Let's revisit the top BMW 5-Series models ever!

Article by Christian A., on October 20, 2016

BMW has just introduced the seventh generation of the 5 Series. The BMW 5 Series has been on the luxury car market since 1972, and since then has been quite a darling of premium customers.

This is proven with the fact that over five million examples of the 5 Series have been sold since 1972, and the release of the latest generation in the 2017 model year should be able to continue such success.

Before the new 2017 BMW 5 Series (G30) truly makes a great impression, it would not be bad to take a look at some of the best 5 Series models.

1980 E12 BMW M535i

Unveiled at the 1979 Frankfurt motor show, the BMW E12 M535i is tagged as the only official BMW Motorsport-developed version of the E12 5 Series. It was the first time that the 5 Series received an “M” treatment from BMW. It was powered by an early version of the 3,453 cc M30 inline-six -- with a bore of 93.4mm and a stroke of 84.0mm.

Featuring an SOHC iron block, this engine employed Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection to deliver 218 hp (DIN) of output at 5,200 rpm and 224 lb/ft of peak torque at 4,000 rpm. The BMW E12 M535i also featured a BMW Motorsport-tuned chassis.

BMW was never officially sold the E12 M535i in North America since its 3.5-liter M30 engine was not yet available with a catalyst to comply with strict emission standards in the United States.

1992 E34 BMW 525ix

Available in sedan and wagon body styles, the 525iX was considered as the first all-wheel drive 5 Series. Powered by the a naturally-aspirated In-line 6 cylinder engine (M50) engine, the 525iX could sprint from zero to 100 km/h (62mph) in 9.5 seconds and achieve a top speed of 136 mph (220 km/h).

Around 192 PS (189 bhp) of max output and 250 Nm (184 lb.ft) of peak torque is transmitted to the wheels through an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with a five-speed Manual gearbox. Considered as the progenitor of an advanced all-wheel-drive system on future BMW vehicles, only 9,366 examples of the 525iX were produced.

1999 E39 BMW M5

Meet the car that actually sparked the so-called German saloon horsepower war – the E39 BMW M5. Its M5 predecessor was also developing around 305 bhp, and BMW actually managed to increase this output level to 400 bhp, courtesy of a 4.9-liter V8 engine.

This engine also delivered 395 pound-feet of max torque. With this amount of power, the E39 BMW M5 could sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, and achieve a top speed of 186 mph (with the electronic speed limiter unhooked).

It even managed to record a lap time of 8:20 lap time at the famed the famed Nurburgring. Throughout its lifetime (1999-2003), BMW produced 20,482 examples.

2013 F10 BMW M550d xDrive

A diesel-powered M5 with mouthwatering output and torque levels is what best described the F10 BMW M550d xDrive. While its throttle response is still diesel-like, the amount of power emanating from its 3.0-liter straight-six engine is admirable -- 376 hp of max output between 4,000 and 4,400 rpm and 546 lb-ft of peak torque available between 2,000 and 3,000 rpm.

Of course, its performance could not be compared to a new M5, it marks BMW’s commitment to produce efficient and fun-to-drive diesel sedans. In fact, it could return up to 30 miles per gallon on the highway, and sprint from nil to 60 mph in just 4.9 seconds.

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Topics: bmw, bmw 5-series, sedan

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