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2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1

I´m considering to buy myself a used E39 M5. I would like some help on making up a chekclist on what to look for on a used M5.

* General condition exterior - scratches, dents
* General condition interior
* Rust ?
* Engine - what to look for ?
* Clutch - how do I check it ?
* Brakes - check for wear, jidder while breaking - more ?
* Tires

Are there other things to check that are special to the M5 ?

Any help appreciated.

/Best regards Roger

PS I did check the forums after this sort of list but couldn't find anything appropriate.
PPS As I´m not an auto mechanic I need tips on how to check things as well.

1,472 Posts
  • smoker / non-smoker
  • paint work?
  • body work?
  • carfax (if anything, it'll tell you how many owners etc...but it's not full-proof)
  • BMW service history (give dealer the vin and they'll run it for you)
  • I don't think rust will be/is an issue on these cars
  • Take it to an independant service person to check underneath the car as well as the brakes
  • The interior will be subjective to you. These cars are still fairly new so the inside should be nice. If it's dirty, it'll reflect on how much pride the owner too with this car. Look for leather cracking which indicates they never conditioned the seats.
  • Check the wheels. If there are black splotches, the finish is wearing off
  • Drive the car yourself. Warm up the car and clutch. Then take if agressively through the gears. If it slips a bit in 3rd or 4th, you'll need a new clutch. You can also put it in 6th gear and nail it. If it slips, you'll need a new clutch.
  • Most importantly, check the car over yourself. If you have reservations, wait...there will be more

12,398 Posts

If you are not a mechanic, you cannot do the mechanical inspection. period. It would take years to learn how. A good mechanic can just pick stuff up. Pay for an independent inspection.

You should be pretty comfortable with the car and the deal- and at that point it will seem like a waste of $$ (or is it euros ?). Do it.

I really like buying from the original owner- I think I can read people well, and you can get a sense of how they've treated it, Any evasiveness - be careful.

The single most important thing?


There will be more- if you've wasted $100 on an inspection and you need to walk it was money well spent.

G' luck


PS You did not ask about years nor cpos... I'd skip 2000 as there were some issues with that MY. If you can get the extended warranty it might be helpful.

124 Posts
Re: Checklist for buying used M5 - Falling Prices

Also, as you know...... bargain hard for a good price, as M5 prices are starting to begin their "freefall" at the moment. Similar to Porsche 993 prices that finally started to drop last year once the 997 was annouced/introduced.

Sold my M for $ 42,000. It was a 2000. For my purposes, I think I got out at the right time before investing in costly repairs,i.e. clutch, brake rotors, etc... etc. that happen after 60k....

Car had 58,000 miles with original brakes and clutch, was perfect mechanically and outwardly, very fresh looking car. Wish I was single and could have kept it !!! la vie......Anticipate that the new M5 will effect the E39 resales pretty dramatically, so negotiate hard.

Unfortunately most cars are a depreciating asset. :)

Moderator Emeritus
2,977 Posts
Hi Roger,

Nice with more people from Sweden joining in here!
Have a look at this thread:

As fellow members have pointed out, getting an independent inspection is a very good idea. In Sweden there is an organisatin called "Motormännen" that do pretty good inspections.

If you check the brakes on the brake test machines availiable at Motormänen and at the government car safety check facilities (Bilprovningen) be aware that those machines only test the brake forces up to the level limited by the friction between test drum and the tyre. That is very much less than the brakeforces achievable on road. those machines are designed for testing car brakes to the performance level mandated by law, equating to a stopping distance of 70 m from 100 km/h. A proper M5 does that in less than 38 m.

About the feel of the car, if you ask really nice perhaps one of the Stockholm members will take the prospective car for a drive and feel it out. If you are looking at cars in my part of southern Sweden (Skåne), just let me know.

I do not know how familiar you are with performance cars, but if you are not familiar with that kind of cars, you should test drive as many and as new as you possibly can get hold of. If you come from an "ordinary" car even a bad M5 will feel sensational. In other words you need to familiarize yourself with perfection before you can properly judge an M5.

For example, when you hit the brakes full, it should _instantly_ feel like a very heavy person (about 1.3 times heavier than you) sits on your back pushing you into the seat-belt so you loose your breath. Anything less - there is a brake problem.

The sensation when braking while going backwards should be similair.


2 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies all.

I'll check the cars I'm intrested in carefully and if I find a car that I like I'll have it checked out by someone who knows what to look for.

The problem right now is that it's quite difficult to do a test drive. We've just had 30 cm of snow coming down :)

best regards Roger
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