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E39 M5 (1998-2003)

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Old 04-16-2012, 04:51 PM is offline
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Location: canada
Join Date: Feb 2011
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Mein Auto: 2001 740i
Gas consumption

i just bought 2002 m5 e39.
i do a lot of traveling and i was wondering what is the best speed and gear to drive the car?
exp : 100-120 km/h on 5th gear or 6th gear.
Thank you
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:35 PM
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timfitz63 timfitz63 is offline
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Location: Lorena & San Antonio, TX
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Mein Auto: 2007 X3 (MT)
Congratulations on the purchase!

I'm not at all familiar with the M5 gearing, so my answer is going to be somewhat broad. To maximize your fuel economy, you should drive in the highest gear that you can without lugging the engine. For my X3, that 'cross-over point' is at about 2,000 RPM; if I let the revs slip below that mark, the engine isn't really happy, and I really should be in a lower gear... For something with a high-torque V8 (like your M5 or a C5 Corvette) the 'cross-over point' is a bit lower.

In your specific example of 100-120 km/h (~60-75 mph), I would think 6th gear is best for cruising; that's why BMW gave it to you. At 100 km/h (60 mph), you might have to downshift to 5th to accelerate (say, for a quick pass), but at 120 hm/h (75 mph), I think you'll be able to pull even in 6th gear. To give a specific point of reference, my 6-speed C5 will run very happily at 75 mph in 6th gear and ~1,600 RPM. And it will accelerate well there too. But down at 60 mph, if I don't drop it into 5th, the acceleration is noticeably more anemic (even though I'm almost -- but not quite -- lugging the engine).

Another 'rule-of-thumb' I tend to use (and this is based solely on my own observations), is that most engine-transmission combinations seem to be happy cruising in a gear that's equivalent to your speed (in mph) divided by 10, plus 1. For example, at 30 mph, you should be in 4th gear (30/10 = 3 + 1 = 4).

X3 w/6-speed & Sport Package:
A sports sedan disguised as an SUV...
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Old 04-20-2012, 02:56 PM
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hairball hairball is offline
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Mein Auto: 2014 X3 35x
5th gear for passing/performance. 6th for getting the best gas mileage.
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