2000 BMW 540i Sport

Back in November of 2017, I looked at an early special-order 540i Sport Package. It ticked many of the right boxes; while the later cars gained the shouty M5 exterior bits, the early cars are understated in a nice way, yet still potent. I’ve especially always been a fan of the Style 19 BBS wheels on the early Sport cars, but the follow up wasn’t bad, either. The turbine Style 32s mimicked Alpina’s signature style, but looked right at home and as if they were always intended for the E39.

But this car has some other items going for it that the first didn’t. While both are M62/TU 6-speeds and carried the M-Sport suspension, this one also has the M-Sport steering wheel and sport seats. The downside?

BEIIIIIIGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW 540i Sport on eBay

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Clown Commuter: 2002 BMW Z3 3.0i Coupe

So you want an affordable, distinctive yet practical car for your daily commute? Yesterday I suggested there might be more fun to be had for less money than the Golf Harlequin. Well, here it is: the Z3 3.0i Coupe. While the ‘clownshoe’ isn’t quite as spacious as the Golf, it does add a dose of practicality to a fun-to-drive and very unusual package. But while the market focuses on the M products, the more rare to find Z3 3.0i is an affordable option that will help you stand apart from the crowd.

Produced in Spartanburg in February 2002, this Topaz Blue Metallic example has seen better days, it’s got quite a few miles, and it’s an automatic. But that means it’ll be about as cheap as a clownshoe comes. Is it worth the price of admission – or, at the very least, is it worth the savings over a M?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW Z3 3.0i Coupe on eBay

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Craig’s 1991 BMW 525i

The time has come for me to part ways with my E34, and I’m reluctantly putting it up for sale. As readers of my posts will know, I’ve been on the hunt for a W126 Benz for a while now. A lovely example has fallen into my lap, and living in DC without off-street parking makes keeping both cars impractical. Hence the sale. It would make me very happy if it went to a fellow enthusiast looking for a reliable and cheap commuter, so I’ve written it up for today’s post.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW 525i on Washington, DC Craigslist

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Canadian 1994 BMW 540i 6-speed

1I’ve posted a couple of non-M E34s recently (see here, and here), since I’m a fan of this iteration of the 5-series (I even daily drive one myself). I’ve noted before however that it’s quite hard to find one in good condition. While it’s relatively easy to find an inexpensive, equivalent-era Mercedes Benz in nice shape, BMWs of a similar age in the affordable sector of the market are often tired and worn. Perhaps it’s because Stuttgart simply made better cars during the period. Perhaps it’s because many Mercedes owners seem to feel it’s their responsibility to steward their cars into the future, and take care of them accordingly. In any event, when a nice E34 pops up it’s always a nice surprise.

Thanks to our reader Corbin for suggesting this Canadian 540i 6-speed. Not only does it look like a clean example, it’s a well equipped car with a few tasteful modifications.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 540i 6-speed on Kijiji

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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

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Wednesday Wheels Roundup

While to me the E39 isn’t the prettiest 5 series BMW produced, what they did manage to accumulate was perhaps one of the best wheel lineups they ever fitted. Most ended up on the sport models, but from the Style 5 to Style 66, all of them looked great. I especially love the relatively unloved two-piece BBS made Style 19s that were fitted to early 540i sports, but the Style 5, 66 and 32 wheels that made it to other sport models are equally good. Of course, I had to throw in a set of Style 37 “M-Parallels” even though they’re most often associated with other models – and truth told, the Style 32 wheels here are actually optional E38 wheels. Nevertheless, they’re all awesome – which are your favorite?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BMW Style 42 17×8,5×120 Wheels on eBay

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Sacrilegious or Spectacular? 1999 BMW 540i 6-speed LS1

Another week, and another opportunity to highlight a car that will tick off the purists; but this one is pretty unique! While most LSx swaps start with a car that didn’t originally come with a V8, today’s BMW 540i originally had just that; the M62 4.4 liter V8 with 280 horsepower is gone, replaced by a modified LS1/LS6 hybrid with a T56 transmission. Of course, you’d never know that unless you looked under the hood – or provoked the driver to hit the loud pedal:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1999 BMW 540i LS1 on eBay

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U.S. or ROW? 1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec vs. U.S.-spec

I bang on about how much I prefer the look of the European market cars from the 1980s over the U.S. spec cars, and this is especially true amongst BMWs. For some reason, the powers that be at BMW decided to do the worst integration of DOT bumpers of all the European manufacturers; it was almost as if they said “Oh yeah? Well, take this, then!” Bulky, with too much plastic, rubber accordions and fading stainless trim, they stand out as a stark reminder of how simple and pretty the European bumpers on many of the same models were. However, it’s not often that we get to see two very similar models for sale at the same time; today, however, there are two nearly identical BMW 635CSis on eBay. Both are 1985, dark metallic colors, red leather, 5-speed manuals and updated wheels – and in their own way, each is lovely. Does the Euro-spec car win out for me once again?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 BMW 635CSi Euro-spec on eBay

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Double Take Handbuilt Drivers: 1991 and 1993 BMW M5s

As M prices continue to soar, one of the safe havens if you want something special that isn’t outrageously priced is still the E34 M5. The E34 is often overlooked by enthusiasts because it’s the slightly conservative filling in a legendary bread sandwich. With the bookends of the E28 and E39 M5s, the E34 in comparison seems understated and perhaps even a little boring when you first look at it. It doesn’t visually look much different than the rest of the production line other than two M5 badges (do you read that BMW? You only need TWO badges to make us take note. TWO!). But that understated presence hides driving dynamics that are second to none – this is a Q-Ship in the greatest sense, perhaps even better in its execution of that goal than the E28 was, and certainly less showy than the E39. For those who want a great driver from one of the best periods of BMW history with a legendary engine, excellent build quality and enough luxury to make you and your 3 friends feel very special on your weekend getaway while staying on a reasonable budget, look no further:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on eBay

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