BMW’s fourth generation 5-Series, codenamed the E39, was launched in 1999 as a largely fresh design, and the first to feature a V8 engine. The new M5 boasted a significant increase in power and was produced in much greater numbers than the previous generations. And unlike its predecessors, this M5 was produced on the same assembly line as the regular 5 Series models at the Dingolfing factory in Germany. The E39 M5 uses the S62 V8 engine, which produces 294 kW and came equipped with a Getrag type D six-speed manual transmission. Its suspension shared its basic MacPherson strut/multi-link design of the V8 engined E39 5 series, however, several changes were made including reduced ride height, specific shock valving, thicker front and rear anti-roll bars, polyurethane auxiliary springs, and steel ball joints. Although the six-cylinder E39 models use rack-and-pinion steering, the M5 (and other V8 models) retains the recirculating ball steering system, as used by previous generations of M5. A quicker steering ratio of 14.7 was used, compared with 17.9 for other V8 models. It featured a Servotronic vehicle-speed-sensitive power assist which provides two levels of resistance controlled via console mounted Sport button. The Sport button also adjusted the electronic throttle butterflies for more sensitive response. The E39 M5 is equipped with four-wheel vented disc brakes measuring 345 mm in diameter in front and 328 mm in diameter in the rear. Anti-lock brakes, EML (fly-by-wire) throttle control and Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) were standard. A total of 20,482 E39 M5s were made from 1999 to 2003.