logical reasoning: Choosing the E34M5 over an E39 540i - BMW M5 Forum and M6 Forums

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Old 22nd March 2002, 14:51   #1
JohnG
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logical reasoning: Choosing the E34M5 over an E39 540i

Every so often, a person will ask a 540i vs M5 question, and with the current values of both cars used in the US, they usually mean E34 M5 vs. E39 540i.

Lots of people respond, and the consensus is something like this "the E39 540i makes more sense to the brain, but the E34 M5 makes more sense to the heart" because the 540 doesn't have a maxed out racing engine under the hood and the E39 chassis is more sophisticated, refined, and has more amenities.

I have come to the conclusion that for me, the E34 M5 makes more sense even to my brain, and here's why: What I'm looking for in my next car purchase is something that is a bit more refined than my Camaro Z28 - i.e. a bit quieter, a bit more luxurious, a bit less noise vibration and harshness, and oh yes, it must have at least as much horsepower as the Camaro (factory rated at 305bhp).

The E39 may be a technically better chassis than the E34, but I have an E34 at my disposal right now, and it has the level of refinement and equipment I desire (doesn't wear you out on a 500 mile trip, very comfortable cabin, trip computer to play with, lots of gadgets) plus I absolutely LOVE the way it drives (For example, the ol' 1991 535iA has a better combination of ride and handling than a 1998 Lexus LS400 or a 2002 Acura 3.2TL) - It would be perfect with a manual tranny, more power, and a bit tauter suspension, with load leveling to prevent the slight sag in the back that comes with a full load of passengers and cargo. So the only logical choice is to buy an E34M5
Does this make sense? I think that all this means I would be better served by an E34 M5 than by an E39 540i, even though many others are really better off with the E39.

And did I mention the E34 looks 10 times better than the E39? Don't tell the guys in the E39 forum

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Old 22nd March 2002, 15:52   #2
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I have to agree with you

The E34 M5 is in my opinion; better looking, more personal, rare beast, it has more go and grunt and it has history the E39 can not by any means compare to!

It is big enough, powerful enough, swift enough and stylish in all that package beyond a 540i or even an E39 M5.

Not that I wouldn't like an E39 M5........

But stealth and style is a valuable asset and that is the main thing I like about my E34 M5.

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Old 22nd March 2002, 16:49   #3
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I agree, while the E39 M5 is stealthy, it is MUCH easier to pick one out of a crowd of garden variety E39s than it is to pick an E34 M5 out of a crowd of garden variety E34s

Those 4 exhaust cannons are not as subtle as I want my sport sedan to be.
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Old 22nd March 2002, 18:58   #4
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Nope, I disagree.

I must have been missing something, because although I have not checked, all the discussions I know between the E34 M5 and the 540 were referring to the E34 540, not the E39.

In my opinion, the E39 car would make a better daily driver, is more refined and has a better, more ergonomic interior.

In fact, the only obvious advantage of the E34 is the sound the engine makes.

I don`t know the power output of the V8 540, but who cares, it is the torque that makes the car, and surely it must be over 265/295 lb/ft ??



Given the choice between the E34 incarnations, it`s an easy choice; M5 to burn money but grin madly doing it, and 540i to play the "did the engine get replaced due to nikasil" game, then enjoy just about the only V8 manual rear wheel drive car around. Perfomance wise they are very very close, and you can actually see an M5 owner wince with the pressure on the accelerator and the Inspection II bill required to beat it.

But, the E39 version? The E34 M5 is getting on a bit. The youngest examples are pushing seven years old, and you pay a big premium in the US for firstly having the car as the E34 is so damn rare over there, and secondly, because any late model, low milage cared for example is weighted heavily upwards compared to the "industry guides", again because of relative rarity.

The E39 540i won`t stand out in a crowd. Look nice, yes, stand out, no. But dollar for dollar, it is a better, more reliable car benefitting from a superb modern chassis, and the car will be much younger. Don`t underestimate that attribute.


Think very long and hard on this, because I want to make sure you are happy with your purchase.

If your wallet can stand the heat of maintaining a $75,000 E34 SuperSedan (fastest in the world when released!!), then buy the M5. I did and I still can`t stop smiling when I see it.

If you buy a 540i E39, then you get a better car, but without the raw edge of the Mpower beast. Can you live with that?


Your personal viewpoint and ideals will have to make the decision for you, and please, please tell us what you get when you get it.


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Old 22nd March 2002, 22:34   #5
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Part of the fun is smoking younger cars in street racing, you can beat that feeling in an E39 540 can you.

The look on someone's face when he gets his *** kicked by a car a decade older than his own...... now that is something special!

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Old 23rd March 2002, 15:51   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by IvanDias
Nope, I disagree.

In my opinion, the E39 car would make a better daily driver, is more refined and has a better, more ergonomic interior.

If you buy a 540i E39, then you get a better car, but without the raw edge of the Mpower beast. Can you live with that?


Your personal viewpoint and ideals will have to make the decision for you, and please, please tell us what you get when you get it.


Ivan.
Ivan, I actually agree with you - the E39 is a better, more refined, cheaper to run daily driver.

My point is that at my age and level of automobile enthusiasm, I don't need/want that E39 level of refinement, I only want somthing that is a notch or two above my Z28 in that respect. Maybe when I get older and more mellow, I will need a bit more comfort, but now, if it's better than the Camaro (which it is) that's all I need in a 2nd car. Also, I see nothing wrong with diverting a large chunk of income and time to M5 care and feeding (because if it didn't go there it would go for something else car related anyhow)

So while you are correct, I see myself as the exception to the general rule., because of my peculiar needs/wants.

I won't be getting this for 3 more years, this is to be an after law school purchase, so I can afford it But I'm sure to announce it when I do. I WANT a Euro 3.8 M5, a Daytona Violet Touring specifically, but back in reality I would "settle" for a US spec 3.6 because it is so much easier to buy, pay for and insure a car that is already in the US.
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Old 25th March 2002, 11:31   #7
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There are special circumstances in Iceland which make the E34 M5 a good choice, although you spend large amounts of money on maintenance the car holds it value exceptionally well. Compared to other cars which are maybe twice as expensive e.g. E39 540 (1996/7 model or so) the E34 would still retain its value after three more years given it was in the same condition or even better due to regular maintenance. However the E39 540 would in these three years depreciate by much more than you would be spending on maintenance on the E34 M5, and still you have to maintain the E39 as well. So in three years time they would be worth almost the same.

So when nearly new cars depreciate this fast, the E34 M5 is good choice. And it is refined enough..... besides, I wouldn't mind if it was rougher!

THis gives you a certain feeling of satifaction knowing when stopped on a right traffic light that the guy next to you spent nearly twice as much an car which is maybe 7 years younger and almost as fast but will be worth the same as your car in three years and less in 5-7 years.

This is roughly what I am talking about, but hope you see my point.

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Old 26th March 2002, 20:51   #8
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Sorry Ivan, disagree...

Under any circumstances I can think of the E34 M5 is a better daily driver than an E39 540. Sure the 540 is cheaper to run and more comfortable but so is a Camry.

It just feels better...
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