The BMW 5 Series E39 has gone through no fewer than three V8-powered variations between 1995 and 2003. They all included variants of the M62 engine family, with the most powerful of the family being the S62 of the M5, which produced 394 horsepower (284 kilowatts). The 520i was equipped with a 3.5-liter eight-cylinder engine that delivered only 232 hp (173 kW) until 1998, when it was replaced with a slightly more powerful version of M62.
Although the 535i was the weakest of the V8 genus, it was nevertheless more than strong enough. As an example, this video from TopSpeedGermany on YouTube, which shows us a 1996 5 Series 535i putting its full power on Germany’s Autobahn. The rear wheels take the power after it’s sent through a five-speed manual gearbox. It’s a thing of dreams, truly.
Today’s standards notwithstanding, this luxury vehicle appears to be very quick. Sure, it isn’t a rocket from a standstill, but once you reach 62 miles per hour (100 kilometers per hour) the car keeps on pushing where many would run out of steam. The revvy engine can easily attain 124 mph (200 kph), and the maximum speed we saw in the video was around 155 mph (250 kph) with the engine sitting at about 6,000 rpm.
However, if you want to feel better about your own car and its efficiency, watch the fuel gauge visible in the video. The car starts with about a quarter of a tank left, but after ten minutes on the Autobahn at full throttle, the needle shrinks back to nill. Shocker – that German V8 needs plenty of animal juice to keep itself going. And we love it.