Monday, May 4, 2015

5k: The Hulk: 2001 BMW 540i 6-Speed

Few cars offer as much value (pound for pound) as the e39 generation BMW 540i with 6-speed manual gearbox. It is the middleweight of sports sedans, and one minute it is a mild mannered scientists, but get it upset and the beast from within beats pavement and rear tires with equal aplomb.  Find this 2001 BMW 540i 6-speed offered for $3,000 in Wayzata, MN via craigslist.

Let's face it, you can't drive your family to church on Sunday with a Miata, and you certainly won't want to be seen by the pastor driving some giant winged freak like an STi/Evo.  But, when the road gets curvy you don't want to be stuck in some dang minivan, so you've got to having something that'll let you get yer freak on.  The E39 540i is the logical choice for the ultimate single vehicle to meet all requirements.  

Comfortable and mild mannered on the inside, the 540i doesn't sound like much at idle, but open the butterfly in the intake and things start to sound nasty.  The 4.4 liter DOHC V8 pushes 291 horsepower and 340 ft-lbs of torque in a happy to comply 6-speed manual gearbox. 

See a better way to go fast on a low budget?


  1. Just bought one of these. Best car ever.

  2. Just bought one of these. Best car ever.

  3. It's got the sport seats, which is good.

    It's got no nav, which is fine given that even the best of the E39 nav systems might as well be a TRS-80 by modern Android standards.

    Price is attractive, but at 178K the cam chain guides are on borrowed time, about $800 in parts and I'd guess at least 10 hours labor.

    Ad says 'small amount of rust' - best verify his definition of 'small', these things aren't too prone to rust but enough road salt can kill anything. The wagon tailgates rust, apparently there's a couple drain holes that are prone to plug up.


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