidden under that engine cover. Compression was higher, hollow camshafts were used, and there was a semi-dry sump oiling system for sustained high-speed cornering.
The V8 made 394 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque, with a redline of 7,000 rpm.
Backing that sweet singing engine was a six-speed manual transmission. And behind that was a limited-slip differential to help both back wheels spin.
Suspension changes to help make the car handle better include firmer shocks and springs, bigger brake rotors, and a lower ride height. Plus 18-inch wheels wearing 275-wide tires and a different steering rack than the lesser cars.
When new, this was the sports sedan to have. Grip, balance, fun to drive.
This M5 is for sale in Edmonton, AB, in titanium silver with black leather inside, and the optional Alcantara headliner. It's important to remember that these were super sedans, but they were also luxury cars. So it has niceties like rear sunshades and heated seats even though it's from 2002.
The seller says that the car comes with a stack of service records. Which is important in a high-strung older model like this one. They've also gotten rid of the six-disc CD changer in the trunk in favour of a Bluetooth and USB input. Inside, there is carbon fibre wrap covering the original trim. But there's titanium OE trim hiding underneath should you prefer.
It's a six-speed manual sedan with a powerful V8 and amazing balance. And it could be just what you're looking for. Which is why it's our autoTRADER.ca Find of the Week.