Welcome to Depreciation Appreciation! Every month, your pals at autoTRADER.ca dig up an example of how depreciation can make for an extra-fantastic used-car deal.

We here at www.autoTRADER.ca believe that 10 is the proper number of cylinders for a family sedan, and if you agree, then you’ll want to check out this month’s installment, which focuses on the last-generation BMW M5, going by the chassis code E60. Standard with 500 horsepower, this hot-rod 5 Series could pull off 0-100 km/h in the low- to mid-four-second range, en route to a top speed designed for the autobahn, where it battled for kingpin status with the likes of the Audi RS6 and Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG.

The M5 was once priced well into six-digit territory, and today, you can find one for under $30,000 all day long.  That’s a fraction of its original price, often with very reasonable mileage. Feature content was fitting of a world-class performance sedan, and included navigation, voice command, a rear-window sunshade, push-button start, the iDrive command console, power adjustable seats with dynamic bolsters, and plenty more.

The Sticky: All models got a 5.0-litre V10 engine, good for 500 free-revving, fast-spinning horsepower. Most used copies will have an SMG transmission that functions like an automatic with paddle shift, though a manual transmission was offered in select years. A well-maintained used M5 from this generation is a great pick for a shopper after a world-class performance experience that can be enjoyed on the daily. With room for the family, a decent trunk, and enough comfort and luxury for hours-long touring, the E60 was a truly do-it-all high-performance four-door.
Owners loved the ability to switch the M5 from comfortable cruiser to rocket-propelled sports car at the tap of a button, the exclusivity, a high-quality cabin, the lengthy list of high-luxury gadgets, and the discreet and understated styling of this extreme performance model. Gripes are minimal from owners, and typically centre around heavy fuel consumption.

Approximate New Value: At launch, the E60 M5 carried a starting price of no less than about $115,000 Canadian dollars. That’s before any optional add-ons or packages, which could push the price thousands higher.

Approximate Used Value: In the used E60 marketplace, numerous examples of copies like this are available. The gist? Look for a 10-year old model with between 100,000 and 140,000 kilometres for well under $30,000. Here’s a delicious example of a low mileage unit with an asking price under $24,000! If you’re after something with even lower mileage, there’s no shortage of units with under 100,000 kilometres of use available for a touch over $30,000, like this, or this. Finally, if you’re a big-time E60 fan ready to live your dream, and you’re after a top-notch used copy, some very low-mileage units are available from $40,000 to $50,000, like this one.

Test Drive Tips: Purchasing an E60 without a full mechanical and electronics systems inspection by a BMW dealer is strictly not advised. Given the complicated nature of this vehicle, as well as its plethora of advanced systems and pricey replacement parts, shoppers should protect themselves from after-purchase costs with a full inspection, any available extended warranty coverage available, and nothing less than an exhaustive check-over of the vehicle in question by a trained technician before purchase. Shopping for a used M5 through a dealer, BMW or otherwise, who offers extended warranty coverage is a great idea.

All interior and exterior features, including the stereo, iDrive console, windows, locks, lights and instruments should be checked for proper operation. Take note of any warning lights or messages, especially more common ones pertaining to the SMG transmission, if so equipped. Many owners have reported problems with the computer-controlled brain which controls this advanced transmission. Often, updated software fixes issues like hard shifting, clumsy shifting, or sporadic power output, though shoppers should ensure that’s the case before purchase.

Further, some owners report problems with oil lines and solenoids that operated its ‘VANOS’ valve timing system in earlier years of this generation, again, reinforcing the importance of having a full mechanical check-up by a BMW technician familiar with the vehicle systems. Finally, assume the used M5 you’re considering needs brakes and tires all around, until you or a mechanic confirm otherwise.

The Verdict: As many owners will verify, the M5 isn’t a car ideal for those after fantastic fuel mileage or inexpensive repair bills—though it has few rivals where a coveted four-door performance experience is concerned.