With a supercharger and meth injection on board, this ferocious E60 M5 is on another level when it comes to performance. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Matt Richardson.
STORM FORCE 10 702hp supercharged, meth-injected E60 M5
ou would have thought that when BMW decided to stuff a massive 5.0-litre V10 into the subtle saloon body of the E60 M5 that would have been plenty for most people. Just savour those figures for a moment: five-litres and 10 cylinders. That’s an awful lot of both. Enough, most people would say, or perhaps even a little too much. But not Aaron Dhillon. What he did was look at the V10 in his M5 and thought: “Yeah, nice, but what it really needs is a supercharger. And meth injection…” and that’s what happened. So if you thought that a 5.0-litre V10 was enough, you’re clearly wrong.
Now, before we get onto Aaron’s M5, we should probably have a brief chat about V10s because they are a rare treat and that’s a genuine statement as there really aren’t many around. Just 10 car manufacturers have used V10s – sharing engines in some cases – and there have been just 21 V10-powered production cars (not including whimsical one-offs or “production” cars that never really got very far in terms of actual production) produced in total. Ever. It’s rarer than a fine steak. And it’s exotic, in that real sense; okay, appearing, as it has done, in some trucks and in diesel form has perhaps dulled that ultra-exotic sheen a touch, but by its very nature it’s a special engine. It sounds glorious, really unlike anything else out there, with that characteristic wailing howl that really sets it apart; it makes the driving experience feel so special, and Aaron’s is even more special again.
“I’ve always been into cars,” he grins as we enjoy the summer sun and chat cars on our shoot; “My first was a Fiesta Zetec S Celebration with a chequered roof and then I had an Impreza RB5 but I sold that when my other half was pregnant and I had to give cars up when I had kids,” he says, which is completely understandable. With kids now in tow, practicality became a factor when shopping for motors and so there came a 120d, which was swapped for a Cayenne Turbo, then a Range Rover and then a custom Transit with seats in the back. You will notice, aside from the 120d, a distinct lack of BMs on that list but it’s not to say that they weren’t on his radar or on his mind. “I’d wanted an M5 since I was 19,” says Aaron, and he came across the one he ended up buying completely by chance. “It was owned by an old guy in Enfield; I went to his garage for an MOT and spotted this in the warehouse with only 26k miles on the clock. I asked him if he was interested in selling it and he said no so I spent the next six months pestering him to sell it to me until he gave in. He made me promise that I wouldn’t sell it on for a profit and that was it. I told my other half it’s a 520 and I haven’t told her about the mods,” laughs Aaron, so let’s hope she never sees this magazine…
So Aaron had just picked himself up a low-mileage Sapphire black E60 M5 and… he had absolutely no plans for it, which is completely understandable, because for most people this is the peak; you’ve got you’re 5.0-litre V10 and you’re done. But Aaron wasn’t done, though to his credit he didn’t jump into the mods right away.
“I bought the car in December 2016 and started modding it in November of last year, so I kept it stock for a year. Then one day I was sitting in traffic, bored, searching for mods on my phone and I ended up ordering all the mods I wanted; I travelled to Brian with a bunch of boxes and did all the mods in one go,” he grins. And just who is Brian? Well that would be Brian from BM Remapping in Chatham, who has done everything on this car and, with Aaron as a customer, he’s been very busy. If the star of the E60 M5 is its V10, the star of this build is the supercharger kit that has been mounted to it and there’s a lot to say about the whole setup. Strapped to the side of the engine you will find an ESS 675 supercharger kit which, as the name suggests, delivers peak power of 675hp at a relatively gentle 7.5 psi (that’s 0.5 bar), but there are two major differences to Aaron’s setup compared with just about every other supercharged E60 M5 you might come across. The first of these is that while the 675 kit is intercooled – chargecooled, technically – Aaron’s kit is not, and that’s because in place of that air-to-water intercooler there sits a meth injection kit, performing the same function but in a different way. “I read about meth on the M5board,” says Aaron, “and we decided it was the right thing for my car,” and while meth injection is starting to gain popularity here in the UK we are still lagging behind our American cousins, who have embraced it with open arms. Aaron’s running a Devil’s Own kit, supplied through PSDesigns, and it works by injecting a fine spray mix of alcohol and water into the intake air, dramatically reducing the temperature while at the same time increasing the octane rating of the fuel within the cylinders (methanol has a very high octane rating), helping to keep everything cool while simultaneously keeping detonation at bay. It might be an unconventional setup but it works very well. The second major difference within the engine bay of Aaron’s M5 is the engine itself because while you are still most definitely looking at an S85, it is not your regular S85. “The engine is actually a 5.2,” explains Aaron; “someone was breaking a race-spec M5, it had this engine and I decided I wanted it. It runs a race-spec crank, 94mm pistons and BE bearings,” and while the increase in size only counts for another 20hp or so, it just gives a little more headroom for the whole build. Of course, when Aaron found his 5.2 engine, Brian had already fitted the supercharger kit to his old engine so off came the supercharger, out came the engine, in went the new engine, followed by the supercharger, the meth kit, an uprated RPi oil cooler and a custom map direct from ESS to allow for the increase in capacity, with the end result being a very healthy 702hp along with 474lb ft of torque, which is seriously impressive, but Aaron’s not done with the engine yet…
One of the shortcomings of the S85 (and it doesn’t have many, believe us) is the relative lack of torque and the fact that all the action happens way up in the rev range (peak torque at 6100rpm, for example), a characteristic of having a high-revving, naturally aspirated engine. Adding this ESS kit doesn’t do much to change that, which Aaron brings up as we chat, saying that the car doesn’t really feel supercharged, and that is a characteristic of the centrifugal supercharger. This type of supercharger is designed to deliver peak boost at one point in the rev range, at the same point where peak power is produced, which means that, in this case, it won’t be making the full 7.5 psi of boost until 7750rpm because while a centrifugal supercharger does lift both power and torque outputs significantly, it doesn’t change the nature of the engine’s delivery. If you’ve got a high-revving engine, like in this example, it will feel a lot more muscular throughout the rev range but it will retain that high-revving nature and will feel a lot like the standard engine in terms of the way it behaves. That is why Aaron and Brian are currently working on fitting a nitrous kit, which would be used to fill-in at the lower end of the rev range before the supercharger starts producing boost, in order to deliver even more mid-range acceleration, which will be nice…
Additional performance mods include scoops mounted behind the front grilles to deliver plenty of fresh air to the twin(!) intakes for the supercharger and the exhaust has also received plenty of attention, with de-cat manifolds, a Supersprint X-pipe and Eisenmann Race rear section and the results are as spectacularly loud as you might expect. The chassis mods are less numerous than the performance upgrades but then again the E60 M5 is a keen-handling machine and its chassis never feels challenged by the stock 507hp, so Aaron has only made changes where he felt the standard setup fell short. First of all, there’s the suspension; with EDC on board it’s not surprising to learn that Aaron hasn’t opted for a set of coilovers, instead choosing some Eibach springs, but what is curious is that he’s only fitted them up front but is running stock rears, but there’s method to his madness. “I only fitted the front springs to bring the front down; the rear sits fine stock but the front looks really high, so the Eibach front springs just help with the looks,” he explains and we wholeheartedly agree as the end result looks spot-on. The wheels, as you can see, are the stock 19s, but they sit mounted on 20mm spacers all-round, which really help to beef-up this M5’s stance and fill out those arches, and beneath the wheels sits the absolutely vast BBK setup. There’s no missing the monster calipers of the Yellow Speed kit, which does a very good job of addressing one of the M5’s major shortcomings, that being its lack of braking power in relation to the actual amount of power it produces, and Aaron has tackled that problem head-on. The Yellow Speed kit uses massive eight-pot calipers and 405mm discs up front with only slightly smaller six-pot calipers and 380mm discs at the back, and they’re more than up to the task of slowing this M5 without breaking a sweat.
So that’s the business side of this build taken care of but, as you can see, this is not a stock-looking M5 on the outside or the inside and Aaron has done a lot of work to ensure his example stands out from the crowd. First up there’s the LCI head and rear light conversion, though you can’t tell that from looking at the front of the car because Aaron gave his headlights to Never Enough Mods to work their magic on and they have created the set of one-off, ultra-aggressive headlights you see before you. Not only do they look awesome but they really change the frontend dynamic and make the car look so much more intimidating and purposeful.
Aaron has fitted a Vorsteiner vented bonnet along with black grilles, carbon side vents, and a seriously-sexy Hamann full-width carbon front splitter. The carbon theme continues with carbon side blades while at the back you’ll find a surprisingly subtle CSL-style boot lid, AC Schnitzer carbon centre diffuser, carbon spats beneath the rear bumper and the finishing touch, the quad carbon exhaust tips. It’s all actually quite subtle but the styling mods combine to make this M5 massively more aggressive and it really has some serious road presence.
Moving inside, at first glance you might not think much has been done to the cabin but the biggest change is actually staring you in the face. Aaron’s M5 originally came with black leather but he swapped it all out for the devilishly delightful red hide you see before you, which we really love and it’s made a big difference to the cabin. The trims have been hydro dipped in carbon and look fantastic, while a P3 digital vent gauge allows Aaron to keep an eye on his engine’s various parameters and the final addition is a pedal box, allowing him to sharpen up the throttle response when he so desires as, with the addition of the supercharger, the old power button is now redundant.
This E60 M5 is an awesome machine and a lot of work has been poured into it and in a very short space of time, which makes it all the more impressive. It looks awesome, menacing in black, with the styling additions managing to be both subtle and yet hugely effective at amping up the aggression at the same time and the engine is simply epic. We especially admire Aaron for having chosen to walk his own path when it came to ramping up the power levels, and it’s made this build even more special. We know that nitrous is on the cards but what more could Aaron possibly have planned for his mighty M5? “When it blows up I’ll fit a 6.0-litre engine,” he laughs, “but beyond that I am more than happy with it for now,” he says, grinning the grin of a man who owns a supercharged E60 M5. Obviously we’re hoping his S85 won’t blow up, though at the same time we kind of are because that means it’d be time for a 6.0-litre swap. Given half a chance, we don’t doubt Aaron would be all over that because, unsurprisingly, he has no plans to ever sell this car. Where do you go after owning a supercharged V10 M5? The answer is nowhere, you just make it faster, and we’re really okay with that.
DATA FILE Supercharged BMW M5 E60
ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 5.2-litre V10 S85, 94mm pistons, ported heads, ARP head studs, ported throttle bodies, ARP rod bolts, ESS underdrive pulleys, ESS VT2- 675 supercharger kit, Devil’s Own water/meth injection kit, grille scoops, RPi oil cooler, de-cat manifolds, Supersprint X-pipe, Eisenmann Race exhaust. SMG III seven-speed gearbox
POWER AND TORQUE 702hp and 474lb ft
CHASSIS 8.5x19” (front) and 9.5x19” (rear) Style 166 wheels with 255/40 (f) and 285/35 (r) Continental ContiSportContact 2 tyres, 20mm spacers, Eibach Pro-Kit springs (front), Yellow Speed BBK with eight-piston calipers and 405x36mm discs (front) and six-piston calipers and 380x32mm discs (rear)
EXTERIOR NEM one-off custom headlights, black grilles, Vorsteiner vented bonnet, Hamann carbon front splitter, carbon side blades, CSL-style boot lid, carbon rear spats, ACS carbon rear diffuser
INTERIOR Red leather, P3 digital vent gauge, pedal box, carbon hydro-dipped trims, water/meth tank
THANKS NEM for the headlights, BM Remapping for all the hard work he put into the car and TJ Detailing for the products, ceramic coat and paint correction
“While the 675 kit is intercooled – chargecooled, technically – Aaron’s kit is not, and that’s because in place of that air-to-water intercooler there sits a meth injection kit”
“The trims have been hydro-dipped in carbon and look fantastic, while a P3 digital vent gauge allows Aaron to keep an eye on his engine’s various parameters”
Ultra-aggressive front-end. Blow-off valve Vortech V3 Supercharger. One of the twin air intakes. Red leather replaces original black interior. Front-end drop and 20mm spacers have beefed-up this M5’s stance. Carbon side vents. P3 vent gauge. Sexy carbon exhaust tips. Striking one-off custom headlights from Never Enough Mods. Monster Yellow Speed BBK all-round.