2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Touring

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

2002 BMW M5

2002 BMW M5

4The E39 M5 continues to be a firm fan favorite, and it’s not hard to see why. These cars offer a compelling combination of brilliant performance and everyday practicality, all served up in a beautifully balanced chassis with a slick 6-speed gearbox and screamer of a naturally-aspirated V8 engine. I have no doubt that they will one day be regarded as classics: perhaps the last of BMW’s M-cars from the analog era, before the advent of dual clutch auto-manuals, turbos and piped-in sound effects. Even nice examples aren’t that expensive today, when you consider how much car you’re getting. It’s probably a good time to buy one, since they continue to climb in value with each passing year.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M5 on Bimmerforums

2003 BMW M5

2003 BMW M5

3The E39 M5 is an everyday supercar whose restrained exterior belies the power that comes from the monster lurking underneath its skin, a 4.9 liter V8 that makes 394 hp and will scream its way up to a 7,000 RPM redline. There’s something very pure and unadulterated about this car, and this gives it a special place in the heart of most M-enthusiasts. That purity comes from the application of a very simple (and by now seemingly old-fashioned) formula: take a big, naturally aspirated motor and add 3 pedals, 6 gears and only subtle exterior modifications to the already quite conservatively styled 5-series body shape. The product is a practical, four door sedan that you can use to pick up your groceries and drive your family to the mall. Or, blitz around the track.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW M5 on eBay

2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

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Yesterday Paul wrote up a 530i Sport noting that for many, the styling of the E39 5-series is vastly preferable to the E60 that came afterward, burdened as it is with awkward creases and controversial styling courtesy of BMW design guru Chris Bangle. I tend to agree, although I also think the E60, especially in sport specification, will probably become better appreciated as it ages. While yesterday’s 530i with an autobox represents, as Paul put it, the “bread and butter” of the range, this particular car is a bit more special. The standard 540i, powered by a torquey 4.4 liter V8 making nearly 300 hp, is already a very capable sport sedan in its own right. The M-sport package however, which adds M-sport exterior styling, suspension and wheels, brings the car within firing range of the M5.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport on Bimmerforums

2001 BMW 530i

2001 BMW 530i

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It’s been more than a decade since the E60 BMW 5 series debuted and most will agree that time hasn’t been too kind to that design. Too often, what is radical and forward thinking at a certain time becomes another man’s dated design a few years down the road. For many, however, the E39 5 series was the watershed for BMW’s mid-sized sedan. It brought us one of the most beloved M5s of all, packing a 4.9 liter V8 mated exclusively to a 6-speed manual gearbox. Offered in both sedan and Touring format with a wide range of engines, the bread and butter model would be the 530i, which could be optioned with a Sport Package for those looking to tart up their ride with some M bits, tighter suspension and more aggressive wheel and tire package. This 530i for sale in Arizona looks sharp in monochromatic Royal Red with the Style 66 alloy wheels.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW 530i on eBay

Tuner Tuesday: 1998 Alpina B10 V8

Tuner Tuesday: 1998 Alpina B10 V8

By the late 1990s, it was becoming increasingly difficult for tuners to compete with the stock offerings. Tightening emissions and safety regulations made getting turned up models harder to sneak past inspection, while simultaneously manufacturers were producing hotter models. The 540i is a great example, and you don’t need to look much further than the conundrum of the E34 M5 versus the various 540i Sport and especially M-Sport models. While the aluminum V8 may not have had the horsepower of the M5 model but only just, it had more usable torque and was (theoretically, at least) cheaper to run. It was so good, in fact, that supposedly when it came to the E39 model BMW was unsure if a M5 would be necessary in our market. So, it would seem to be the natural and easy choice to modify, right? Well, not so fast – because signature tuner Alpina had a problem. Its tried and true method of increasing displacement wouldn’t work on the M62 because you couldn’t bore out the special Nic/Alusil coated blocks. Game over, right? No. If you’re Alpina, you call up BMW and get them to make you a bigger motor:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Alpina B10 V8 on Vancouver Craigslist

2003 BMW 540i Touring M-Sport 6-Speed

2003 BMW 540i Touring M-Sport 6-Speed

540iT1Growing up, I never really understood the appeal of wagons, or “estates” as we called them in England. The triumph of sensibleness and practicality over style, they didn’t seem particularly cool or desirable. Instead, they were for posh people in the countryside who owned big dogs. But as I’ve gotten older, and particularly since I moved to America, something has changed. Not only do I find myself needing to carry around a lot more stuff these days, but wagons have become, well, cool. No longer the staple of the staid upper classes, they’re for the person who needs the extra space of an SUV or a minivan but says “f-that, I’m not ready to give up on life just yet.” And there are some seriously cool wagons around these days. On a recent trip home to London, the first sight greeting me in the car park at Heathrow was that of an F11 530d M-Sport, B8 S4 Avant and an E63 AMG estate, all lined up next to each other. It’s as if somebody was trying to make a point.

The E39 Touring, already a fairly handsome car, looks especially good when specified with the M-sport package, as here. This particular 540i represents the top of the range and not only has it been blessed with M exterior styling and sport suspension, as an added bonus the current owner has gone to the trouble of retrofitting a 6-speed manual transmission from an M5, turning this into a quick, capable and seriously cool longroof.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540iT on BMW Car Club of America

2000 BMW 540i

2000 BMW 540i

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You’ve probably all read Tavarish’s Jalopnik article, “Four Reasons Why You Need To Buy A BMW E39 540i Right Now.” By this point, the E39 540i is the worst kept secret in the German car world. Offering something approaching the performance of an M5, but with much lower maintenance costs, these cars make for fantastically involving daily drivers and can be had for not a lot of money. The taut and communicative chassis is well served by the torquey V8 motor and, when combined with a manual gearbox, just begs to be put through its paces on a drive through the twisties. Hailing from the pre-Bangle era of BMW design, the E39 is also an attractive car. Its sophisticated and somewhat conservative lines have aged well, with the result that these cars look equally classy and at home whether parked at the shopping mall or the country club.

This 540i for sale in Maryland is a “sport” rather than an “M-sport” model. While it therefore lacks the full M-tech bodykit offered on later cars, the manual transmission and attractive wheel and color combination arguably make up for it and add to the car’s Q-ship appeal.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 540i on eBay

Row Your Own? 2000 BMW 528iT v. 2003 BMW 540iT

Row Your Own? 2000 BMW 528iT v. 2003 BMW 540iT

I have a bit of an interesting comparison today, and I think in many ways it’s harder than it would first appear to be. If you said to most enthusiasts “Would you rather have a manual or automatic?”, the collective ire of autophiles towards self-controlled cars is akin to suggestion a revision to the 2nd Amendment at a NRA rally. And outwardly, today’s two E39 5-series wagons seem quite similar. But they represent two different directions for BMW and I think it will be interesting to see which foot enthusiasts land on. So, what would it be, then – a 5-speed 528i Sport Touring or a 5-speed (automatic) 540i M-Sport Touring?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 528i Touring on eBay

2000 Dinan BMW M5

2000 Dinan BMW M5

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On Friday, Carter related the E39 M5’s star power, even when found in Green on Tan. Today, I bring you one of the most impressive E39s we’ve seen, a 19k-mile M5 with a heap of Dinan upgrades. It’s not quite the full S2 package, but it has enough points to achieve the DINAN trunk badge. As with all Dinan products, we can be sure that they only add to the M5 experience. If I had that supplemented driving machine, I’d have a hard time parking it, but this one has covered fewer than 20k miles. It’s usually a knock against ultra-low-mileage cars when they’re been tuned, and I guess it keeps this from being a museum piece, but we can be sure that it will command a hefty sum – both for the lack of use and the well-chosen, BMW-approved modifications.

Click for details: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay

2001 BMW M5

2001 BMW M5

About halfway through production of the E39 M5, BMW released a series of films from notable directors highlighting their model range. They all starred Clive Owen as the ubiquitous Driver character as the wheelman of a particular model. Some were dark, some were mysterious, but my favorite – and, I believe the favorite of most people – was Guy Ritchie’s Star. For me, it was neither the famous director nor his power-couple wife Madonna that was the star of that particular film, but the Driver‘s M5. Indeed, rewatching the film I found myself comparing the character’s introduction monologue, which ostensibly was about the female character played by Madonna, to the car. The characteristics shared of the dual nature of the iconic singer somehow work juxtaposed onto the M5. That was brought into sharper focus as the film progressed and Blur’s Song 2 – a song that somehow perfectly summed up the M5’s character. A deep base line, rhythmic speed and shouts of “Woo Hooo!” seem to somehow follow the M5 wherever it goes. Over the top? Absolutely, but it seemed that the whole plot line of Star is how most M5 drivers think their daily commute goes.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 BMW M5 on Hartford Craigslist

2002 BMW 530i

2002 BMW 530i

Of all of the BMWs that have come and gone over the last two decades, the E39 5 series happens to be one of my favorite, ranking right up there with the E38 7 series and iconic M Coupe. While there are still a good number of clean, low mileage M5s circulating around, these come with a high price. However, if you are willing to sacrifice a bit of performance but maybe want something a bit more tame and reasonable on the wallet for daily use, this 530i for sale in Florida should work just nicely. Finished in Blue Water Metallic and sitting on Style 42 alloys, this low mileage beauty is bound to make some Bimmer enthusiast happy.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW 530i on eBay

2000 BMW 528i Touring

2000 BMW 528i Touring

Recently my wife and I have been discussing getting a new wagon down the road, and while for some time it seemed like Audi would be the natural choice, the dearth of recent Audi wagons has had us looking other places. BMW? Sure, the new 328 Sport Wagons in either turbocharged inline-4 or diesel configuration are nice, but have you checked out the prices? Staring at $42,000 for the cheapest, it’s not hard to brush up against $60,000 – for a 3-series. It certainly makes options like the awesomely better looking new Volvo V60 look much more appealing. But I’ve also looked backwards a bit, to see if there’s something older that could suit the needs. I’m putting together a wagon roundup of some options I’ve come across for later this week, but this particular example was too good to pass up. From the great looking E39 chassis, this 528i Touring also features the Sport Package and a manual transmission. Granted, this isn’t the speed freak’s weapon of choice, but a clean example of a very nice classic design:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 528i Touring on eBay

Feature Listing: 2001 BMW M5

Feature Listing: 2001 BMW M5

The BMW E39 M5 needs no introduction at GCFSB. This V8 beast is still a source of joy for many a Bimmer faithful. As compared to the current M5, with its myriad of options, the E39 M5 was more of a one size fits all package, available in sedan form only and the sole transmission being a 6-speed manual gearbox. Along with the earlier M cars, this generation M5 has appreciated noticeably as of late, with very good examples stretching past $30,000. Considering the performance at hand, however, it could almost seem a bit of a bargain. This 2001 M5 in Carbon Black is for sale from our friends at Encore Motors in Macon, Georgia. Showing just a bit over 100,000 miles on the clock, it has been pampered over its lifetime, has many recent service items addressed and comes with a full history.

Click for details: 2001 BMW M5 at Encore Motors

2002 BMW M5

2002 BMW M5

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For all of its under-the-radar allure, the E39 M5 looks damn good in bright red. One parks at our gym regularly, and it’s a great way to draw a little attention to a car that too often goes unnoticed. This example has the beautiful extended leather all in tan, making it a dead ringer color-wise to the two-door Italian sports cars that this sedan takes such pleasure in shaming. E39 M5s with fewer than 100k miles are growing more dear with each passing year.

Click for details: 2002 BMW M5 on eBay