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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1988 BMW 535is/Euro M5 Conversion

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Hagerty has this car listed under BMW E28 M5s, but its origin as a 525is and ensuing plethora of modifications make it a difficult car to classify. It recently received a Euro exterior conversion after a huge modification list of aftermarket E28 parts and OEM M5 parts, creating a FrankenE28 that is truly impressive. Bored and stroked S38s in any chassis are the stuff dreams are made of, with this custom build’s 350hp usurping even the almighty S38B38. A Wilwood big brake kit and Dinan/Koni/Bilstein suspension set up deviate from staying too true to the M5, but a full M5 interior and trunk, including battery relocation, are classy and expensive conversions. While not a fully dedicated M5 tribute/conversion, this ticks all the boxes in the outstanding E28 category.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

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1992 BMW 525i Touring with 59k miles

If ever there was a company car for The Hamptons, it would be the luxury estate vehicle. No surprise, then, that this 1992 BMW 525i Touring finds itself not far from those beaches in Syosset, New York. The E34 Touring was BMW’s second attempt at an in-house estate car, following on the five-door version of the popular E30 3 series that was never sold new to US customers. With the dawn of a new decade, BMW decided to gift the US the 5 series Touring, which would become a hit for families looking for something a bit more dynamic for the school run. Sadly, one of the company’s tastiest offerings, the M5 Touring, would still be out of our reach. Nevertheless, BMW would continue to offer the 5 series Touring for two more generations of 5 series, but sadly, we are now stuck with the awkwardly proportioned 5 series Gran Turismo. This 525i Touring has under 60,000 miles on the odometer, a rarity these days as many of these long roof E34s have been run hard and put up wet.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 BMW 525i Touring 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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1994 BMW 530i Touring

I feel as though I’ve been on a kick of featuring performance variants lately and while a well maintained go-fast-machine is certainly attention grabbing, I think there is something to be said for solid basic transportation as well. This 1994 BMW 530iT lives only a few minutes away from me and I swear I’ve seen it out on local streets. E34 wagons always catch my eye, I’ve written up a number of them in the past, and while I usually look for rare ones with a 3rd pedal, I couldn’t pass over this example.

It appears to be quite clean overall and the seller mentions that $1,400 in service was recently performed. With an older BMW that could have easily been one minor part and a bunch of labor, but still, good to know it has recently been in the shop. I’d be sure to find out where he took it and touch base with the shop to see how well they know the car. The seller does mention that he has all the maintenance records from new, so either they’re the original owner or the records came with the car. Lots more to find out here, but I have to say this is one intriguing package.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1994 BMW 530i Touring on Craigslist Los Angeles

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1988 BMW M5

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This E28 M5 was the car Dinan used for R&D to create their own modifications to supplement BMW’s upgrades to the platform. Not only does that make it a cool piece of American tuner history, but it clears the air of any pretension or garage-queeniness. This M5 has been used and worked on from the get-go. That makes things like the Euro bumpers, recovered seats (now without heat), and early engine rebuild (likely due to the early testing?) not as big of issues. It’s a very clean and good-looking M5 with a fun – if not flawless – history. Even with over 100k miles and bumper conversions, clean E28 M5s have been garnering some serious attention and money. A colorful but respectful past just seems like more of an excuse to drive a great M5 if you can afford it.

Click for details: 1988 BMW M5 on eBay

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1991 BMW M5

Last week I wrote up a gorgeous E34 540i/6 M-Sport that was listed just below $20k. Seems that most people thought the price on that was too high, despite the low miles and it’s owner being a long time BMW enthusaist. So, when I saw this ’91 M5 on Pelican Parts with a sale price about $2k lower than that of the 540i, I knew I had to write it up. I’m interested to see what ya’ll think of this deal, because while this car has nearly double the miles of the 540i, it has some Dinan bits, and it’s an M5. Is this car really so special that it warrants the price being within a months rent of a 540i with much lower miles?

Yes. Yes it is.

This is the E34 M5 we’re talking about here. This is THE Bimmer of the 90s. I acknowledge how cool the 540i M-Sports are, but I’m an enthusaist, and I’m the target audience for specialty models. The M5 is popular with everyone, and if you’re looking to get into a young timer classic, name recognition is important. There might be more costs upfront but the return on investment will be higher as well. Five or ten years down the road, when you’ve had your fun and are ready for something different, what would you rather be listing, an M5 or a 540i/6 M-Sport? The answer should be M5 every single time, that is if you’re into making some money on the deal. I’m not saying that isn’t possible with the 540i or any other specialty variants that were similar to a top dog car, but I know it’ll be harder.

Name recognition goes a long way and down the road when the bubble on 90s German vehicles bursts, you’ll want the well known hardware on your hands. I still don’t think the 540i I wrote up last week is a bad deal. What the seller wants is perfectly reasonable for a car of that class, with that many miles, no matter how old it is. This M5 on the other hand can command nearly the same amount with much higher miles because of its cultural cachet. Have I hammered home that the M5 is the better deal? Okay, lets get into the nitty gritty of what I like about this example.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 BMW M5 on Pelican Parts

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1995 BMW 540i/6 M-Sport

I’ve written up a number of E34 540i/6 M-Sports (henceforth referred to simply as 540i) during my time with GCFSB and I honestly think this might be the cleanest, most appealing example I’ve come across. The seller has the original “throwing star” wheels, which I would certainly opt for over the 16″ Schnitzer Monoblocks that are pictured. I know they’re rare, but I never cared for the bloated starfish look. The rest of the car appears stock and there are some neat factory installed upgrades, like sport seat arm rests and factory rear reading lights. I know the latter isn’t of much concern, but it shows real attention to detail from the seller and that’s always a good thing.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 BMW 540i/6 M-Sport on Craigslist Boulder

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