Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday Morning ///M5 Madness: Top 5 BMW E39s For Sale

It's 5am on a fine Monday morning, time to raise your hands in the air and count those digits.  Unless you are some kind of polydactyly freak, like Anne Boleyn or Antonio "El Pulpo" Alfonseca, you will see a magic number, which in the world of BMW's M-cars, means only one thing: speed.  Well...maybe speed and power...and...don't forget repair costs.  Fine.  Take off your shoe and smack yourself in the face for each time you have purchased something other than an E39 (1998-2003) BMW M5.  Don't do it again.

Tipper Jeff wrote us the following note: I saw your email today with the E28 M5, and I was reminded of the few E39 M5's in the Northeast for around the same money.  I've recently become engrossed with researching these cars found out just how bad the depreciation is (bad for them, good for me?), but also the maintenance required ($).  That being said, for $10k an E39 M5 sure would look good in my garage...since that's where it will be most of the time...waiting on me to replace parts. Jeff was also kind enough to send in a fine selection of those cars, so we wasted no time and put them in order of goodness.

5.  2000 6-Spd Blue Bomber
Coming in at fifth place (and don't think of this car as a loser, but it still beat every car in the world except 4 of them to make this list) is this 2000 BMW E39 M5 offered for $9,999 in Newville, PA via craigslist.  Expect to achieve automotive nirvana with the 4.9 liter S62 V8 good for 394 horsepower and 369 ft-lbs of torque.

4.  2003 Black Stripe Machine
Next is this 2003 BMW M5 offered for $12,500 in Inwood, WV via craigslist.  Like all E39 M5s, it is shifted by a standard 6-speed manual gearbox that puts power to a limited slip differential out the back.

3. 2001 Imola Red Modified
If you like your M5s on the wild side, this next car might be more for your liking, it is a 2001 BMW E39 M5 offered for $11,500 in Winchester, VA via craigslist.  Most of the modifications on this car are cosmetic and it doesn't look bad for a modified example, if you are into that kind of thing.

2. 2000 Low Mile And Clean
Sitting in the 2nd spot is this pre-face lift (MY2001+ examples have angel eyes headlights, celis tail lights, 3-spoke sport steering wheel and a few other changes) 2000 BMW M5 offered for $19,900 in Carlisle, PA.  This M5 has only 42k miles on the odometer is one of the nicer E39 M5s you will find around, but the price is sure high.

1.  2006 V10 Powered Warship
What just happened?  An E60 M5 just won the competition for best E39 M5?  Yup.  In first place is this 2006 BMW E60 M5 offered for $26,995 in Hagerstown, MD via cragislist.  Why?  Well, if you are looking at the E39 and thinking of how much speed you can get for a little price while risking catastrophic repair bills, why not multiply all of those numbers by two?  Twice the thrill, twice the price and twice the bills -- sounds great!

Find a few old junkers or depreciated cruisers? Send em here;


  1. Fleetwood T. BroughamSeptember 15, 2014 at 7:01 AM

    The e60 loses on SMG alone. That v10 with that God-awful-anywhere-other-than-a-racetrack transmission is like a night with Pam Anderson. On one hand, you get a night with Pam Anderson, on the other hand, you get Hep C.

  2. Great write-up and lovely cars.
    Can not agree with the E60
    It will not go down in history as being great like some of the other M cars (I hope I don't offend any E60 owners). Too big, too complicated, less tactile.

    Here is where I have been shopping for a E39.


  3. I passed on an E60 to get an E86. That said, the E60 is the best M5 to date. The SMG is actually very well mannered (if you lift before you shift, it's every bit as smooth as a regular stick shift, drive it like an automatic and you're gonna have a bad time) compared to earlier SMGs. It may be a lot bigger than an E39, but the extensive aluminum means it's only a tiny bit heavier. Eventually I was scared off by maintenance costs (since I do all my own work, a car that begs to be taken to the dealer is not something I'd enjoy.) but I could be coaxed back into one when they get cheap enough. That engine makes all the right noises. As uncouth as it would be, I'd straight pipe it and enjoy every second of going deaf.

  4. I have to jump on the E60 dislike bandwagon as well. Having driven both back to back, going from the E39 to the E60 felt like I just took a bath in lidocaine. It still looks and sounds the part (and it is indeed a glorious soundtrack), but the feel is very isolated. That's not to say it's "Buick, by BMW" cushy by any means, but the connection with the road via the machine is just not there for me like it was in the E39. It's still better than most other cars out there, don't get me wrong, but for $26k I'd rather have the 5th place E39, this E34 and this E28 grey market M535i . YMMV.

  5. Have owned an E39 M5 from new.

    I've gotten over my distaste for the E60 shape, but I do not like the interior and never will.

    The V10 is...okay. All the extra power comes above 6500RPM, so yeah it may be a quicker car when you're beating on it hard but otherwise nah.

    Likewise the SMG, it's nice when you're beating on the car but there's rough edges to the behavior in daily driving.

    I love the E34, maybe the best all-around M5 for personality. I love the E39 for all-round capability, it's a warhorse that doesn't mind pulling a plow. The E60 never did anything for me. I haven't driven an F10 yet.


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