I know that, amongst the authors that grace these pages, I seem to do a lot of comparisons of cars, some of which are extremely unlikely comparisons. One of our readers termed my picks a “Cheese and Chalk” competition; in many ways, he was right. After all, how can you really compare cars that are in completely different demographic categories? To be fair to me, I don’t always do such, but in that case that’s the appeal of the “10K Friday” series – taking a fixed budget and looking at the wild variety of cars that’s available simply because they’re similarly priced. However, I also like to compare similar vehicles and that’s the case today. I have two rare examples of Dinan-modded BMW 5-series. On the surface, they’re quite similar – both grey metallic, both with light grey interiors, both with normally aspirated motors, both have silver multi-spoke wheels with polished lips, and both have 6-speeds. But the level with which Dinan has breathed on them is quite different; consequently, one has double the power of the other, more technology and more complexity. That model also has one tenth the mileage of the other, and unsurprisingly is on offer at ten times the price making these seemingly very similar 5s very different. Which is the winner in your mind?
While engine swaps on BMWs seem downright commonplace, there are the normal engine swaps (the well played out S50/52 comes to mind) and then there’s Hartge. The history between the two premier BMW tuning firms in Germany – Alpina and Hartge – is interesting. They’ve vied for the top spot for several decades with slightly different design philosophies. During that time, they’ve also seemingly flip-flopped; originally, Hartge took a more conservative route than Alpina, whose wild turbocharged creations challenged BMW’s own offerings. But after they were granted full manufacturer status in Germany in 1985, Hartge really came into its own and hasn’t looked back since. While like many firms they offer a line of aerodynamic tweats, wheels, exhausts and engine management chips, their party-piece is taking motors from the larger BMWs and popping them into the 3-series models. None of these conversions is more notable than the E90 H50 though. While the E46 H50 took the V8 out of the 5 series, the E90 had a V8 available in the lineup in the M3. Hartge therefore moved up the food chain to the E60 M5’s S85 V10. With a staggering 500 horspower out of the box and even 50 more with Hartge’s tuning, they transformed the rather mundane small executive sedan into a supercar:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2006 Hartge H50 at Turner Motorsports
As has happened with other series of cars, such as Audi S4s, there are currently several generations of BMW M5s that are converging on value, leaving you with some hard decisions as to which you’d prefer. Indeed, from their start through the E60 M5, the sports sedan got larger and heavier, but gained 2 cylinders per generation and corresponding power levels. The E34 BMW M5 was a refinement and softening of the E28 original design but kept the race-bred S38 inline-6. Purists eyebrows raised when the new E39 M5 launched with a 5 liter V8, but the 400 horsepower soundtrack has subsequently has become a serious legend and fan favorite. Purists once again held their breath as the E60 M5 launched, now with a 5 liter V10 – a high revving, howling banshee of a motor. All of them are serious forms of motivation, and the value of the first 4 generations are all coming into line. While I wasn’t able to find a good example of an E28 M5 for this writeup, I have the subsequent three generations to check out – which would you choose?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay
This 2009 BMW M5 isn’t really a full Dinan model, but rather a desirable car which has undergone some factory-approved Dinan modifications. Purists rejoiced when…