2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Touring

I’m not really sure where the “wagons are cool” craze comes from. Back in Europe, estates tend to be regarded as a bit boring. But the longer I’ve lived in America, the more I can relate. Camping trips, afternoons spent chasing down furniture on Craigslist, and weekends spent helping friends move apartments in the city have all led me to appreciate the appeal of a good wagon.The highly competent 540i sedan is already well loved, combining a well-balanced chassis with a torquey 4.4 liter V8 that puts out about 290 hp. The Touring version offers all of this plus a load space nearly on par with that of a small pickup, once the seats are folded down. What’s even better than a 540i Touring? A 540i Touring M-Sport, which adds more aggressively styled, M5-like bumpers, firmer sport suspension, sport seats and shadowline trim (sedans also received M-Parallel wheels, although Tourings did not).

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i Touring M-Sport on Portland, OR Craigslist

Year: 2003
Model: 540i Touring
Engine: 4.4 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 115,600 mi
Price: $10,000

Selling my wagon. For those who know about these cars, you probably know that only about 300 of these exact M Packages’ were shipped in the US. In short words, it’s basically the M5 except an automatic transmission and with slightly less power.
This car has a clean title, runs and drives great! I love this car. Feels very solid and because its a wagon, its massive in terms of space inside. NON SMOKER car. Pictures don’t do justice, but you can get a pretty good idea of how this car was treated: maintenance was done on time since I’ve owned this car and treated well. I’m not in a rush to sell this vehicle but for any questions or concerns, call or text me at (971)340-6051. If I don’t respond right away, it means I’m busy but I will get back to you as soon as I will have the opportunity. Thank you.

The seller is right in suggesting there were only 300 odd 540i Tourings specified with the M-sport package, making this indeed quite a rare car. However, I think he overeggs the pudding a little by claiming that the car “is basically an M5 with an automatic.” That’s not really true – the M5 has about 100 more hp for starters –  but it is the case that the 540 is swift and powerful, and gives you a lot (but not all) of the performance of the M5 while returning generally lower maintenance costs. (A brief aside: BMW never made a production version of the E39 M5 Touring. But they did build a prototype. You can see it here.)

The Titanium Silver paint might be a little plain for some, but I think it looks neat over the black leather interior. The car looks very clean both inside and out. The only flaws apparent from the pictures are two small dents: one on the rear left quarterpanel, near the tailgate door, and one on the right side of the tailgate door itself (in a position near a crease line that looks like it could be awkward to pull out).

Mileage is reasonable and the price seems almost too good to be true. I’d suggest a careful PPI to rule out any hidden issues. These cars need to be looked after and maintenance can get expensive. The plastic timing chain guides, for example, are a well known weakspot. If they break, they will show up as little broken plastic pieces in the oil pan, necessitating a $3k repair job. Some owners replace the guides preventatively; for more information, see this useful discussion thread.

Thanks to our reader Shawn for sending this in!

– Craig

6 thoughts on “2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Touring

  1. Yeah, gotta call BS on the “basically an M5 automatic wagon” thing. Car has enough appeal that there’s no need to resort to hyperbole to sell it.

  2. Had an alpine white one,

    Definitely saying it’s an m5 is ridiculous. It’s a 540i with a body kit and slightly upgraded suspension. they are cool though.

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