Speaking of sleepers, an E65 BMW M5 is always snoozing with its 500 bhp V10 pumping out 100 bhp/liter in stock trim. While the new turbo era will undoubtedly add fun to the cars of the future, the sounds produced will never equate to that of this finely-tuned V10. Pay attention next time you see one. With the same size and configuration of the V10 found in the earlier Lamborghini Gallardo, it sounds like one!
For those who don't know just how powerful these S85 V10 engines are, I once perforcmed a test for a doctor friend, where we'd added an intake, software and a crank pulley. The car went from 445whp to 461whp, through a stock exhaust. Find me a 5.0-liter Mustang that will do that normally aspirated.
These cars, like the M3, also have an “M” button on the steering wheel. Without pressing this button you're stuck in “400bhp” mode, and you have to press it to get the full 500bhp. Well, I dynoed the two modes. The former got 327whp, and the latter got the 445whp baseline mentioned above–a 118whp difference. Not quite the “100bhp” advertised delta.
Anyway, I'd returned the car to the owner, who didn't even know about the “M” button (hey, it was his first performance car, and the dealer salesman apparently didn't tell him either), but with 461whp. This 134whp difference is what you'd expect from a supercharger of some sort. Needless to say, he was terrified of the car for the first while.
Another sweet ride BMW produced was the E24 BMW M6, which was available between the 1983 and 1989 model years. In 1987 it was considered one of the 10 fastest cars in America by Road and Track magazine.
This particular example was rolling on BBS RK wheels, which fit many BMW models nicely. They’re very light (a 17×8 weighs 16-lb, for instance), and I recall having a set of these as track wheels for my first E36 M3 back in the late 90s.
The engine bay was insanely clean, and it's no surprise the car won an award that day. Check out the factory individual throttle bodies on the 3.5-liter six. A bone stock US-spec M6 was rated at 256 bhp, while the non-catalyst Euro-spec version sported 286 bhp and was capable of 175 mph. However, this particular example is a genuine Dinan-modified M6, which includes software, cam gears, and exhaust.
One of my fondest memories in any car was in a turbocharged, 406whp/420 lb-ft E24 BMW M6, which was originally built by Dinan for Doc Severinson of the “Tonight Show”, and later modified by ICS Performance. It also sounded a lot like a turbocharged E36 M3, only slighly deeper. The car was a blast.
This E92 M3 is owned by KC BMW CCA Member and former president Chuck Vossler. It sports a nice set of HRE R40 monblock wheels, carbon rear lip and Dinan exhaust. These wheels are light as well. With the 18×9.5-in wheel option weighing in at only 19.5-lb.