Who knows what tomorrow is going to bring was the attitude I used as a catalyst for purchasing my new 2019 BMW F90 M5. In truth I had spent the first half of 2019 planning to buy a car in 2020 to celebrate a milestone birthday. I had a savings plan in mind to create a deposit. I had done my research of how to obtain the best finance deal using dedicated luxury / performance car finance companies, playing what if with their finance calculators online. My approved used 2014 BMW F10 53Od on PCP was up for renewal in the first half of 2020 giving me sufficient time to order a new car ahead of my birthday in November. I was mentally prepared for the arduous wait ahead associated with the lead time. I had 12 to 20 weeks in mind even though at the time I had no idea what car I was going to order. I did have a shortlist though, which I will explain. The day I actually purchased the M5 was a complete accident and was not planned, honest.
Tell me I am not alone in spending hours on a daily basis researching new cars when you know your current one is getting close to the end of the finance deal or lease. I visited Hexagon Classics, Stratstones, Redline Specialist Cars, Carwow, 911UK, Nissan and BMW regularly during my search period. I looked at so many cars online that my Swoonometer peaked as I admired car after car that I thought could be mine, only to watch them appear online and get sold in quick succession. At the time many of the cars I looked at were pre-loved cars with very few new cars in consideration for my mind.
My shortlist consisted of cars I have admired for years. Chief among them was a Porsche 911 in turbo guise. I fell in love with a Porsche (930) 911 Turbo at a young age and have been magnetised towards owning a 911 for much of my adult life. I used the Porsche Dealers page on 911UK to identify specialist Porsche dealers, particularly those who had won recent awards for sales and servicing as voted by customers.
My shortlist consisted of:
- Used Porsche 911 (997) 4S 3.8 Gen 2 with PDK
- Used Porsche 911 (997) 3.8 Turbo Gen 2 with PDK
- Used Porsche 911 (991) 4S with PDK
- Used Porsche 911 (996) Turbo
- Used Porsche 981 Spyder or GT4
- Used BMW Z4 M Coupe (in mint condition)
- New Nissan GTR Prestige
As you can see notable by its absence is the BMW F90 M5, which had not made it onto my shortlist. And yet, the M5 was up there with the Porsche 911 Turbo in my consciousness. With the exception of the BMW E60 M5 I have aspired to own an M5 as a daily driver for years. I visited the BMW garages near me regularly and when I did I made a beeline for an M5 if they had one in the showroom. However, I was already on my second BMW 5 series and as good as they are and they are, I was not considering an upgrade even if it was for an M5. That said looking back as I write this blog I managed to find a few pictures my wife had taken of me in various M5’s prior to my purchase. It was the car she thought I should buy. Little did I know that often sealed the deal. But also subconsciously as the images depict below it seemed destined as I inadvertently spent more time in an M5 visiting local BMW garages that any other car.
But why this shortlist I hear you ask. The 911’s I have explained have been a childhood dream. The Porsche 981 Spyder and GT4 were desirable, special and in relatively short supply so I figured on buying one to keep long term. The BMW Z4M Coupe for me is an iconic sports car that will go onto be a classic. I had my eye on a mint condition example with less than 5000 miles. I already own a BMW (E85) Z4 3.0si, which I have had for years and love. The Z4M would have made a perfect garage queen and something for me to wax, buff and watch it appreciate in value. The Nissan GTR was my guilty pleasure choice. In fact of all the cars, in my mind the the Nissan GTR was a likely candidate. All of my man math calculations, planning and anticipation was directed at owning a Nissan GTR in 2020. I went as far as taking a new one for a test drive, which I didn’t do with any other car. I was even prepared to save up the extortionate deposit I would need to buy one new. For me the appeal was knowing I had a car that was in effect an everyday supercar with rock solid Japanese technology, mechanics and a global following of hardcore real enthusiasts. The fact that GTR’s can be customised to Bugatti Veyron levels of performance was less of a draw for me as I planned to keep it stock. I even like the aggressive looks but its the speed, grip and agility it would provide that was a real draw. I am no racing driver, much more a point and squirt kind of guy if you know what I mean. The Nissan would make me look like a hero I thought.
A chance encounter
I would often ask my daughters if they want to go for a drive. A chance to take a car on country roads for a blast did us all a world of good. We would often combine the drive with a brief stop at a local park, a walk in the woods, a bakery to quench or sweet tooth or a visit to a car show room to taste the delights of their coffee machine and biscotti’s and sit in new cars. The idea is we all benefited, which meant I usually had takers to keep me company. This particular day, a Thursday when the girls were off school for summer holidays we visited Specialist Cars in Stevenage, which is one of three relatively close BMW authorised retailers. They keep most of their staple cars downstairs and their M cars upstairs. My girls love SUVs like the X5 and X7 for the space inside and the elevated driving position. I could leave them for long periods of time as they hopped from one car to another. The staff were great and never bothered us at all. Upstairs they sat in the X5M, meanwhile I was disappointed to find that there was no BMW M5 on this particular day, which was unusual as we had seen one there on previous visits. As we left the showroom I spotted an unassuming M5 outside. It didn’t look anything special not like an M2 or M3 looks with their aggressive stance. I must say it looked positively mundane and nothing more exciting than our current BMW 530d M Sport. We left the showroom underwhelmed. I later learnt that the car had just been delivered off a trailer as Specialist Cars new M5 showroom car.
An unexpected purchase via Costco
It was the Sunday after visiting Specialist Cars that I had the bright idea to suggest taking the family to Costco in Stevenage. The store had recently opened and I was itching to use my recently acquired membership. The lure of spending money on food, drink and other bits was enough to rally all of the troops including my wife.
I am a stickler for time and was therefore adamant that we should leave early to arrive at Costco by 1030 in the morning. We did arrive well before time, as I anticipated a queue of people with the same idea. A vast empty car park greeted us as we soon learnt that the store did not open until 1100. The question of ‘what should we do?’ was raised to which I suggested a visit to Specialist Cars, which was a short drive away.
On arrival I suggested we visit the Mini garage next door. I had been trying to get my wife into a new Mini Countryman for sometime. The leasing deals available at the time were incredible and she was looking to change from a 2009 Ford SMax we had for over ten years. My strong willed wife was having none of it and we left the Mini garage promptly. She has since taken ownership of a new 2020 Range Rover Evoque P200 Dynamic S, which has been her dream car. Perhaps I will write something about that in the future.
Departing the Mini garage we went into the BMW garage next door. To my surprise they had a new F90 M5 downstairs in the showroom. Not only was this unusual as M cars were normally displayed upstairs but it was the very same one I had seen with my girls the Thursday prior without a second glance. In the showroom, clean under shown room lights the car looked stunning to behold. I meekly gestured to a passing salesman to enquire about the lead time for ordering a new car. I was merely being curious with a view that it could potentially make it onto my shortlist. That said, in the back of my mind the price was way above my budget or so I thought. How ironic is this? The salesman went onto to explain that the car came in on Thursday and they had it on a stand outside the new Costco store as a promotion for the garage.
The salesman tuned in quickly to my interest and went onto explain there is a great deal on the car today. In answer to my question about lead times this very car was available to drive away. I must have circled the car so many times that morning, sitting inside, looking in the boot, kicking the tires and smelling the leather. My wife stayed with me as the girls did what they usually do, which is to sit in every car in the show room, especially the SUVs. Eventually I was introduced to an M specialist called Angelo who went onto explain the deal available on the car in more detail. My wife and I were offered the obligatory coffee and biscuits while I continued to swoon internally. The clincher for me was when Angelo started the car. As a showroom specified car it was loaded with a number of options including a Sports Exhaust. It took a minute or so to warm up but when it did the bark from the exhaust from a brief rev was unforgettably loud, thunderous and head turning. I could see others in the showroom physically jump with fright. I shook Angelo’s hand there and then. The deal was done.
The image below illustrates a man in shock at the fact that he has just purchased a new BMW F90 M5 without a second thought. Inside he is bricking it as the enormity of his actions start to settle on the ground. ‘How am I going to afford this’, ‘How much does it cost to insure’, ‘Where will I park it’ and ‘What will my mother say?’, were among a host of questions my wiser, sensible self was asking. However, the grin said it all. I had purchased a new M5, a dream car and ahead of my goal to achieve in 2020.
Just in case you were wondering we never made it into Costco that day. I felt faint and overwhelmed after the purchase. There was a family holiday booked to the south of France and so I would have to wait four torturous weeks before I saw the car again. I also arranged for Paint Protection Film (PPF) to the front and for ceramic coating for the rest of the vehicle, which took place shortly after collection day. That took a further two weeks of anxiety and anguish waiting to collect the car from Lussivo in Harlow. Highly recommended by the way. More on them in a future blog.
My BMW F90 M5 Specification
Although I didn’t have any say in the specification of the M5 I am so pleased with the stealth, under the radar colour and specification. I recall when I turned up at one of my best friends, Simon’s house with the M5 for the first time. He guessed that I had pulled up in a new car so I said I had purchased a new BMW 520d M Sport. To which he said something along the lines of ‘good you bought something sensible’. On closer inspection Simon exclaimed ‘ No way man! That’s a beast, an M5, no way!’. Simon and I have both liked M5’s for years so it was a complete shock.
- BMW F90 M5 Saloon S63 4.4i
- Colour: Singapore Grey
- Trim: Silverstone Full Merino Leather
- M Sport Exhaust System
- Steering Wheel Heating
- Display Key
- Sun protection glass
- Split-folding rear seats
- M seat belts
- Seat heating front and rear
- Apple CarPlay preparation
- Comfort Package
BMW F90 M5 Collection Day
Still in shock I finally collected my new BMW F90 M5 in September 2019. A full month after purchasing the car. The purchase experience from Specialist Cars was exemplary, especially from Angelo.
The moral of the story is dream big but don’t narrow your options too much. What I have found is that things have a way of manifesting themselves in strange unexpected ways so be prepared to be surprised if preparation for surprises is even possible. The other thing I learnt was to not shop at Costco. Only kidding I eventually made it to Costco with the family in the autumn and bought way to much.