It is a question I hear quite often when people learn that I am keen about cars: „What is your dream car? If money doesn’t make a difference, what would you have?“
I find this an incredibly hard question and often I have no idea what to respond. It is just the fact that there is a lot of exciting stuff out there, and the choice tends to become even more difficult if you include past vehicles. Cars are so incredibly different and can be exciting on completely different levels. For me, the more appropriate question would be „What is your favourite V8 sports car from the seventies“ or „What sporty four-door would you have“. Naturally, making that point either confuses people or puts them into a stance of nerd-avoidance.
This can’t go on like this, so I have spent a good deal of time and patience to make up my mind. But again, there has to be some narrowing down. First, I find it incredibly useless for a normal chap to answer this question with something ridiculously expensive. Nevertheless, people tend to answer with „Ferrari Enzo“ or „Bugatti Veyron“. Which is complete nonsense, as I am sure nobody with an idea about cars would answer this way. People just say that because they know it is on top of some scale or would be unbeatable in a game of Top Trumps. Sure, these are in some way cars superior to anything else, but I like to keep my dreams more realistic (even if this seems odd wording). To be honest, chances are quite slim that one day I will be able to buy and run a top-end Ferrari. However, I am optimistic enough to hope that I will someday earn enough money to spent a considerable amount of money on a car without having to sell my family.
There is something else – I find expensive, purpose-built sports cars terrific and fascinating. And boy, would I love to get behind the wheel of a 458. However, I am not sure if I want to own one. These are cars for occasions. Not for everyday use. As I love cars as companions, my dream car has to able to do a bit more than go really fast and look flashy. It has to be useable on a daily basis, and be occasionally left out on the street for a night. I know only a few cars that are able to do this and still give you a proper run for the money, but I imagine the ownership experience of such a car to be very, very fulfilling.
So, this is the big one: What do I dream to own? It is the BMW E28 M5. Badumm-Tsss. Doesn’t sound geeky at all, does it? I will explain why. First: For some reason, my dream car has to be from the 80s. I can’t really put my finger on why, for some part I like the boxy, often forward-facing design of the mid-80s. Just look at a BMW 635 from the time to get my point. On the other hand, it definitely is the time where performance became available, maybe not to the masses, but to a much wider circle of people. The M5 is a prime example of this. At the same time, with just under 300bhp it is not ridiculously overpowered as executive-cars 20 years later. I know that it handles like a dream, even though I haven’t actually driven one. But I want. I want to quite badly. It also has another feature that makes cars great: It has historic significance. It was the first proper, full scale M-car, being revealed a year before the not less legendary M3 was born. No matter of which 5 series generation, the M5, since that first model, has always been more car that you could ever require: Space, comfort, Fun to drive, more than enough power, superb handling, good looks (well, skip the E60 for this one). Petrolheads have always loved the M5, even though for different reasons. The E60 for example was a nose-heavy, V10-equipped technology-loaden monster. Still, people loved it for its over-the-topness. And it all goes back to that first model, the E28. It just means something. And will you just look at it.
It is a symphony of rectangular shapes and general boldness. And there is more: It is affordable, in a way. An alright example should set you back at about 15.000 Euros, and what is that in comparison to an Aston Martin? Right, not much. The fact that I someday might call one my own, have it sitting in a suburban garage, drool over its engineering and explain the 3,5-litre, naturally aspirated 24-valve straight-six to my son gets me a lot more excited than the thought of owning a Ferrari and having it locked away most of the year. It is the perfect package of fascinating engineering, historic significance and availability that makes this my dream car. And I am not alone with this – Chris Harris agrees.
Chris who? Chris Harris is a British motoring journalist, but he does things a bit different. First, his publishing platform is a channel on youtube, not the telly or some magazine. Here, he uploads 10 to 15-minute films of him testing one or two cars, and he somehow manages, better than anyone, to be quite technical, but still entertaining at the same time. His youtube-page is worth a look. And, as I found out during my research, he owns an E28 M5. And his video about it puts a big „yes“ behind the arguments I have just made, I think.
Mind you, Chris has owned a Ferrari 599 as well. He sold it, I think, but the M5 stays in his garage.