2001 M5 New Car Test Drive
After a wait that must have been agonizing to lovers of the racy six-cylinder M3, BMW has finally engineered a high-performance V8 into the M5. And it has been racking up raves like no high-performance sedan in history. With a six-speed gearbox and 394 horsepower, the M5 on the 5 Series platform is a totally civilized sedan with racing car capabilities.
The BMW M Series consists of four different cars, although three of them share the same basic engine. Along with the new flagship M5 for $69,400, there is the M3 built on the 3 Series platform, which for 2001 will be getting a new 330-horsepower version of its 3.2-liter inline six, price unannounced as yet. The M Coupe ($41,800) is that boxy little bugger that looks like all the weight is on the rear wheels, but in fact it has perfect 50-50 weight distribution. The M Roadster ($42,700) is the same car with a soft top; both Coupe and Roadster use 240-horsepower versions of the 3.2-liter six, with five-speed gearboxes.