BMW has pulled the wraps off the new M5 with supercar-baiting figures like 600 horsepower, 750Nm of torque, and 0-100kph in 3.4 seconds. In fact, it is the quickest M car ever made. Things weren’t different when the original M5 came out in 1984, that being the fastest four-door car at the time.

Here’s a look back at the last five generations of what’s arguably the world’s best sports saloon.

1984 E28 M5

1984 E28 M5 BMW had been doing a sporty M535i since 1979 complete with the M colours and stripes adorning the spoilered bodywork, and Munich’s South African operation also produced a 5 Series M special, but the official thing from the M department in Garching arrived in 1984 powered by the engine out of the M1 mid-engined sportscar - the M5 could do 0-100kph in 6.7 seconds.

1988 E34 M5

1988 E34 M5 Since the original could only officially do 240kph, the second-generation M5 has the distinction of being the first to be able to reach 250kph, and the last to be fully hand-built in Garching. Launched in 1988 the E34 M5 still used a good ol’ BMW straight-six engine but this time it could be had with up 3.8-litres in capacity and well over 300bhp.

1998 E39 M5

1998 E39 M5 This car made quite a bit of noise figuratively and literally, as it was a departure from BMW’s hallowed six-cylinder — the E39 went with a V8 engine, but no one complained about 400 horsepower on tap — this time the M5 could crack zero to 100kph in 5.3 seconds and even in the Nineties it started making serious inroads into bothering legitimate supercars.

 

2005 E60 M52005 E60 M5 With the fourth-generation BMW M5 the Germans really showed us the capacity of their mad genius when it came to performance saloons, by stuffing an F1-derived V10 engine making 510 horsepower at 7,750rpm. The big brouha at the time was around the fact that BMW chose not to offer a manual paired to this high-tech power plant and went with a seven-speed automated gearbox, later reluctantly doing a few manuals for the US market exclusively.

2011 F10 M5

2011 F10 M5 Once again M fans had cause for worry as BMW adopted turbocharging for the fifth-generation M5 — the 4.4-litre V8 engine developed 560 horsepower, or nearly double the power of the original 1984 model. In special edition examples the motor produced 600bhp so no one complained about the power at least, and the outgoing M5 could get from 0-100kph in less than four seconds.