I’d decided I needed (yes, needed!) a V8 M5, so having sold my E30 M3 this morning I began trawling Autotrader. I found a couple of relatively local examples, one at £9K and one 50% more at £13.5K, and trundled off to view them.
Ben Smith accompanied me in the 330d, and we made a beeline for the £13.5K car. The advert was strong: 74,000 miles, 2001 pre-tax band, widescreen nav, electric rear blind, newer steering wheel. Sadly, in the metal, the car was extremely disappointing. Unloved wasn’t the word – abused would be better. It took less than 10 minutes to decide it wasn’t even worth driving it, so we walked away.
Our next stop was a rather well to-do car garage in Gerrards Cross. The M5 there was far away the cheapest car on their premises; it was surrounded by Bentley convertibles, Ferraris, rows of 911s etc. Despite the fact that Ben and I turned up looking rather scruffy, and wanted to see their cheapest car, the staff at the garage took us seriously, and a quick nose around the car revealed it to be tidy for its age.
Thanks to a pointer from Olly Bloxham I noted the beginnings of bubbling rust in the fuel filler flap. The brake discs had a bit of a lip on them, and some of the pixels on the dashboard display didn’t work but otherwise everything did. The aircon was cold, the sat nav and TV worked, the heated seats were toasty, the glass sunroof and windows were okay, the electric seats fine, there were four fairly new Michelin Pilot Sports on the tidy wheels, and the general condition of the interior was very good. Full BMW service history was present and correct, as were most of the tools, and service implements.
The engine rattled a little on startup and my trained ear could detect the slighted of Vanos growls, but I’ve not heard many quieter overall. We took it for a test drive which revealed no trim rattles, no bumps or clunks, a very smooth gearbox and useful clutch, no issues with the power steering, and the car felt absolutely straight. The only negative was a feeling that while fast, it perhaps wasn’t as quite fast as another M5 I’d recently driven.
That feeling nagged a bit – and it still does – but the engine was very smooth, made a nice noise, and unleashed bags of power when asked! On balance I decided that the car as a whole felt honest, and after a RAC vehicle check and establishing an agreeable price the deal was done and a deposit paid.
These are the only photos I have for now – I’ll collect the car at the end of the coming week once fund transfer is complete and the dealer has sorted the rust in the filler flap and prepared the car for delivery.