BMW M5 (1998-2003): used buying guide

Even if the BMW M5 E39 (1998-2003) never addressed any of the four custom 18 inch chrome shadow alloy wheels (they are easy to curb and about £150 each to repair), we will still be talking about it for their exhaust note alone. At idle, 394bhp 4.9-litre V8 with double vanos variable valve timing, eight throttle bodies and free flow exhaust is full of threats. Provoked, he explodes in the veins, appear angry.

Parking is available on the Lotus Carlton 1990 comfortably with one hand on the M5 is often credited with firing the starting pistol in a modern salon horsepower race, whose current pace-setters include the 552bhp of the M5 and 577bhp Mercedes-AMG E63 S. and the next M5 will produce more than 600 HP.

But, as any Fule kno, it’s not how fast you go, it’s like you’re there, and getting there in the E39 M5-it’s still 18 years after the first cars took to the road, an exciting and engaging experience. BMW’s M division already had a large chassis to work with, to which she added a reinforced suspension, limited-slip differential and sharper steering (no small achievement, considering it was a recirculating ball setup), while reducing the ride height. Ventilated discs allround and, by today’s standards, a fairly interventionist ESP (some owners turn it Off) changes. Add a button “Sport” and a six-speed manual transmission (the throw is a bit long, but the changes have to be exact) and the M5 was ready to play.

And to work. What’s great about the M5: it not only delight your senses but it will also carry your briefcase and your family (and their Luggage) as it does so. Was a decent option, by loading the rear seats. The interior is as tough as old boots (rattle rare) and finished with high quality leather. That is why you need to carefully check her for signs of abuse because he’s too manly to let on. You want in terms of equipment. Most of the cars had a Navigator, but subsequent owners probably traded it for something more up to date. Options included massage seats, TV and rear screens.

Facelift in 2000 brought the so-called lights crown ring’, updated tail lights and front Parking sensors to the partner on the back. Wide M5 kidney grille, front air intakes and Quad exhaust was moved. Get it, plus 245/40 ZR18 and 275/35 ZR18 rear tires (still widely available) and you’re left looking at a series of the rod 5, which is probably half the appeal of the M5.

Because it sure as hell is not the cost of running one. “M” can stand for Motorsport, but it also stands for “money”. For several years, the best cars were nudging £30,000. You don’t have to pay it. About £13,000 late enough for an honest car that with care should appreciate in value. You can pick them up from as little as £8000, but for the money it costs to buy privately, when you can evaluate the quality of the previous owner – and the depth of their pockets.



“In series 5 E39 was a great era and the M5 is the ultimate. It’s fantastically well built. We sold within a few years, about 50, but it becomes much more difficult to find a decent one with reasonable mileage. If I was offered now, I would all the steering and suspension, check for wear. Anything with a m badge on it isn’t cheap, so I think the total cost for parts.”

Buyer beware…


The plastic chain tensioner is sensitive to the wrong oil. Replace it and the chain, if the work has not been done recently.


You need to hear to start the car from cold and warm. It is noisy, if it’s failing.


Check the vehicle it was in 1200 miles.


It lasts about 60,000 miles, expensive.


They can leak; around £1000 to replace.


It may need a new front suspension and steering parts around 100,000 miles. Drives wear and deformation and expensive.


To check for the bumpers, wheel arches and trim on the doors and Windows. Inspect the trunk seam and around the Petrol filler, too.


Check for orange peel paint, and pollinated under the window rubber, low-quality, customized finishes and a new wing bolts.


He drinks about a liter every 1500 miles.


Check for cracks and chips. Built-in sensor for rain sensitive wipers, means not cheap.


Heavily bolstered seats always suffer wear and the M5 is no exception. Pixels in a digital display of the instrument cluster can disappear, but it’s repairable. There are two coolant temperature sensors — one in the radiator, the other to the engine — and if they disagree, they trigger a red warning light.

Also worth knowing…

Around 100k km, the M5 will need a new timing chain. They are associated with the vanos system and it is a good idea to have that too capital. “VANOS blamed for all sorts of sounds when the chain,” says Steven Lewis specialists Vladimir VANOS. “Even so, the worn VANOS may lose you 60bhp.”

How much to spend…


A mix of early cars with runs to the North of 120,000. An independent examination is needed. Check the requirements of a Full service history in relation to invoices, in detail, who, what and when.


The above price is no guide, since it is the same mixture mileagey cars. However, here you will find some very good, with a fully documented history.

£12,000 AND ABOVE

Last E39s with reasonable mileage and a solid history. A couple Grand more will put you in a 56-plate V10 E60 M5, even with the BMW Extended warranty. It’s not the same though…

John Evans