The M5 predecessor was a lot more modest, but it was still very cool.
The BMW M535i was in production for just a couple of years, and only a little more than a thousand units of the car were produced. For a big mainstream company like BMW, that might sound like the car did poorly, but it was quite the opposite. The car turned out to be such a great mix of performance and functionality that BMW decided to push the idea further and develop a proper M5, the first generation of which debuted a few years later.
The M5 we know today is a beast, and we owe it all to the car here in this video.