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The BMW X4 M could be hiding the next M3’s heart

BMW X4 X3 M M3

BMW has revealed M-fettled versions of its X3 and X4 SUVs, sporting big-power turbocharged six-pot engines. You’d imagine they might borrow their engines from the outgoing M3 and M4 models. Looking at the figures, this is not the case…

The first point to note is that they are available in Competition specification straight out of the box. The X3 M Competition and X4 M Competition are day one releases. The usual M car fare of strengthened chassis, powerful engine, tuned suspension and big brakes are joined by lightweight Competition 21-inch alloy wheels.

BMW X4 X3 M M3

Looks wise, we’re in controversial waters. While muscular, neither can be described as a thoroughbred M car. There’s every suggestion in the swollen bodywork and gaping vents that serious power hides within. Out back, the exhaust arrangement is telling of what generation M car you’re dealing with. It looks much more like the subtle setup on the new M5 than the more central setup on the outgoing M3.

BMW X4 X3 M M3

Inside, there’s a lot to love from the latest and greatest M models, and a lot we wish had carried over from the newest BMWs. The instrument binnacle is a touch last-gen compared to what’s been seen in some other of the very latest BMWs. The M5’s red flashes, including M buttons on the wheel, do carry over.

In terms of performance, you’ll get to 62mph in 4.1 seconds if you pin it in your X3 M or X4 M, before going on to a top speed of 155mph, or 174mph with the M Driver’s Package.

The heart of the next M3?

BMW X4 X3 M M3

Our suspicions really peaked when we saw the power figures. The 3.0-litre Twin-Power turbo straight-six in the X3 M and X4 M Competition models produces 510hp (no mention of the fancy water injection system) and 600Nm of torque.

By comparison, the hopped-up M3 CS produces a mere 460hp, though torque is the same. It’s still up on the outgoing M3 and M4 Competition models on both counts, mind…

What is interesting is that in the X3 and X4 application it revs lower. A redline of 7,300rpm is 300 lower than the original 2013 M3’s 7,600rpm top-end that was played up as ‘unusually high for a turbo motor’.

BMW X4 X3 M M3

Furthermore, BMW is no stranger to previewing the power plants of ‘proper’ M models in its SUVs. The X5 M and X6 M of 2010 featured a very similar twin-turbo V8 that would eventually find its way into the M5 and M6 of subsequent years.

We’re betting on a 520hp+ variant of this updated M six-pot appearing in the next M3 and M4…

New Alpina B7 xDrive – the 600hp BMW M7 we’ll never have

Alpina B7 BMW 7 Series

Based on BMW’s flagship 7 Series, the B7 is the latest super saloon from performance, style and racing wizards, Alpina. It’s also the closest thing to an M7 we’re likely to see.

M-onster power

Alpina B7 BMW 7 Series

Under the bonnet is a 4.4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 with 600hp and 590lb ft of torque. For the uninitiated, those are M5 numbers and then some.

This sumptuous luxury saloon can reach 60mph from a standstill in 3.5 seconds and, if you keep the pedal pressed, sail on to a top speed of 205mph. Super saloons don’t get much swifter.

Keeping all that performance under control is an epic braking system, comprised of four-piston front calipers pinching 394mm discs. At the rear, floating calipers work with 398mm discs.

The B7 is four-wheel drive (xDrive) only, while Alpina Sport Chassis settings drop the car by 15mm.

Bahnstormer style

Alpina B7 BMW 7 Series

BMW has had a grilling (ha ha) from commenters about the snout of the new 7 Series. Even Alpina couldn’t entirely distract us from that chrome muzzle, but it’s a good effort. Nothing says ‘understated performance’ like those classic multi-spoke wheels, now in 20- and 21-inch sizes.

Your best clue to this car’s latent potential is found at the back. Four distinctive exhaust tips, nicely integrated into the big 7’s bumper, mark it out as Alpina-fettled. A V8 howl comes as standard.

Cabin fever

Alpina B7 BMW 7 Series

One area the updated 7 is absolutely an improvement over the outgoing car is inside. Subtle updates include a digital dashboard, new steering wheel and different trim options. With a dusting of Alpina magic, expect some contrast stitching to go with your Nappa leather.

As ever, the Alpina touch is as subtle as it is sexy. Under the skin, though, lies a monster that could show up most M cars. Don’t like the new grille? Just as well, given you’ll only see the back of the B7 as it blasts past.

In the USA, expect $305 change from $143,000 after your $995 destination charge. As to whether the B7 will make its way to the UK, we await confirmation…

The BMW M850i Night Sky is trimmed with star dust

BMW M850i Night Sky

All the way back in the year 2000, S Club 7 told kids to ‘reach for the stars’. More than 18 years later, BMW has listened. Meet the new M850i Night Sky edition.

BMW M850i Night Sky

OK, BMW hasn’t turned its new flagship coupe into an interstellar vehicle. It’s not that fast. But it is quite a peculiar special edition, even among the pantheon of one-off specials.

What is the M850i Night Sky?

BMW M850i Night Sky

First and foremost, it’s the best version of the new 8 Series – BMW’s all-singing, all-dancing flagship coupe. The ‘Night Sky’ bit includes controls made from, in BMW’s words, ‘meteoritic material’. 

BMW M850i Night Sky

That means some of the dials in this out-of-this-world 8er are made from materials that came from a galaxy far far away, and somehow made it through our atmosphere. The start/stop button for the V8, the whole of the centre console’s trim plate, the gear selector, the iDrive multimedia controller and the inlays in the sills are all trimmed as such.

Meanwhile, on the centre console, a star-studded sky is depicted with lights in the leather, reflecting ‘human fascination with the infinite vastness of the universe’.

BMW M850i Night Sky

Across the car, including on the trims and some exterior pieces, the ‘Widmanstätten’ pattern is recognisably extraterrestrial. It’s a geometric effect that only forms naturally outside of our atmosphere, in the extreme conditions of space.

BMW M850i Night Sky

Appearing like ice crystals, it only becomes visible when certain types of iron meteorite are polished or brought into contact with acidic compounds. A slow process of cooling metal alloy is how it occurs in space, and this cannot be replicated on Earth.

BMW M850i Night Sky

In addition, there are new 3D-printed brake calipers. While a very aerospace method of manufacturing, we don’t think the actual caliper materials were harvested from an unsuspecting meteorite.

Why make the M850i Night Sky?

BMW M850i Night Sky

It’s a good question. We won’t argue with abstract specials for the sake of it, but the star-studded Beemer does have a purpose. Tonight, January 3 2019, Earth will be passing through the orbit of asteroid ‘2003 EH’. The result of which should be a fairly spectacular night sky, streaked with sizzling space debris.

BMW M850i Night Sky

You never know, some of it might fall to Earth and become a part of a tenuous motor car. After all, that meteoritic trim is definitely more interesting than a finger-print-splattered slice of piano black plastic.

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BMW 3 Series through the generations

The history of the BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series through the generationsLaunched in 1975, the BMW 3 Series changed the shape of the compact executive sector. Since then, some 14 million units have been built, making it one of the best selling cars of all time.

The history of the BMW 3 Series

To mark the launch of the all-new seventh generation G20 3 Series at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, we take a look back at 43 years of the world’s best selling premium executive saloon.

The BMW 3 Series: this is your life.

BMW 2002The history of the BMW 3 Series

No history of the BMW 3 Series would be complete without first mentioning the BMW 2002. Introduced in the late 1960s, the 2002 laid the foundations for the 3 Series by forging a reputation for reliability and sharp dynamics. The BMW 3 Series couldn’t have asked for better parentage.

BMW 5 Series (E12)The history of the BMW 3 Series

The first 3 Series was designed to look like a smaller version of the BMW 5 Series, which had been launched three years earlier in 1972. Codenamed the E21, the first 5 Series would remain in production until 1984, by which time nearly 700,000 cars had been built.

1975: BMW 3 Series (E21)The history of the BMW 3 Series

Developed over a five-year period and at a cost of 35 million Deutschmarks, the BMW 3 Series – codenamed E21 – was unveiled in July 1975. It featured four different four-cylinder engines and was launched in the UK in October 1975. It was the smallest BMW ever developed and, at the time, the most comprehensively engineered.

Mercedes-Benz 190

Mercedes-Benz 190

The BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class would go on to become fierce rivals, but in launching the E21, BMW drew first blood. In fact, the Bavarians could afford not to offer a four-door version until 1983, by which time the Mercedes-Benz 190 (forerunner to the C-Class) was only just being unveiled.

1977: BMW 3 Series convertible

The history of the BMW 3 Series

In 1977, the first left-hand-drive BMW 3 Series convertible was launched in the form of the E21 Baur convertible. It harked back to the effortlessly pretty 2002 Baur convertible (as shown here).

BMW 323i of 1977The history of the BMW 3 Series

In the early days, prospective BMW owners could choose from the entry-level 316, the 318, the 320 and the range-topping 320i, with the ‘i’ denoting fuel injection. But in 1977, BMW unveiled a new range of six-cylinder engines for the 3 Series, the ultimate of which was the 323i, complete with a fuel-injected 2.3-litre engine.

Motorsport debut 1977 – BMW Junior TeamThe history of the BMW 3 Series

The 3 Series made its motorsport debut in 1977 when BMW Motorsport entered a BMW Junior Team in the 1977 German Championship. Although early days, BMW – and in particular the 3 Series – would go on to develop a strong relationship with the track.

1982: BMW 3 Series (E30)

The history of the BMW 3 Series

BMW sold 1.36 million E21s, making it a phenomenally successful car. But that’s nothing compared to the E30 3 Series of 1982. If ever a car put a company on the map, the E30 did for BMW. A stalwart of the 1980s, the E30 would shift 2.22 million units, helped in part by its Swiss Army Knife levels of versatility.

BMW 3 Series: optional extrasThe history of the BMW 3 Series

As it developed, the E30 would offer a bewildering array of options and accessories. Who else could offer a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive compact saloon powered by anything from a lowly diesel engine to a high-powered M3 version? The E30 would also cement BMW’s relationship for being – how should we put it – a tad miserly with the spec sheet. A competitive screen price may have lured the punters in to the showroom, but they soon found that many extras would need to be paid for.

BMW 3 Series: four-door arrivesThe history of the BMW 3 Series

In 1983, BMW launched the first four-door version of the 3 Series, a version that would be critical to the model’s long-term success. The B-pillar was pushed eight inches forward to make room for the extra door.

BMW 325i

The history of the BMW 3 Series

The 3 Series gained a new flagship in September 1985 with the launch of the new 325i. Thanks to its 2.5-litre engine, the 325i offered performance levels comparable to the likes of the Volkswagen Scirocco, Toyota Supra and Porsche 944, but in a more conservative and practical body.

BMW 324dThe history of the BMW 3 Series

At the opposite end of the spectrum was the 324d, the first diesel-powered BMW 3 Series. A turbocharged version – the 324td – would arrive two years later.

BMW E30 TouringThe history of the BMW 3 Series

The original 3 Series Touring – or estate – wasn’t developed by BMW at all. Well, not as such. It was the work of Max Reisbock, a BMW engineer, who found the saloon version wasn’t practical enough for his growing family. So he bought a wrecked 323i and converted the car himself. BMW liked the design so much, a factory version was built with only minimal changes to Max’s original design.

BMW E30 M3The history of the BMW 3 Series

The E30 M3 is quite simply one of the greatest performance cars of all time. Launched at the 1985 Frankfurt Motor Show, the first M3s would be unleashed in a cloud of tyre smoke a year later. An output of 200hp may not seem like a great deal in an age when a hot hatch won’t get out of bed for less, but the M3 had rear-wheel drive and 50:50 weight distribution on its side.

BMW E30 M3 Touring CarThe history of the BMW 3 Series

Of course, the E30 M3 road car was developed for homologation purposes, allowing BMW Motorsport to go racing. And go racing it did, competing with great success in the British, French, Italian and German Touring Car Championships, as well as at the Nürburgring 24-Hour. BMW needed to build 5,000 road cars. It actually built nearly 18,000. Enough said.

BMW 3 Series and the rise of the yuppiesThe history of the BMW 3 Series

Yuppies: young, upwardly mobile professionals. In the 1980s, no aspirational and wealthy Londoner would be seen without a mobile telephone, big hair and an appropriate set of wheels. For many, the BMW 3 Series was the vehicle of choice. Sales rocketed, but the 3 Series would develop an unfortunate image that would take years to shake off.

BMW Z1The history of the BMW 3 Series

The E30 3 Series also spawned one of the most striking sports cars of the era: the delightful BMW Z1. It used the E30’s platform and the 2.5-litre engine from the 325i, plus it and featured a pair of trick doors, which ‘disappeared’ into the door sills. It was the first BMW Z car.

1990: BMW E36 3 SeriesThe history of the BMW 3 Series

As the 1980s gave way to the 1990s, BMW launched the third generation 3 Series, otherwise known as the E36. It was a case of out with the old and in with the new as the E36 shared virtually nothing with its predecessor. Noticeably bigger than before, the new 3 Series also featured a pair of double headlights, now sat behind glass covers.

BMW Z3The history of the BMW 3 Series

Like the E30 before it, the E36 spawned a sports car of its own, this time in the form of the BMW Z3. This was the first BMW to be built in the United States and it was propelled into the public eye by its appearance in the 1995 film, Goldeneye.

BMW 318tds

The history of the BMW 3 Series

Although far less glamorous than James Bond or a two-seat roadster, the BMW 318tds of 1994 represents another milestone in the model’s history. It was the first four-cylinder diesel engine to be fitted to a BMW 3 Series.

BMW E36 M3The history of the BMW 3 Series

But we don’t want to give you a four-cylinder diesel. Not when you can have a firecracker of a BMW M3. The E36 is rarely ranked alongside the best of the M3s, but the M3 Coupe remains a thing of beauty. And the 3.0-litre straight-six engine represented a new era for the badge. Saloon and convertible versions would follow and BMW would shift over 71,000 units, making it hugely successful.

1993: BMW 3 Series CompactThe history of the BMW 3 Series

The purists weren’t impressed with the BMW 3 Series Compact of 1993, but there’s no doubting the business case for it. Essentially it was a smaller, hatchback version of the E36 and it helped BMW reach an entirely new audience. Think of it as a forerunner to the current 1 Series.

1998: BMW E46 3 Series

The history of the BMW 3 Series

Fast forward to 1998 and the launch of the fourth generation (E46) BMW 3 Series. From a sales perspective, the new 3 Series picked up where the old car left off, breaking the three million units mark for the first time. In total, 3.27 million E46s were built.

BMW E46 M3

The history of the BMW 3 Series

If the E36 M3 was a little soft for some people, the E46 M3 was a welcome return to form. Its 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine would propel the M3 to a top speed of 150mph, sprinting past 62mph in just 5.2 seconds. It was good. Like, really good. But it will forever live in the shadow of the ultimate E46 M3…

BMW E46 M3 CSLThe history of the BMW 3 Series

The legendary E46 M3 CSL. By shedding 110kg of weight and upping the power, BMW created a performance icon. The 0-62mph time now slipped under the five-second mark. The M3 CSL was quite simply one of the most driver-focused cars of its day. If you get the chance, you must drive one.

BMW 320Cd Convertible

The history of the BMW 3 Series

For those who prefer boulevard cruising to kissing the apex, this is perhaps more suitable. The BMW 320Cd Convertible of 2004 was the first open-top BMW to feature a diesel engine. Yes, we know, we’d prefer a CSL, too.

2005: BMW E90 3 Series

The history of the BMW 3 Series

We’re getting rather close to the modern era now with the E90 3 Series of 2005. Barely 13 years old, the E90 is still a familiar sight on Britain’s roads, especially on motorways and in office car parks. The World Car of the Year judges clearly liked it, as it won the award in 2006. To confuse matters, the E90 was a saloon, E91 a Touring, E92 a coupe and E93 a convertible. Remember the days when BMW codenames and models were simple?

BMW E90 / E92 M3

The history of the BMW 3 Series

Breaking with tradition, the M3 now featured a V8 engine. Talk about the end of an era. Sadly, despite the 4.0-litre V8 engine, the new M3 weighed in at 1,655kg, so it was hardly the featherlight CSL of yesteryear. Still, it did spawn some tasty special editions, including the last-of-the-line M3 Coupe. It’s rather orange.

2012: BMW F30 3 SeriesThe history of the BMW 3 Series

And so to the current era and the outgoing sixth generation BMW 3 Series. Codenamed the F30, the 3 Series was unveiled in 2011 and launched in 2012. You’ll probably remember it from the 2012 London Olympics, where it was the most widely used support vehicle.

BMW F30 M3The history of the BMW 3 Series

Right, bear with us on this, because you can no longer buy an M3 Coupe. But you can still buy an M3. Just only in four-door guise. If you want an M4 Coupe, you’ll need to buy the M4. Got that? In both cases, the V8 has been ditched, with BMW now favouring the 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged six-cylinder unit. It’s a welcome return to form for the iconic badge.

BMW F32 4 SeriesThe history of the BMW 3 Series

The four-door 3 Series is no more. If you want one, you’ll have to buy a new BMW 4 Series instead…

BMW 3 Series Gran TurismoThe history of the BMW 3 Series

Or, if you fancy something slightly different, you can opt for the BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo. It’s more practical than a 3 Series Touring and offers more rear legroom than a 5 Series. And yes, despite us telling you otherwise, it is a BMW 3 Series with four doors…

BMW 3 Series ActiveHybrid 3The history of the BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series ActiveHybrid 3 was a thoroughly modern interpretation of the classic 3 Series recipe, featuring as it did, a hybrid powertrain. That said, at £42,000 it was very expensive and you’d probably be far better off with a cheaper, diesel-engined 3 Series. The more recent BMW 3 Series iPerformance is no longer available to order.

BMW X3

The history of the BMW 3 Series

Alternatively you could opt for the incredibly popular BMW X3. These things offer rock-solid residual values and further proof that the 3 Series platform remains as versatile as ever.

BMW 3 Series: British Touring Car Championship

The history of the BMW 3 Series

A change in focus here, because racing cars will always be more exciting than SUVs and crossovers. The BMW 3 Series has enjoyed great success in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC), especially in the 1980s and 1990s. Frank Sytner, Will Hoy, Tim Harvey, Joachim Winkelhock and Colin Turkington all drove to the Championship at the wheel of a 3 Series. And Steve Soper (seen here) was a track legend.

BMW 3 Series: German and World Touring Car Championship

The history of the BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series was also successful in both the German and World Touring Car Championships. Indeed, the Briton, Andy Priaulx, performed heroics at the wheel of a BMW 320, winning the World Touring Car Championship in 2005, 2006 and 2007. He also won the European Touring Car Championship in 2004.

BMW 3 Series: European Car of the Year?The history of the BMW 3 Series

Strangely, for all its success, the BMW 3 Series has never won the European Car of the Year trophy. The closest it came was a second place in 1976, when it was sandwiched between the Simca 1307-1308 and Renault 30 TS.

BMW 3 Series: production figuresThe history of the BMW 3 Series

But neither of those cars have had quite the same level of success. In fact, the BMW 3 Series is the most successful premium car of all time, shifting 14 million units in 43 years. That’s more than the Vauxhall Corsa. BMW deserves credit for managing to balance exclusivity and popularity. Must be all that practice with the acclaimed 50:50 weight distribution…

2019: BMW 3 Series (G20)

2019 BMW 3 Series G20

The new 2019 BMW 3 Series was unveiled at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, before going on sale early next year in Europe. The new car is 10mm lower than its predecessor, as much as 55kg lighter and features the most powerful 4-cylinder engine ever fitted in a BMW production model. The automotive world is holding its breath to get behind the wheel…

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BMW M340I xDrive budget M3

New BMW M340i revealed: meet the budget M3

BMW M340I xDrive budget M3

After revealing the all-new 3 Series at the recent Paris Motor Show, BMW will launch its low-calorie M3, the M340i xDrive, at the LA Auto Show later this month.

The budget M car is back with the four-wheel-drive M340i. The most muscle-bound new 3 Series to date will top the range before the full-fat M3 arrives in 2020.

The new ‘G20’ 3 Series was launched at the Paris Motor Show in September 2018, although only a couple of model variants were shown at the time.

More power than the outgoing M2

The big news with the new M340i is that its twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-six produces more power than 2016’s M2.

With a rorty 374hp under the bonnet, it’s up 48hp on the previous pumped-up 3 Series. Put through BMW’s rear-biased xDrive system, 368lb ft of torque will catapult it to 62mph in 4.4 seconds – within heel-nibbling distance of the outgoing M4.

Expect a more readily accessible 155mph (limited) top speed, too.

BMW M340I xDrive budget M3

Eight-speed auto ‘box

BMW is also continuing its mission to phase out the dual-clutch DCT transmission.

The new M340i uses an eight-speed Steptronic sports automatic, with shorter-ratio lower gears for better acceleration, plus a launch control function. The car also comes as standard with the M Sport differential.

Lower suspension, variable steering

The M340i rides on M Sport suspension, lowered by 10mm. Active M suspension with adaptive dampers is optional.

In terms of stopping power, BMW is proud of the sporty setup on the M340i, which features a short pedal travel, four-piston calipers and 348/345mm front/rear brake discs.

What we’re dubious about is the Variant Sport Steering, which is said to ‘support agile cornering with outstanding feedback as well as spontaneous and precise response’. Variable steering systems have caused conjecture in recent years due to inconsistency and a ‘woolly’ feel. Can BMW get it right?

BMW M340I xDrive budget M3

M badges galore

Naturally, any M car, be it the full ticket or not, has to have the form factor. As such, the M340i comes with the requisite M Sport body kit and 18-inch alloy wheels. Larger 19-inch wheels are an option, as are sportier exhaust trims for the M Sport exhaust and other M Performance body accoutrements.

The new conjoined kidney grilles feature a mild gold colouration (as do the wheels) and a new pattern inside, while the exhaust pipes are broad and trapezoidal. Of course, expect more M badges than there are moving parts, both inside and out, to let everyone know what you’re driving.

Pack all this together and the new M340i xDrive looks like it stacks up as a more sensible alternative to a fully-paid-up M car. Power, performance and looks match some of the best, if not the raw badge appeal. We’re in no doubt it’ll drive very nearly as crisply, too.

European market launches take place in July. Now all that remains is to wait and see how far on they’ve pushed the M3 to keep enough breathing room between the two models.

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BMW floating hubcaps

You can now get Rolls-Royce-style floating hubcaps for your BMW

BMW floating hubcaps

It’s more than 15 years since Rolls-Royce introduced the Phantom VII and with it, floating hubcaps. Now, BMW has introduced the feature as an optional extra.

So, what is a floating hubcap? You’ll know when you look at a Phantom rolling by: you see the wheels turning, but the Rolls-Royce symbol isn’t. That’s the floating hubcap – and you can now get one for your 3 Series.

BMW floating hubcap wheels

Will Rolls-Royce drivers feel their cars have been cheapened, given this previously exclusive feature is now available on BMWs? Hopefully not…

The add-on floating hubcaps will fit any BMW alloy wheels as long as they have a pitch circle diameter of 112mm. The BMW logo itself is 56mm wide.

How much for a set, then? That’ll be £75 – including VAT – for four. They could make a fun, and relatively inexpensive, addition to your BMW.

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New BMW Z4

From Z1 to Z4: the history of BMW Z cars

From Z1 to Z4, our brief history of BMW Z cars includes the 507 owned by Elvis Presley

BMW 2002

This classic BMW has been saved by the dealer that sold it 45 years ago

BMW 2002

First sold by Williams BMW Group in 1973, this dilapidated classic BMW 2002 is about to get a new lease of life, 45 years on – courtesy of its original purveyors.

The H&H Classics sale at Duxford that took place on October 17th had a variety of tasty classic cars on offer. This particular 2002 would have to have meant something to whoever bought it given its condition. It’s sorely in need of some TLC, having sat unused for 20 years in dry storage.

Enter Williams BMW in Manchester. 

After being supplied new by the dealer, the car went through the hands of two owners. The first kept the car stamped up with Williams until 1988, before selling it in 1991. Its second owner presumably ran it until stowing it away in 1998. 20 years on, it’s now seeking a third owner. 

Other than being in need of a good recommissioning, it seems a solid example in terms of history. All original fitments are included: both keys, documentation, official BMW touch up paint and even a business card.

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Ian Burt, now Head of Operations at H&H Classics, was a former employee of Williams BMW. He knew of the car’s significance and contacted the directors. Group Buyer Adam Kirkpatrick was sent to view it at the pre-sale. He was immediately impressed and made sure to successfully bid for the car, come the sale.

“The moment I saw the car at H&H Classics HQ in Warrington I knew that we would want it back if we could win it at auction,” said Adam Kirkpatrick.

“It will now be given the full Williams BMW restoration and lots of TLC.”

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Jenson Button's old 2005 BMW M5

Jenson Button’s old BMW M5 V10 could be yours

Jenson Button's old 2005 BMW M5For Jenson Button, driving away from a circuit in his 2005 E60 BMW M5 must have been like taking his work home with him. You can thank the F1-inspired 507hp V10 engine for the ‘busman’s holiday’ nature of Jenson’s super-saloon.

Jenson bought the car new and registered it JB05 BAR (he was driving for British American Racing at the time). During his ownership he won his first Grand Prix, became F1 World Champion and was awarded an MBE.

He sold the car in 2011 and reportedly drove the M5 to the NEC where it sold for £26,500 at the Coys Autosport International sale.

He reportedly dropped the car off with the auctioneers complete with his post and lunch still inside.

Now, it is up for sale again, this time at the Silverstone Auctions NEC Classic Motor Show sale, where it is expected to fetch between £35,000 and £40,000. We suspect Jenson’s lunch will have gone off by now.

‘More than I bargained for’

Jenson Button's old 2005 BMW M5

The lucky bidder and current vendor wants to spend more time in Spain, which is why the M5 is up for sale. “The reaction to the car has been incredible: everyone is interested in seeing a car that was owned by a Formula One World Champion,” the vendor told Silverstone Auctions.

“When I went to get it taxed, they let me keep the original V5 as a souvenir, and my local BMW dealer even wants to use it for a sales promotion. It’s safe to say that I got a bit more than I bargained for with this car!”

Even without the Jenson Button connection, a low-mileage E60 BMW M5 would make for a cracking purchase. Assuming you can live with the fuel bills – reports suggest that you could see fuel economy in single figures if you drive like an F1 star – this is one of the greatest all-rounders of the modern era.

A four-door Lamborghini Gallardo

Jenson Button's old 2005 BMW M5

It had a tough act to follow. The E39 M5 was regarded as a high point in the M division’s back catalogue and the last of the hand-built cars. The E60 took things in its stride – with 507hp at 7,750rpm and 384lb-ft of torque at 6,100rpm, it was a little like driving a four-door Lamborghini Gallardo.

Top speed was limited to 155mph (203mph was possible with the speed limiter deactivated), while the 0-62mph time was blitzed in just 4.7 seconds. All this from a rear-wheel drive BMW M car with a sweet manual… ah, no, wait…

While the North Americans were treated to a manual gearbox, we had to ‘make do’ with the SMG semi-automatic sequential transmission.

The SMG is a complex system and one that isn’t blessed with a blemish-free record for reliability. But driving the M5 at full chat, flicking through the gears via the paddle-shifters, is a riotous experience. The soundtrack, the performance, the poise – this M5 has got it all.

Mint and minted

Jenson Button's old 2005 BMW M5

Not that Jenson Button or the second owner have spent a huge amount of time behind the wheel. The 2005 car has covered just 17,000 miles and the condition is described as “mint”. Rather apt, considering you’ll need to be minted if you intend to use this as a daily-driver.

The JB05 BAR registration mark will stay with the car, along with a new race suit and paddock jacket from 2005, both signed by the F1 star. There’s also a Parrot hands-free kit mounted on the dash, presumably so that you can have a petrol station on standby.

If you fancy Jenson’s old car – frankly, who wouldn’t – the auction is taking place over the weekend of 10 and 11 November 2018.

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BMW X2

BMW X2 20d xDrive M Sport 2018 review

Our first UK drive of BMW’s X2 compact crossover. How does it stack up against the Range Rover Evoque and Volvo XC40?