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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2002 BMW 540i Touring

Wagons are the GCFSB car of choice, if you haven’t noticed. Only our resident Volkswagen/Audi guru Carter is flying the five-door flag, however, with his 2002 Volkswagen Passat 1.8T Variant 5-speed manual. While I sit here and wait for the perfect 1995 Audi S6 Avant to come along, I’ll admire this 2002 BMW 540i Touring for sale in Portland, Oregon. It looks like a real beast, and with Dinan engine mods and a worked over suspension, it’s almost like the M5 Touring that never was.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW 540i Touring on eBay

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2000 BMW M5

I think many of us know that in the world of performance coupes the Porsche 996TT is incredibly tough to beat on value. What about sedans? Where does the buyer in need of proper rear seating and a decent trunk look for performance value? The place to start almost certainly is the E39 M5. These also happen to be my personal favorite of the breed. With the E39 you get 400hp mated to a 6-speed manual transmission and a shape that seems almost perfectly proportioned for a sedan. These are aggressive appearing without being comically so and seem to have had all of the extra fat trimmed away. While later M5s would showcase improved performance the design has never appealed to me and the current models seem huge by comparison. Best of all, these days an E39 is about as reasonably priced as they likely will ever get. A really low-mileage example may command a decent premium, but for a driver-quality car they’re darn hard to beat. Here we have just such a driver-quality example: a Black on Black 2000 BMW M5, located in Arizona, with 56,610 miles on it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay

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2002 BMW 540i Touring

Stare at a BMW E39 estate long enough and I’m pretty sure you’ll forsake all other wagons, perhaps even all other cars depending on your level of longroof love. This car was just one of those times when the designers got it so right it’s almost scary. The artists over at BMW took one of the greatest sedan designs of all time and molded it into the greatest family hauler of its time. The seller goes so far as to say the 540i Touring is the best looking wagon ever made, now or then. He certainly has a point if you focus on the competition of the era but as far as best looking wagon of all time, I’d have to give that to the beastly RS6 Avant. I will however give the 540i Touring the silver medal without a second thought. The proportions on this car are wonderful and it looks good from any angle, the hallmark of a truly exceptional design.

The positives extend far beyond the appearance of the vehicle, it is equally as impressive inside and under its skin. The 540i Touring is powered by a 4.4 liter V8 churning out 290 hp and 340 lb-ft of torque, not too shabby even by today’s standards. The superb handling dynamics of the E39 sedan carry over to the estate which makes the car even more desirable. It is by no means a canyon carver but from what I’ve read these cars handle with far better precision than one would think, especially since the damn thing weighs in at 5,043 lbs. When you consider that torsional rigidity was increased over the E34 5 series by 40 percent, the reasoning behind the affinity for these cars becomes quite clear.  It’s a big steel caged missile that bests a car held in high regard for its handling capabilities. Having a hot rod that can haul will always be an attractive proposition to me and many other German car enthusiasts, the hard part is picking the right one. I’m always torn between the quintessential 90’s design of the E34 and the slightly more modern E39 but when push comes to shove, I seem to end up envisioning myself in the latter. I’m not sure why but the addition of a few more curves and rounded edges pushes the overall look of the elongated 5 series from great to all time classic.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 BMW 540i Touring

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2000 BMW M5

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However subtle the exterior modifications may be, the E39 M5’s enlarged front aperture and unique wheels still grab my attention from blocks away. As nice examples become the exception, these super sedans are hovering around the bottom of their depreciation curve, no longer going down but not shooting up as quickly as they soon will. With examples between 50-100k miles hovering around $25-30k, this looks like an enthusiast-owned driver that’s very nice but not perfect and being sold at a very reasonable price.

Click for details: 2000 BMW M5 on eBay

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2003 BMW M5

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While I may have given the E38 some style points over the E39 this morning thanks to a slightly sharper design theme, there’s no questioning that the E39 M5 is among the most – if not the most – desirable sports sedans ever made. Great handling, monster power, and business-class aggression all come together for a Liam Neeson-type action star: “Is the plot different? Who cares. I’ll watch this brand of grown-up ass-kicking all day.” Today’s well cared for model comes up for sale with just under 50k miles on the clock – a number I’m sure the seller was well aware of. That’s near the top of the market and almost twice what some examples will cost, but low mileage makes champions in this arena. Dark grey on black is a dapper combo for this vengeful father – all the better to hide the blood.

Click for details: 2003 BMW M5 on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday Dinan 5-off: 2008 M5 S2 5.8 6-speed v. 2001 540i 6-speed

I know that, amongst the authors that grace these pages, I seem to do a lot of comparisons of cars, some of which are extremely unlikely comparisons. One of our readers termed my picks a “Cheese and Chalk” competition; in many ways, he was right. After all, how can you really compare cars that are in completely different demographic categories? To be fair to me, I don’t always do such, but in that case that’s the appeal of the “10K Friday” series – taking a fixed budget and looking at the wild variety of cars that’s available simply because they’re similarly priced. However, I also like to compare similar vehicles and that’s the case today. I have two rare examples of Dinan-modded BMW 5-series. On the surface, they’re quite similar – both grey metallic, both with light grey interiors, both with normally aspirated motors, both have silver multi-spoke wheels with polished lips, and both have 6-speeds. But the level with which Dinan has breathed on them is quite different; consequently, one has double the power of the other, more technology and more complexity. That model also has one tenth the mileage of the other, and unsurprisingly is on offer at ten times the price making these seemingly very similar 5s very different. Which is the winner in your mind?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2008 BMW M5 Dinan S2 5.8 on eBay

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2003 BMW 540i M-Sport

Lets get this out of the way right off the bat. The E39 BMW 5 series is the best looking sedan ever made. It is the pinnacle of balanced design and it’s beauty is only accentuated by the garish abomination that succeeded it. Show me someone who says they love their “Bangle Butt” 5 series and I’ll show you a person in serious denial. BMW tired to scale back the ugly on the F10 but it’s still a bloated boat compared to the clean, svelte E39.

Growing up I was obsessed with the hottest version of this beautifully thought out machine, the E39 M5. One of my favorite pro skateboarders had two of them and could be seen thoroughly enjoying them in his video parts. At age 15 a blacked out M5 with “peanut butter” interior was THE car and it remains a vehicle that I am still in lust with. However I’m a bit more educated than I was back then and I know that while the M5 is the lead, there is an equally impressive supporting player in the cast, the 540i M-Sport.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2003 BMW 540i M-Tech on USE

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