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

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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

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What Might Have Been: 2001 BMW M5 Touring Clone

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Throughout the years, BMW has only officially produced two generations of the BMW M5 Touring. The brawny E39 M5 was not one of them. However, BMW did create a one-off example as a study, but decided it wasn’t financially prudent to go ahead with production. This hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from trying to recreate what might have been. This 2001 540i Touring for sale in New York has been given the full M5 treatment, right down to the M5 Sport button which is functional. Looking to give the odd AMG Estate out there a run for its money? You’ll want to look this fast Five over a little bit further.

Click for details: 2001 BMW M5 Touring on Craigslist New York City

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2000 BMW M5

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Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve featured cars more modern than my predilection for ’80s German metal typically allows. Two were cars I’ve dreamt about owning since they were released, both in gorgeous deep-blue hues: the E39 M5 and MkIV R32. The Le Mans Blue M5 was an excellent, 75k-mile example with the sumptuous Caramel leather but came at a steep price – over $32k. The Deep Blue Pearl R32 had about 100k miles and asked $15k – a far cry from its MSRP and seemingly a good value for the performance. Today’s M5 throws the viability of either of those cars into question, bringing the many impressive strengths of the E39 M5 but at the same price as the R32. BMW maintenance may run more than VW, but it’s not like the MkIV is known for being bulletproof. With Tubi exhaust you’ll even be able to drown out the R32’s VR6 grumble while you enjoy luxury the VW could never match. It’s not the most attractive combo – silver on black/grey pales in comparison to the rich blue/caramel – but it’s a truckload of performance for the money.

Click for details: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay

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2002 BMW M5

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Ah, the E39 M5: the humble king of supersedans. Plenty of followers have come out with more tech, more power, and more luxury, but none have found the perfect balance that made the E39 M5 astonishing when it came out and still eminently desirable today. Its 394hp shocked when released, but it was backed up a chassis and 6-speed transmission equally ready to brawl. It’s a holistic package that gets blown away on paper by today’s sedans bordering on or exceeding 600hp and yet still represents the platonic ideal for many enthusiasts.

This example in Texas has a lot going for it. 75k miles is right in the middle of the 50-100k wheelhouse for these cars, enough to protect it from cream-puff prices but not too many as to worry about big maintenance. Le Mans Blue over Caramel is a lovely combination, but my association of this BMW interior with a friend’s E36 M3 would make me long for that car’s Estoril exterior as well. It looks to be in just about perfect shape inside and out, but even then the price looks a bit high.

Click for details: 2002 BMW M5 on Fall Creek Motorcars

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Honorable Mention Roundup

Time for another Honorable Mention Roundup of the cars we just didn’t have a chance to get to this week. We’ve got quite a few reader submissions in this edition, and by chance it ends up focusing on some super sedans which are all quite affordable in their own ways. Which is the one we should have spent more time on?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Audi S4 on Denver Craigslist

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2001 BMW 540i 6-speed

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The E39 M5 is certainly the king of the hill when it comes to balanced and clean super sedans. It has enough power to blow the doors off of most sports cars, inherent chassis balance to make twisties fun, enough luxury to make you feel great, and styling that deftly melds classy and aggressive. While the M5 deservedly gets a hefty share of 5-series fandom, the E39 540i approaches many of those capabilities at a fraction of the cost – both up-front and in maintenance. The available 6-speed manual further bolsters its driver’s-car cred, creating a slick executive sedan that chooses subtlety and quiet capability over M-powered and -badged bragging rights.

This beautiful grey example came to our attention thanks to reader John. For sale in Orange County, it has just about every option and has been owned by a “super anal BMW enthusiast.” I’m sure there are plenty of jokes there for BMW haters but we’ll focus on the intent, which is corroborated by beautiful presentation inside and out and with a strong list of maintenance over the last couple of years. The sharp cross-haired, M5-aping M-tech front fascia wasn’t available until 2003, meaning this 540i gets the exceedingly simple narrow oval aperture shared with the lower 525i and 530i. All the better for flying under the radar while the 282hp V8 and 6-speed create plenty of smiles. Perfect Style 32 wheels complete a package that doesn’t stand out but does stand up to the test of time. With a diligent owner and just 107k miles, this can make an outstanding highway commuter for years to come.

Click for details: 2001 BMW 540i on eBay

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2002 BMW 540i Sport

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I first came across the listing for this 2002 BMW 540i M-Sport nearly 6 months ago, and frankly I’m shocked to see it still for sale. It was a garage queen during the first owner’s stewardship and the current owner says he didn’t use it for daily commuting. The seller has done a great job photographing the usual problem areas associated with vehicles living in coastal areas, and included lots of important information. Additionally, there are numerous recent articles floating around the internet that heap praise upon this sleeper Bimmer, and we’ve done a fair amount of worshiping at the temple of the E39 ourselves. Still, the 540i M-Sport remains a cult classic, unlike its sibling, and mainstream media darling, the E39 M5.

When I was in the market for a new car, I often had moments where I’d be looking at a performance variant of a model, and wonder if spending the extra money was indeed worth it. There are many factors that effect the answer to that question, the majority of them vary person to person, but on thing remains true across the board. Nobody needs an M5, but everybody covets that badge. Nobody needs an 540i either, but between the two, it’s the more rational choice. The thing is, we’re irrational beings, even when we think we’ve got a solid handle on things, we let our emotions get the best of us. More and more we’re a society that deals in extremes, and the 540i M-Sport is hardly extreme. Is it reaching to say this car hasn’t sold because people are so obsessed with the prestige that comes with driving an M5? Maybe, but if it’s a stretch, it’s an easy one. The market for V8 powered Euro sedans with 3 pedals is shrinking given that the mainstream mindset is TURBO EVERYTHING! Growing general awareness of the quality of these cars, and an appreciation for them in the enthusiast community is great. However, I’d be willing to stake my internet reputation on the following statement. If given the choice between an E39 M5 and an E39 540i/6 M-Sport, people will choose the M5 9 times out of 10. That one person is most likely a GCFSB reader and they most likely already have one of these cars. To them I’d like to say, Congratulations! You have far more restraint than the rest of us.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW 540i Sport on Bimmerworld

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2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

On its own, the BMW E39 540i M-Sport is an outstanding car in its own right. A sonorous V8, available 6-speed manual and M-Technic suspension added to what was already a quite capable mid-sized executive sedan. However, hovering over the entire E39 lineup was the M5, what is considered by most to be one of the most legendary super saloons to grace God’s green earth. This 400 horsepower beast still dominates the enthusiast scene, taking its place right alongside the Mercedes-Benz 500Es and succession of Audi S4/S6/S8s on the who’s who list of fast four-doors. One could consider the 540i M-Sport an almost M5-light. After speaking with a former colleague yesterday evening who happens to own a 2003 540i M-Sport with a 6-speed manual, the allure of this car is clear. This example for sale in New York happens to be one equipped with the automatic gearbox, perfect for those who might do a little bit more around town driving than the long-haul jaunts.

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

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2002 BMW M5

One of my favorite vehicle genres is the beefed up sports sedan. Cars such as the Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 and E28 BMW M5 were some of the originators of the breed, but I think many of us can agree that BMW reached a watershed moment with the E39 M5. This car was many things to many people, but for me, it represented exactly what a man’s car should be. A car with some size and heft to it, eight cylinders, six speeds and an aggressive stance with meaty rubber to lay all that horsepower down to the pavement. This M5 for sale in California looks great in Alpine White, an not often seen color for this brute. This one is a three owner car with a bit of tuning thrown in the mix. With 55k miles on the clock, it should have a few ///M car nuts salivating.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW M5 on eBay

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