The E39 BMW 5er needs no introduction on this website, being a favorite of the writers of this blog and readers. The M5 is probably the most poured over E39, however, between the entry level 525i and the V8 engined 540i/M5 versions stood the 530i, which offered BMWs ubiquitous 3.0 liter inline six producing 228 horsepower. Enthusaists often hold this version in highest esteem, since the weight savings of the inline six over the V8 improves handling while sacrificing little in performance. The following example on Craigslist near Washington, DC has some tasty M accessories, three pedals and not too many miles under it’s belt. The aftermarket wheels are also rather tasteful, unlike some accessorized E39s I’ve seen.
2001 530i Sport, Premium and 5 Speed. Titanium Silver, grey leather interior. 77K miles. M Sport suspension, M steering wheel and trim. I’ve taken really good care of this car and can document with lots of maintenance records. Installed the OEM (no cheap kit) M-Tech front and rear bumpers, along with a Magnaflow exhaust. Rims are 18″ Monet New Age with Sumitomo HTR ZIII performance tires with lots of tread left. Also has Premium package — Xenon headlights, Park Distance Control, top of the line Montana leather, DSP sound system. Here’s what Bimmer magazine had to say in April 2008 — “The manual gearbox 530i Sport has always been our favorite E39, as it has ample power and more nimble handling with none of the V8 problems.” Look around – manuals don’t come on the market very often. Get yourself a classic BMW made before they became more software than car.
A neighbor of mine owned a 530i, albeit with an automatic transmission, but even so, in dark metallic gray, there is just a seriousness to this sport sedan that epitomizes what we all love about BMWs and dread about the latest iterations cranked out of the factory in Munich. I’ve driven a 525i and 540i, both with manual transmissions. Both were fantastic to drive, the 525i light on it’s feet but lacking a little bit of top end power, the 540i brutish, but the handling was just a tad compromised. From listening to the critics, it would seem that the 530i mirrors the famous story of “The Three Bears.” It’s the one that’s “just right.”