The fourth generation of the BMW 5 Series made its debut at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show, offering an evolutionary development through its design of the former model with its sporting and elegant style. A particular feature at the front was the dual round headlights behind a glass cover, with the light rings for the positioning and daytime driving lights so typical of BMW being added in the year 2000.
Both the sedan and the Touring introduced in 1997 once again offered even more space within the passenger compartment. Boasting features such as a multifunction steering wheel, a navigation system, active seats and Dynamic Stability Control, the BMW 5 Series was acknowledged as a particularly outstanding high-tech representative of its segment.
In the interest of enhanced driving dynamics and safety, the body came with a significant increase in torsional stiffness over the former model, and the fourth-generation BMW 5 Series was the first large-scale production car worldwide made almost completely of light alloy. The newly developed all-aluminium power units also helped to significantly reduce the weight of the car.
The fourth generation of the BMW 5 Series once again set up a new sales record accounting for 1.47 million units sold up to the end of production in early 2004.
The new model entered the market with straight-six power units delivering maximum output from 150 to 193 hp. Technical innovations gave both the petrol and diesel engines even more power on further reduced fuel consumption. Two V8 engines were introduced once again in 1996, with the new BMW M5 entering the market in 1998 with the most powerful production engine built by BMW up to that time: this 294 kW/400 hp power unit came, among other highlights, with features such as oil supply controlled for centrifugal forces and electronically controlled individual throttle butterflies.
The European BMW range saw the 520, 523, 528, 530, 535, 540, 525tds, 530d and M5. All but the M5 (sedan only) are available as either touring (wagon) or sedan. The 520, 523 and 528 were powered by 150,170 and 190 hp versions of the BMW M52 engine, which is a gasoline inline-6 design. The 540i was powered by the 282 horsepower (210 kW) 4.4 L V8 seen in the E38 (7-Series) and the X5.
For the 2001 model year, BMW updated the E39 with newer, clear-lens headlights which first displayed the now-popular "angel eyes." (note: this technology is called "celis" by the OEM - Hella). Also, the rear lights were converted to being LED-based. Other options changed: for example, the 528i was replaced by the 530i which had a new 225 horsepower (168 kW) 3.0 L inline-6. Meanwhile, the 540i was given more power, totalling 290 hp (216 kW). Also, in the year 2001, Steptronic-equipped E39s had their manual program direction switched to match BMWs F1 cars. Now to upshift, you had to pull back the lever, instead of pushing forward, as in the pre-2001 model year E39s.
Also, in the year 2001, Steptronic-equipped E39s had their manual program direction switched to match BMWs F1 cars. Now to upshift, you had to pull back the lever, instead of pushing forward, as in the pre-2001 model year E39s.
While it began as BMW’s Motorsport division, today the ’M’ in BMW M connotes the Bavarian automaker’s high-performance division. And although BMW M pursues many creative enterprises, it has come to signify a very special breed of high-performance automobiles.
Over the years, M3, M5 and M6 models have offered performance enthusiasts special, uniquely ’M’ interpretations of what a performance automobile should be. Most recently, M has been acclaimed for its high-performance 2-seaters, the M roadster and M coupe (see separate release in this kit). Now M introduces the third generation M5: the most powerful, most luxurious, most high-tech M car ever. An automotive designer’s dream: combining the highest possible level of performance and sumptuous luxury in a single car.
Not incidentally, the E39 M5 is also the first M car powered by a V8 engine. And therein lies the heart of this incredibly exciting sports sedan: a 5-liter, 400-hp V8 engine incorporating a host of new, performance-enhancing technologies making their first-ever appearance in a production motorcar.