2000 BMW M5 Touring
When discussing the golden age of BMW in the late 1990s-early 2000s, there are a few specific cars that immediately jump to the top of the mind - the perfectly balanced E46 M3, the quirky and lovable Z3M Roadster/Coupe, and the iconic Z8. However, of all these exceptional driving machines, one stands out as the Goldilocks of the group: the sublime and timeless E39 M5.
At its 1998 launch at the Geneva Motor Show, the E39 M5 would prove to be a significant update to BMW’s tried and true M5 formula of a wolf in sheep’s clothing of years past. The overall M5 recipe would largely remain the same for the E39, which was a metaphorically timeless and finely tailored German suit fitted to an assassin, however, the M5 recipe would see the hand-built inline-six cylinder engine make way for the M Division’s first V8.
Constructed entirely of aluminum, the S62 V8 would feature a double VANOS system, another BMW first, that would provide the flattest torque curve of any M division engine to date. A semi-dry sump oiling system was fitted alongside electronically actuated individual throttle bodies, allowing precise metering of fuel and air into the 4.9L engine, making for one of the finest engines to leave Munich’s hallowed halls. Delivering an additional 59HP over the outgoing hand-built inline-six of the E34, the S62 smoothly delivers a thundering 394HP through a slick Getrag six-speed manual transmission connected to a mechanical limited-slip rear differential.
Released to glowing reviews, TopGear would praise the car’s overall balance and handling noting that it is, “so beautifully balanced, and like putty in your hand”, and Car and Driver would call it, “the most desirable sedan in the world.” The E39 M5’s popularity has rightfully never waned, and has now blossomed into a cult car, lauded by the BMW enthusiast community as one of the best modern Grand Touring BMWs, thanks to its stout S62 engine, timeless elegant looks, and excellent build quality.
The E39 M5 production would only see sedans leave Munich, however, that didn’t stop the BMW engineers from asking, “What if…?”, and creating a one-off M5 Touring prototype. This prototype would be debuted publicly by BMW, but to the dismay of many, would never see production. And thus, the practicality of a wagon, combined with the cutting edge performance of the E39 M5 super-saloon, was ushered away into BMW’s treasure trove of concepts. The Cultivated Collector’s E39 M5 Touring tribute is a faithful recreation of this fantastic concept.
Using a clean 1999 E39 540i Sport Touring as the canvas for the tribute, it was immediately stripped and rebuilt with an interior, exterior, and drivetrain swap from a donor E39 M5. During the conversion, the E39 M5 lower body mouldings, rear diffuser panel, mirrors, and front bumper were installed, and the car was treated to a full respray of the car’s original paint color 354, Titanium Silver Metallic. Diving under the hood, the original M62 4.4L V8 engine, transmission and differential were jettisoned for the legendary muscle of the 395 horsepower S62 V8, Getrag 6-speed gearbox and large-case differential from the E39 M5, providing the 540i Touring with a true Grand Touring heart and Autobahn storming capability. OEM downpipes and resonators were mated to a set of Supersprint catalysts and custom axle-back dual exhaust system, unleashing a throaty V8 soundtrack from the S62 while not being overpowering to the senses.
With the exterior and drivetrain complete, attention turned to the interior of the Touring, where the original interior would be replaced with a full interior from the donor E39 M5 including seats, door panels, sills, steering wheel, and shift knob, with the seats and door panels receiving a reupholstering in supple and vibrant Imola Red leather by AP Auto Upholstery in San Diego as the cherry on top. Further attention to detail included installation of black carpets, a black Alcantara headliner, aluminum accent trim, and a DynaVin head unit providing a touch of modernization to the interior.
In 2019, the E39 M5 Touring received a full overhaul of the fueling system which included replacement of the fuel pump, fuel sending unit, fuel filter, and fuel relay, with additional work including replacement timing chain tensioners. Late 2021 saw the E39 M5 Touring receive an overhaul of the power steering lines, installation of a Z3 shifter, new front OEM struts and springs, new rear OEM shocks, two new primary O2 sensors, among other minor maintenance items. Most recent service at Bimmers Only in January of 2022 included repairing wiring for the trunk hatch, replacing the servo motor for the trunk latch, as well as replacement of missing interior trunk trim panel.
Presenting beautifully today, this a faithfully executed no-corners-cut recreation of the M5 Touring the world should have received, and could pass to the discerning eye as having rolled off the production line in Munich. Equally at home carving up back roads or on a family jaunt, this E39 M5 Touring Tribute is ready to turn heads, delight the senses, and provide fun for the entire family.