Showcasing South African BMWs and its passionate fans


Posted on: 7 December 2018




I am an old generation BMW guy. I’ve always preferred the straight 6 motor that BMW perfected since using them in airplanes from as early as the 1930s.  To me the signature of a proper BMW is their straight six motors. 


The M5 is the king of BMWs line-up of motor cars. Actually i would say it is the king of the entire range of automobile. It is the best all-rounder vehicle that offers space, comfort, speed , technology, handling and good looks as standard, to bridge the gap between a super car and a family car. 


It started in 1986 when BMW Motorsport was in its 6th year of official road-car production. The first ever M5 back in 1986 (E28) used a straight six motor,  and ever since then, the M5 has the been the benchmark for the super saloon class. 

The second M5 (E34) used a straight six motor too whereas the 3rd M5 (E39) went up a notch with a V8 motor but it was still ahead of its competition in miles.  


When it comes to the 4th generation of M5 (E60), BMW went to a V10 motor.  A far cry from their standard straight6’es.



Most of the BMWs I’ve had, or driven, were the straight 6 machines or V8s. BMW still uses the 6 / 8 and 12 cyl motors in their production cars to date - so driving a V10 is super exciting to me. Just the mere thought of it was overwhelming enough.


Every one that knows me, knows that i love Formula1 Racing.

Formula 1 is a sport that constantly tests the limit of everything that is involved in the sport. The limit of the driver, the team, the tactics, the downforce, the limits to handling, the engine and then the reliability of everything working in sync. The more you get to know about F1 - it becomes fascinating. To witness the limits that these guys, mechanics and engineers go to to produce and celebrate the best of them all. 

And this V10, uses F1 technology, so i like that. 

The V10 was linked to Formula1 as BMW had built V10 engines for the Williams BMW Team in 2001 - It was a magnificent era in the sport. 

(This, however, is not the first time BMW shared F1 technology in their roadcars. They also did it with the 4cyl turbo motors back in the 70s/80s.)


 The question i am asking myself is - will BMW ever make another V10 for their production cars again ?  


About the V10

"The BMW S85 (also known as S85B50) is a naturally aspirated V10 petrol engine which replaced the V8 S62 and was produced from 2005-2010. It was both BMW's first and only production V10 engine, and the first petrol V10 engine to be available in a production sedan.

Used in the E60 M5 sedanE61 M5 touring and E63/64 M6 coupé, it was inspired by BMW's previous Formula 1 involvement.[1]Unlike most other "S" series engines, the S85 is not related to a regular production ("M" or "N") BMW engine.[2]

The S65 V8 engine is based on the S85.

The S85B50 has been used in the world of professional drifting by drivers from both North America and Europe. [3][4] " .... from wikipedia


The V10 (codename:S85)  won the following awards at the International Engine of the Year:[15]

  • 2005 International Engine of the Year, Best Performance Engine, Best Above 4.0 Litre, Best New Engine
  • 2006 International Engine of the Year, Best Performance Engine, Best Above 4.0 Litre
  • 2007 Best Performance Engine, Best Above 4.0 Litre
  • 2008 Best Above 4.0 Litre



I’ve been driving this E60 M5 now for the past 3 days. I have been driving it in an ordinary day to day style. Driving in and around town, on freeways and coastal roads,  and I must say I am loving this car.



It takes abit getting used to. The gearbox in full automatic setting is just horrid. It changes too slowly and it can never keep the right gear so it is constantly changing up and down at low speeds.  I prefer the 7 speed manual setting and I prefer changing gears on the steering wheel or via the gear lever.


This SMG gearbox has taken a lot of flack from BMW fans even to the extent that BMWs biggest M market over in the U.S. demanded that BMW build some manual versions of the E60 M5-  and BMW did.


There is actually a guy in Pretoria who did the conversion here in SA, so a pure manual E60 M5 exists here in South Africa. - stay tuned as motoring journalist Johann Venter shares this story with us. 


For me the SMG it is a part of this machine, part of the V10 era, part of this package. The gearchange isn’t very quick though but when you finally get used to it and adjust your own driving style to this SMG 2 ‘box and learn to control the acceleration and deceleration of that V10 motor – it’s a car built for pure passion-heads. Where the sensation of driving overpowers everything else.


The sound of that V10 is just mesmerising. It’s a sound that you constantly want to hear. You chase it actually. You want that sound every time you drive this car. The only thing is, to get the sound you have to push the accelerator, and the result of pushing the accelerator is an energy of speed- and then you have to brake (which thankfully the brakes are excellent), and then again you speed up and have to slow down again .. So ja, it takes a bit of getting used to.  


This particular E60 M5 has been given a sound enrichment by means of a Dinan Muffler treatment which really makes a noticeable difference.


The ride of this particular M5 has also been lowered by fitting a set of 30mm Eibach Pro springs. Though it's not something i would have done to a standard ///M5 - but actually, the handling on this car is amazing.  And it’s not at all bad on the general ride quality either. 


But once you learn to overcome that eagerness to floor the throttle every minute - and learn to have the patience to wait for an open road – (and too accept the fuel bill at the end of every day) – you can enjoy a spectacular car. 


For this car you need an open road to appreciate the full capability of this dynamic package. A road to stretch that high revving V10 to give you a 500hp norminally aspirated boost. You need a smooth highway with sweeping bends to enjoy what an M5 is truly engineered to be, as was with the first M5 over 30 years ago - a driving sensation -  a 4-door racecar. 




I still love the straight 6 engines. Its still a BMW must have. I drive an E36 with a straight 6 motor as a daily runner, but i am now hooked on V10. 


The E60 M5 generally does have a reputation for breaking down with gearbox and engine knocking issues which is a daily concern with drivers and potential owners of this great car, - here we have some preventative tips from BMW parts specialists EMI Group :


"With all the fun and thrill the M5 V10 delivers it does come with a common ///M hiccup.

Excessive Big End Bearing Wear. This is always due to prolonged engine oil services resulting in sludge buildup in the motor reducing oil pressure. This is a costly affair as once the Bearing slips out of position it damages the crankshaft as well.

So to avoid this as much as possible, an oil change interval of 10 000km is highly recommended. Also the correct grade of oils is necessary for optimum performance and reliability.
If you are buying a used M5 it would be good to have a history on the maintenance and find out if the previous owner had done a Bearing Change and at what mileage. If it hasn’t been done it is recommended to have it done for your peace of mind and to enjoy the sheer driving pleasure of your M5.

Maintain your Beemer Using only Quality Replacement Parts or OEM."


 btw O E M , in case you dont know, stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer


A very useful article also by our preferred BMW technician in Jhb TuneTech - on Maintaining ///M Bearings : 

"The crankshaft is never in direct contact with the bearing, there is always a film of oil in between. Therefore it’s not about finding a better quality bearing. Besides, there is no “better quality bearing”, the black calico ones are the OEM bearing coated with Calico’s CT1 dry film lubricant, claiming better friction characteristics but decreasing bearing clearance. We do not recommend a smaller clearance.

Engine builders and keyboard warriors argue that it’s the bearing clearance that is the cause, some say too small and others say too large. All naturally aspirated M cars are prone to bearing failure. We are of the opinion that the clearance is too small. At the same time, we also feel that a leading cause is the long service interval as well as the fact that owners drive their cars hard without knowing the condition or level of the oil in the sump. We recommend an oil change every 10000 KMs or annually, with the correct grade of oil. We recommend doing a wear check analysis when doing a service. If there is metal contamination in the oil, it could be too late but it is a good indicator of the condition of the bearings. Therefore we also recommend swapping out the big end bearing shells as a preventative measure. We have seen cars starting to run bearings at 50000 KMs and others at 140000 KMs, many factors at play.

Early cars did have tolerance issues on clearance. There were cases of cars picking up bearing knocks at 20000 KMs.

If you have just bought a used M car, a bearing swap is a must. As a rule of thumb, we suggest a bearing swap every 80000 to 100000 KMs on all naturally aspirated M cars. On race cars, we do an oil change after every 2nd, 3rd or 4th event, depending as well as physically check the bearings annually.

In most cases when the S85 and S65 engines run bearings a very expensive new crankshaft is required. About R52000+vat for the M3. When we rebuild these engines, we micro-polish the journals, a bit more clearance but still within tolerance. More and more of these cars are running bearings and breaking engines now that they are out of warranty.


The trend is always the same with each generation. 15 to 20 years ago we used to do a lot of bearing checks, preventative replacement and engine repair due to bearing failure on the E36 M3. These cars are in collections and do very low mileage these days, so bearing jobs are much less common on the older cars.

We have seen many cars where the owner did not notice the bearing knock, leading to catastrophic failure where a con-rod and piston smashes through the cylinder block, totally destroying the engine." Diba Sing 



On my trip to the gorgeous Franschhoek Pass i met another enthusiast also enjoying some ///Me time with his immaculate E46 M3.









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