I was on a short list to order a 2001 M5 a couple of years ago, but a costly business war (i.e. litigation) forced me to delay gratification. I am now back in the market for a performance sedan and very tempted to purchase a 2003 or low mileage 2002 M5. However, with the pending introduction of the E60, I'm also considering the purchase of an E60 545 6 speed instead of an E39 M5. Styling considerations aside (Bangleization is a disaster in my opinion), early reports on the E60 suggest that BMW engineers have done their job well and performance will be much improved over the E39 540i. I'm attempting to make a decision based on the following assumptions:
- Around 325 hp output, 0-60 around 5.7 - 5.9.
- Much improved handling and feel when driven at 7/10ths, but lower numbers at the limit compared to the E39 M5.
- Idrive will be simpler and more refined than the 7 series version.
- Likely first year bugs, but fewer than the 7 series.
- E39 preowned prices will begin to drop like a rock in the next couple of years.
- First deliveries in late 2003 or early 2004.
I would much appreciate comments and advice from the members of this board, the most knowledgeable and sophisticated group of car guys on the web.
I would be very careful about those first year bugs you mentioned. I would go with the E39 M5 and wait and see on the E60. no doubt the car will be a great one, but give them 1 year to resolve any issues.
Do you think BMW will produce a 545i with a six speed? It seems less and less people want a manual in their automobiles. I am leaning more towards the reality of them having SMG in the 545 then a six speed. I hope I am way off base here, as the manual tranforms the car.
heres the deal for the M cars and I would imagine that it will also correspond to the regular models:
the rest of the world gets no more stick shifts in the next gen M cars, just smg. the usa gets smg as standard, but they will offer the traditional manual we all know and love as a cost extra option- basically it will cost you an extra 2500-3500 to get a 6 speed stick shift in your E60 M5.
Id imagine they will at least offer a stick in the 545.
I had one of the first E39 540i/6's in the U.S., and that car was completely bulletproof. There was a small issue with squeaking window seals, but that was fixed by the dealer, no problem.
Keep in mind that, however great the 545i will be, it will not be a BMW Motorsport vehicle. There is a HUGE difference between the current 540i and M5, and I suspect that the E60 M5 will follow that theme. Regardless of what the E60 demonstrates, the current M5 is simply awesome. I also would guess that the E60 in the V8 version will be pushing over $60K, so price may not be much of a consideration. Just my $0.02.
Test drive both. I have driven the 545i-6, and though a competent car, it is boring, I thought my 330i was more fun. 0-60 and peak horsepower numbers reveal very little about how a car actually feels. I'm certain the //M5 is a completely different experience than the 545.
I would recommend avoiding any Sept 03 to Feb 04 build cars. All seem to have had issues with the iDrive software, from not booting up on cold mornings to not recognising the CD autochanger. Nothing serious but very annoying.
The 545 had a safety recall for build dates around May 04 to June 04, this was due a a faulty DME unit that could cause the car to loose all power/braking
Most E60's also have had a recall on the passenger side airbag sensor with it not detecting the weight of a passenger and therefore incorrectly de-activating airbags.
Finally many seem to have problems with creaking seats and rear parcel shelf. I have had this but seem to have solved it for now with WD40!
That's the bad news, on the plus side performance isn't far short of my previous E46 M3 (in a straight line), refinement is fantastic, ride/handling balance good, comfort the best I've every had (comfort seats) and the Logic 7 Hi-Fi is the single best every optional extra I've added. For me I lovethe looks too.
Your point about 7/10's is spot on - at this pace it's comfortable, silent rapid and smooth, above it and she gets a bit flustered on the twisties.
See attached picture - can I persuade you on the looks!!
I faced exactly this same choice...I didn't mind the styling of the E60 too much, and the 545/6 drove very well, though active steering prob would take some getting used to. But when I sat down to deal on it, the dealer wouldn't budge (this is when they were first arriving off the trucks). I ended up walking out.
I continued searching and stumbled upon a great deal on a low mileage E39 M5 which is now mine...I have no regrets!! The power is explosive, and the luxury interior of the car blows away the E60's, which feels like a Toyota! I wouldn't expect prices to drop like a rock on the E39 M5's (maybe on lesser models): M-cars will always have premium pricing...and that premium seems to grow over time as the normal models continue to drop in value. Plus, many will see the 2003 M5's as the last of a classic line - check out pricing on late 993's - so they should hold their value better...