Saturday, July 11, 2015

Big N Fast: 2000 BMW M5 E39

When people ask what modern but depreciated luxury sedan they should buy in the sub $20k range, there is always one option that stands up with a standard 6-speed gearbox, rear wheel drive, powerful V8, and limited slip out back.  Yeah.  The E39 M5 is about the only game in town if you want to drive fast in a big sedan without using your blinkers.  Find this 2000 BMW M5 E39 offered here on eBay for $17,000 buy-it-now with 2 days to go, located in Albuquerque, NM. Tip from Brian.

 The E39 M5 is a formidable machine, but is not without its pitfalls - a good read for any potential shoppers is this 2014 article by Tavarish on Jalopnik, this E39 M5 buyer guide and this FAQ on M5Board forums, or this FAQ.  I won't bore you with the details, but there are some potentially expensive repairs that can pop up from time to time.  Knowing what they are is half the battle.

Under the hood is a 4.9 liter S62 V8 good for 394 horsepower and 369 ft-lbs of torque.  Like all E39 M5s, this one is shifted by a standard 6-speed manual gearbox that puts power to a limited slip differential out the back.

The BMW interiors from this era aren't the best from a wear perspective, too many plastic surfaces painted with that terrible rubberized paint that peels off like a bad sunburn...but if you get one in good shape and don't use toxic chemicals to clean it, you'll be okay.  The big thick steering wheel provides direct access to the steering box of the last M5 with proper road feel.

See a better V8, stick shift, modern, rear-drive, sedan for the same cash?


  1. Sure do love mine! Same colour too!

    If you are at all handy, all the work needed can be done at home. Mine hasn't seen a shop since I bought it 3 years ago, and I have done a lot of work to make it near perfect!

  2. Silverstone. The color featured in the '99 Euro-market ads, the color that made me buy one. Not a common color since it was replaced after '00 with Bluewater (a little darker, a little greener.)

    Regarding the rubberized buttons: you're thinking Audi, BMW's ain't got that stuff. The buttons may eventually get kind of a milky-white surface, but nothing peels.

    Biggest trim failing on these is the exterior rubber that crumbles from sun exposure, far worse than anything else I've ever seen. The pieces that suffer worst, fortunately, are the windshield and rear-window mouldings, and those are readily replaced for $40 and some careful attention with a plastic putty knife (use of a metal blade will result in the glass crumbling to bits before your eyes the minute the blade snags an imperfection in the glass edge, don't even THINK about doing it.)

    Clutches are regarded as a weak spot, throttle response with stock ECU calibration and sport-mode turned off is sluggish and clunky, stability control circa 2000 is nowhere near as good as it was four or five years later in the first CTS-V.

    This car's had the instrument cluster replaced (as they all have) since the gray faces started in '01 or '02. It's still got the original Mk2 nav, and the original-type non-Angel-Eye HID headlights.

    Low mileage, but mind that check-engine light - the one serious gotcha on these things is the potential for carbon blockage of the secondary air-injection passages. The fault may have a small effect on cold-start emissions, and it will not pass a smog check with the MIL on, but it doesn't otherwise effect drivability. There are ways (cough, cough) to make the light go away, but the only actual fix for the blockage I'm aware of involves removing the heads from the engine.

  3. How does a car get to six owners with only 77K miles? It's not a vintage F1 car, it's not some silly exotic that has to be followed around by a guy named Tony, he says he's owned it since that just an artifact of it having been having titled to a couple lenders or leasing companies?

    Also, zero feedback, evaluate carefully.

    1. The seller claims he is the second owner. Gatta figure out who is right, carfax or him.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I'm figuring that if the original owner leased the car, bought it off the lease with a loan, traded it to a dealer, dealer sold it to auction, next dealer bought it at auction, current owner leased it or bought it on a loan then paid it off then it's possible you could have six owners of record on the paperwork.

      But I'd damn well want that documented.


Commenting Commandments:
I. Thou Shalt Not write anything your mother would not appreciate reading.
II. Thou Shalt Not post as anonymous unless you are posting from mobile and have technical issues. Use name/url when posting and pick something Urazmus B Jokin, Ben Dover. Sir Edmund Hillary Clint don't matter. Just pick a nom de plume and stick with it.
III. Honor thy own links by using <a href ="http://www.linkgoeshere"> description of your link </a>
IV. Remember the formatting tricks <i>italics</i> and <b> bold </b>
V. Thou Shalt Not commit spam.
VI. To embed images: use [image src="" width="400px"/]. Limit images to no wider than 400 pixels in width. No more than one image per comment please.