Incredible manual swapped BMW M5 E60 V10

Incredible manual swapped BMW M5 E60 V10

There’s no missing this E60 M5, whether you’re being dazzled by the satin blue wrap or deafened by the sound of a 5.0-litre V10 sucking in air through carbon velocity stacks, and it’s a simply sensational super saloon that goes big in every way.

Incredible manual swapped E60 M5 V10 monster on velocity stacks!

Words: Elizabeth de Latour

Photos: Rich Pearce


Epic manual-swapped E60 M5 18 on velocity stacks

It’s fair to say we won’t see the likes of the E60 M5 again. Petrol cars are rapidly dying out, downsizing and hybrids are in, and the idea of an unassuming family saloon being powered by a screaming 5.0-litre NA V10 seems like a long-forgotten dream. If you’ve always wanted one, snap one up while you still can, which is exactly what John Best did.

I’ve got a PSDesigns velocity stack kit in carbon fibre, and this is currently the only M5 in the world with this setup”

I’ve got a PSDesigns velocity stack kit in carbon fibre, and this is currently the only M5 in the world with this setup”

However, when it comes to modding, NA tuning is difficult and expensive. Most V10 M5 and M6 owners look to supercharging when they’re hunting for more power, and we don’t blame them: it’s the best and most cost-effective option. But, in moving away from the V10’s screaming NA nature, you lose a little something, that something that makes it so special. And for John, it wasn’t about absolute power – it was absolutely all about making an already special car into something truly unique, and it’s fair to say he’s done that and then some.

Incredible manual swapped BMW M5 E60 V10

John is a serial modder, but one who’s more accustomed to FWD cars and has a taste for one make in particular. “The first car I bought myself was a Vauxhall Nova 1.4 Luxe, and since then, I have owned another 10 Novas and 10 Corsas, with most of them ending up with ‘Redtop’ engines and a couple with turbo engines,” he grins. We respect the passion for one make, it’s why we are here writing about BMs all the time, but we’re curious what managed to divert his attention away from Vauxhalls towards BMWs.

“I have been interested in BMWs since a bloke at the end of my road had an E60 M5 and used to start it up. I decided that one day I will own one,” John smiles, and we’re not surprised to hear that. When he decided it was time to make good on that promise to himself, he didn’t hang around.

Incredible manual swapped BMW M5 E60 V10

“I found the car on eBay at 10pm at night and rang the seller. We agreed on the price over the phone so, the next morning, I jumped in my mate’s Astra and went to collect it. I actually found out another member of the M5 owners’ club went to look at this car, but because he wasn’t allowed a test drive, he didn’t buy it. Winwin for me,” John grins.

Remember how we said that John was more accustomed to FWD cars? The move to RWD definitely didn’t go smoothly, it’s fair to say… “This is the first BMW I’ve owned and the first-ever RWD car I have ever owned, too. Three days after buying it, I crashed into a bus stop with a repair bill of £3500 to fix it. Six years later, I’m still the butt of jokes in our V10 WhatsApp group,” laughs John, and it’s good that he can laugh about it and that it didn’t sour his relationship with the car.

Incredible manual swapped BMW M5 E60 V10

That’s a very good thing, because if it had, well, we wouldn’t be staring at this amazing build today. The most amazing mods and the ones that make it so special are the last ones that John added, but we can’t put them off to talk about later, because they’re too awesome and we’re too excited about them. “About five years ago, I spoke to Pete at PSDesigns to ask about getting a velocity stack kit made, but life happened, and I couldn’t afford to carry it out,” he shrugs. But that was just a temporary setback for John rather than a permanent end to his velocity stack dreams, and if you couldn’t tell from looking at the photos thanks to that outrageous custom bonnet, John has made his dreams a reality.

Incredible manual swapped BMW M5 E60 V10

“I’ve got a PSDesigns velocity stack kit in carbon fibre, and this is currently the only M5 in the world with this setup,” grins John. The appeal of the kit isn’t ultimate power, it’s all about keeping that NA response and enhancing the noise, and if you haven’t heard a velocity stack kit, it’s just unreal. There’s honestly nothing else that sounds like this, the induction roar is unbelievable, and it makes for a simply astonishing driving experience. Noise is a big part of the appeal of a performance car, and with this setup, it’s the main attraction. But, of course, there’s plenty more going on here than just the stacks. “I have twin oil catch cans, cold air feeds and an Alpha N map from Tuning Tech FS. I have de-catted stock exhaust manifolds, a secondary cat delete, custom X-pipe and Hayward and Scott back boxes,” smiles John. That combo further enhances the V10 soundtrack, and it makes this E60 M5 an incredible thing to experience. But wait, there’s more!

Incredible manual swapped BMW M5 E60 V10

“My good mate Mo Khan, owner of K Performance, has a manual-converted E60 M5 – I had one drive, and I was hooked!” exclaims John. “The driver engagement is unreal. A couple of days later, my car was in the air getting the manual conversion done and having a PSDesigns carbon short-shifter fitted,” he grins. We’re not going to get into a debate over SMG here: some people love it, some don’t, and for John, switching to a traditional manual transformed the car and his level of enjoyment from it.

The under-bonnet performance mods have been joined by a fine selection of chassis enhancements beneath the surface, too, and they ensure that this E60 M5 is the complete package. In terms of suspension, John initially ran with a set of Eibach springs for a bit of a drop, but things have progressed since then. “The suspension is now BC Racing coilovers I got from Mo, and while he was fitting these, he also fitted my fully poly-bushed rear subframe and Dinan rear anti-roll bar. I also got PSB front bushes with an M6 front anti-roll bar,” says John, and this combo of upgrades ensures that his M5 really handles. And while the stock M5 brakes are adequate, they wilt under heavy use, so John sought a more substantial solution. He settled on a StopTech BBK setup at both ends, comprising six-pot calipers and 380mm two-piece discs up front and four-pot calipers with identical discs at the rear.

Incredible manual swapped BMW M5 E60 V10

Now, if the mods stopped there, we’d already be dealing with a seriously awesome build, but there’s so much more to this E60 M5. As they say, all work and no play makes Jack (or perhaps John in this case) a dull boy, which is why this M5 is anything but dull. From the factory the M5 is all about being a stealthy sleeper, but this one is completely the opposite.

This E60 is never going to duck under the radar thanks to the dazzling satin blue wrap it’s been treated to, and it’s certainly a bold colour choice, but we respect such an individual move, and we really like it. It’s an intense colour, and the way the light accentuates the E60’s lines is just stunning.

“I went with a carbon splitter, carbon skirt extensions, carbon boot, smoothed front bumper, removable front plate and a custom M4 bonnet,” says John. “While the car was being wrapped, my mate Ball Bag suggested making me a bonnet with a window to show off my stacks,” he adds, and that’s definitely an equally bold move, but in terms of making a big impact, it certainly does the job. The vented bonnet is seriously aggressive, and being able to see the stacks at all times through the window is a very cool touch, and it really sets this build apart. Then you’ve got the drop that the BC coilovers deliver, and you might be surprised to see that this M5 is sitting on its OE 166M 19s, but honestly, finished in black, they work really well here and suit the car much better than the Diewe Fina 20s that John was running before.

Incredible manual swapped BMW M5 E60 V10

Finally, there’s the interior, and John hasn’t forgotten about things here. “I knew I always wanted a boot build, so I went to my mate Matt who had just started Boujee Luxury Detailing. He built me the Pioneer system I wanted, and he also fitted my Android head unit and my reversing camera. Then on went the carbon steering wheel, carbon shifter from PSD and finally Recaro Sportster seats from a Corsa VXR on custom mounts,” says John. The heavily sculpted steering wheel looks awesome with its red stitching and carbon sections, as does that carbon shifter, but it’s the seats that steal the show. They’re far more sporty-looking and supportive than the stock items and really enhance the interior and make it feel that much more special.

Everything about this build is just awesome, and even if you can’t get on with all of John’s choices, you’ve got to respect what he’s done. The wrap looks so good, the carbon elements perfectly enhance the M5’s styling, and then you’ve got that bonnet, which really makes this car stand out. And if you’re talking about performance upgrades, this build delivers, and we love that the focus has been on making the V10 the star of the show, with the stacks and exhaust combo making this one of the best builds we’ve ever heard.

With so many awesome mods on board, it’s almost impossible to pick a favourite, but we like to put people on the spot. “To pick a favourite mod is very, very difficult,” ponders John. “Everyone notices the stacks, but for me, it has to be the manual conversion. I have nothing bad to say about the SMG but having the manual feels much nicer to drive, and the driver engagement is so much better,” he says with a nod.

Normally we’d chat about what’s next for the build, but the answer here is nothing, and that’s not because John’s finished with it but because he’s sold it. We’re not sure if we could have brought ourselves to part with a build on this scale, but there’s always something else that we’ve all got our eye on and fancy owning. And so, while the new owner of John’s M5 is having the time of his life, John himself is enjoying the 1934 Ford drag car he bought, which runs nine-second quarters.

Clearly, after this M5, there are very few cars out there that can deliver the next level of driving thrills, and that says a lot.

Carbon CSL-style boot lid has been partially painted Pioneer boot build. front and rear PSDesigns twin oil catch cans Custom bonnet window means the stacks are always on show. Custom plaque. Carbon velocity stacks look and sound incredible. Recaro Sportster seats have been fitted BC coilovers deliver a


  • ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 5.0-litre V10 S85B50, PSDesigns carbon fibre velocity stack kit, PSDesigns twin oil catch cans, Alpha N map, fully de-catted custom exhaust, Hayward and Scott back boxes. US-spec six-speed manual gearbox and clutch setup
  • POWER AND TORQUE 439.3whp and 354.6lb ft wtq
  • CHASSIS 8.5x19” ET12 (front) and 9.5x19” ET28 (rear) Style 166M wheels in gloss black with 255/40 (front) and 285/35 (rear) Pirelli P Zero tyres, BC Racing coilovers, M6 anti-roll bar (front), Dinan anti-roll bar (rear), fully poly bushed, StopTech ST60 BBK with six-piston calipers, 380mm two-piece discs and RSL29 pads (front), StopTech ST40 BBK with four-piston calipers, 380mm two-piece discs and StopTech Street pads (rear)
  • EXTERIOR Satin blue wrap, custom bonnet with window and vents, SSDD carbon splitter, smoothed front bumper, removable front number plate, carbon wing vents, side blades, roof spoiler and CSL-style boot lid, tinted windows
  • INTERIOR Recaro Sportster seats, custom carbon steering wheel, PSDesigns carbon shifter, Android head unit, custom boot build with 2x 12” Pioneer subs and Pioneer amp
  • THANKS Carley my fiancée, for putting up with me constantly going on; my dad for getting me into cars from a young age; Mo Khan at K Performance, my car wouldn’t be where it is without him; Pete at PSDesigns for my stacks and shifter; RJE Automotive; Boujee Luxury Detailing; C4 Detailing; NL Powder Coating; D & S Signs

I’ve got a PSDesigns velocity stack kit in carbon fibre, and this is currently the only M5 in the world with this setup”

Recaro Sportster seats have been fitted. BC coilovers deliver a serious drop. Heavily sculpted custom carbon steering wheel. PSDesigns carbon shifter

This E60 is never going to duck under the radar thanks to the dazzling satin blue wrap it’s been treated to… It’s an intense colour, and the way the light accentuates the E60’s lines is just stunning.

Article type:
John best 1 month ago #

should never of sold this car

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