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Discussion Starter #1
I'll be test-driving both of these this week in Honolulu. I know there are lots of posts like this, and I'm fully comfortable making my own decisions. I do, however, respect the insights of experienced owners. Here are the particulars:

2001 M5: Silver, 35k miles, Dinan chip, excellent condition, 18" SSR GT3 rims, no warranty. I think I could get it for around $45k.

2004 545i: Cosmos Black, 11k miles, 6-sp, flawless, factory warranty. Might be able to talk them down to $53k.

Both cars have been on their respective lots for over a month. The E39 has timeless beauty and understated aggressiveness, and has been a dream car of mine for years. Like many, I've been put off by the E60's styling. That said, this 545i is stunning, in blk/blk with factory 18" rims. I'm also assuming the E60 will be easier to drive in traffic with its lighter clutch and steering; this is a consideration as my wife will also be driving it.

Appreciate any thoughts from the board. Thanks.
 

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One thing to note is the 545 has a Clutch Delay Valve and the M5 does not- this makes the M5 clutch easier to control IMHO. For more see:

http://www.zeckhausen.com/CDV.htm

I dont know how hard you drive, but the M5 has the M variable lock differential where as the 545 has an open differential.

However, in your spot I might go for the 545 solely on the basis of the warranty- BMWs can be expensive to repair.

I have not driven the 545/6 but I can tell you the M5 clutch is not that heavy and not difficult to use.
 

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I've never driven the 545i, but it does look nice in black (for an e60
). For me it's a "must have" to be in warranty for any car I own, so an 01 non cpo M5 would be out of the question. Now for 53k you should be able to get a nice low mileage 02 CPO M5. (not sure about fininding one local though?)

btw, the M5 steering in non sport mode is VERY light. The clutch is pretty light too. It's a very easy car to drive IMO.

I know I'd never be truly happy with an e60 545, when I could have had an e39 M5. After your test drive, I'll bet you'll come to the same conclusion......
 

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I think that the M5 would be the better car and will probably hold more of it's value. If the warranty is the issue, go online and spend a couple of grand and get a warranty, there are plenty available.
 

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SteveHI said:
Like many, I've been put off by the E60's styling.
Hello Steve,
This statement is the bottom line for me. I also don't like the BMW E-60's styling. Not only the exterior, but BMW has now eliminated the cockpit feel with the wraparound dash too.:mad:

I swore that my '87 Sentra would be the last "boring car" I would own. It doesn't have to be an M, but as a car guy, I want a car that looks great and performs great too. I want a car that I look back over my shoulder to see again as I walk away. I STILL feel this way about my E-34.

The E-60 doesn't do it for me, although I agree that Black/Black with Chrome Wheels dresses it up pretty good. (And of course this is all purely subjective. BMW is selling their cars in record numbers. Something I am happy about because I want them to have the money to make the next generation right.)

Anyway, this is why it is the E-39 M for me as my next car. I'm still looking for the right one at the right price. I can wait for the right car - I'll own it for a long time!!

Good luck and tell us what you end up with (even if it is the 545 :hihi: )
Best Wishes,
Alfred
 

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From what I was reading, the new 550i is supposed to be close to E39 M5 figures (HP/torque), not sure about actual performance however. Should be interesting to see how it plays out.
 

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I drove a 545 6-speed when I was deciding last year. The 545 6-speed was nice, but nothing compared to an M5. If you like the M5, the 545 will probably not do. If you are looking for a more civilized cruiser (not that the M5 is not!) a 545A might be worth considering. And, if you do like the 545, I'd wait for the 550, which is just around the corner.

As above, I'd (of course) go for the M5, but with a CPO if possible.

Good luck, let us know!
 

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E60 545i in San Diego here is now a very common car while the M5 is always exciting to see. You will have more fun in an M5 over a 545 any day and be more unique than all those silly e60 owners hiha. Also - Like someone said above me, M5 is going to hold its value better.

GET THE M5, YOU POSTED THIS ON THE M5 BOARD WE KNOW YOU ALREADY HAVE DECIDED THAT ITS THE BETTER CAR! :M5launch:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for all the good feedback. Yes, availability in Hawaii is an issue - and I'm not keen on flying to the mainland to inspect a car and pay $1k to ship it back.

While the upcoming 550i seems appealing, it will cost at least $10k over what this 04 545i will go for, beyond what I want to spend.

The practical choice is the e60. Warranty, better mileage, and lower insurance (probably). But, if we were all driven by practicality, there would be no market for an M5 to begin with. I'll let you all know what happens in the next few days.
 

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SteveHI said:
The practical choice is the e60.
Before Xing out the M for no warranty, have you seen if the local BMW dealer would CPO it for you?

(I assume it is not at a BMW lot...)

Ask them if they would cpo it for $2000.

1. Have them do a preliminary inpsection for $200 paid in advance, non-refundable
2. If this cpo inspection is OK, you agree to buy it
3. They then buy it, pay the current owner the agreed upon price (no tax for them)
4. They cpo it and you pay them the price plus 1800 plus tax.

A bit tricky buy gives you a warranty from BMW... needs a cooperative BMW dealer (talk to the finance manager, not the sales guys...)

Good luck with either!

A
 

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I drove both before deciding on the beast. 545 is a fantastic car: trouble was it is too good! You just don't get the same sort of feedback, thru the ears, hands or heart, as you do with the '5!

Good luck!
 

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coff said:
I drove both before deciding on the beast. 545 is a fantastic car: trouble was it is too good! You just don't get the same sort of feedback, thru the ears, hands or heart, as you do with the '5!

Good luck!
Whme my '02 M5 was at the end of its lease, I test drove a few cars -- including an '05 545i and 645i -- both with manuals, both with Sport Package. Nice cars. If I'd never driven an M5, I would have been smitten. I ended up extending the lease on the M5 for 24 months, since that was the best car I've driven.
 

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{Sorry...inadvertent double posting.}
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, I test drove the M5 last night...

To put in perspective, the most high-performance car I had driven to date was a modded euro-spec e36 M3. The M5 was spectacular. I know why you guys love your cars so much. Unbelievable power at all engine speeds, w/o sacrificing any 5-series refinement. The car is in pristine condition, no scratches, dings, or rock chips, much better than I originally though. I love this car.

Now, the bad news. The car is on consignment and the owner is unwilling to go below $49.9k. Tack on an extended warranty or maintenance costs, and this is just too much for a 2001, IMO. I'm going to pass for now, and maybe the seller will become increasingly motivated as time passes by.
:crying:
I'm going to test drive the 6-speed 545i after work today. I've heard that the dealer is in that car pretty cheap, so there may be a deal to be had (possibly < $50k). I know it won't be a match for the M5 (what is, really?), but it's the next best thing that's available right now. If it's disappointing in any way, though, I'll hold out for another M5 to come on the market.
 

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have to go with the m5, :M5rev: :M5rev:
SteveHI said:
I'll be test-driving both of these this week in Honolulu. I know there are lots of posts like this, and I'm fully comfortable making my own decisions. I do, however, respect the insights of experienced owners. Here are the particulars:

2001 M5: Silver, 35k miles, Dinan chip, excellent condition, 18" SSR GT3 rims, no warranty. I think I could get it for around $45k.

2004 545i: Cosmos Black, 11k miles, 6-sp, flawless, factory warranty. Might be able to talk them down to $53k.

Both cars have been on their respective lots for over a month. The E39 has timeless beauty and understated aggressiveness, and has been a dream car of mine for years. Like many, I've been put off by the E60's styling. That said, this 545i is stunning, in blk/blk with factory 18" rims. I'm also assuming the E60 will be easier to drive in traffic with its lighter clutch and steering; this is a consideration as my wife will also be driving it.

Appreciate any thoughts from the board. Thanks.
 

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Having owned a 2000 M5 for years and now a 545 for not quite a year i can comment by saying the M5 is more of a beast. Unless you really drive it hard, I don't think you will tap the difference all that much. I have a feeling repairs on these M5's are going to be costly, so if you are going to keep it for a while, consider that as a possibility. The 545 is a great car and it's looks have grown on me. After looking at the E39 style since 1997 it does seem a bit dated when compared to the E60. I agree it looks best in dark colors as mine is Titanium gray. If you put some rims on the 545 it will make a major difference. Bottom line is if you wanted to limit risks for the sake of less performance, get the 545. If you don't care about repairs and performance is more important, get the M5. Good luck.
 

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Re: Well, I test drove the M5 last night...

SteveHI said:
Now, the bad news. The car is on consignment and the owner is unwilling to go below $49.9k. Tack on an extended warranty or maintenance costs, and this is just too much for a 2001, IMO. I'm going to pass for now, and maybe the seller will become increasingly motivated as time passes by.
He must be smoking Maui Gold if he is going to hang on for $50k. Let him sit on it another 2 months and see how quickly he will come down to $45k.
 

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I test drove the 545i before deciding and I was NOT AT ALL impressed with it. The second I stepped into the M5 it was a completely different story, feel, throttle response, etc. If I couldn't get the M5, I would buy the new Infiniti M45 all day long before the 545i. I just didn't think it was that special.
 
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