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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

It's my first post so please be gentle.

I'm looking at getting an e39 M5 at the end of January and am looking for some advice.
It won't be my main car so I won't be driving it everyday and I think I will only have it for 6 months as I will be moving out of the country later next year.

First off, fuel economy. What am I likely to get? I'm used to large engined cars but just so I know what to expect in imperial MPG. My Landcruiser does about 12mpg as an average, my old S600L averaged about 20mpg which I thought was pretty good, could almost crack 25mpg on a decent run, the newer S500L would do late 20s on a run. Am I right in thinking I should get mid 20s on the M5 on a run and late teens around town?

Secondly, I'm a Mercedes chap so you can show me any E or S class and I'll be able to tell you what is standard and what isn't and even the names of the colours. I've also got access to the factory datacards from the EPC system so I can check the spec before I buy. Does BMW have a system where I can check the spec of a car?

I also don't know what the factory options where on the UK M5 nor do I even know what was standard, does anyone have a PDF of the brochure or a link to the spec and the options available. There are a few things I want, like heated seats, bose, pdc, cruise, xenons, not actually that bothered about nav as I will only be using the car to go to friends houses and out to Nurburg in Western Germany and Luxembourg and I know the way so nav is not needed.

I've done some reading about common things that will need replacing. Luckily for me I work in the motor trade sadly for sales I'm not clever enough to be a tech. But I do know a lot of techs so the labor intensive jobs don't worry me. I've checked the prices of tyres, brake discs/pads, tyres and they don't scare me too much. Is there anything that is suprisingly expensive to replace? Maybe MAF? I had to replace a MAF on the left bank of my V12 S600L and Bosch charged £400 for it!

I'm a bit confused by VANOS, I understand what it is and how it goes wrong and the symptoms that go with it. What I don't know is how much it costs to repair/replace? I can't seem to find any mention of parts prices and how many hours it takes to put it right? If someone could advise me on that I would be very greatful.

Lastly, facelift or non-facelift. Because it's not an everyday car I don't want to spend a fortune on it. I personally am not that bothered about getting a facelift, they look cooler but they seem to hold their value a lot better. Is there any other differences between UK RHD facelift and non facelift apart from front and rear lights, satnav and a piston ring redesign?

Oh and one last thing, insurance. The quotes I've got thus far have been rather extreme. Twice the price to insure of the S600L almost 3 times that of the Landcruiser, is this normal. I appreciate it's a 400bhp M car but still.... Am I really that likely to crash it?


Thank you very much for reading and for any advice/tips/help you can give me and I shall update this thread in future to show you what I bought and probably to ask what that funny noise is or how do I fix so and so.....


Thanks,

James
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Hmm.... Nobody able to address any of my points?
Thought I might get some response by now.

The most important thing I want to know is what was the standard spec on UK cars and what options where available in 99,00,01,02.
Help me get an M5, I don't know much about them and I don't think I want to get a W210 E55 AMG as I've had 6 W210 E Classes getting bored of them now!
 

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Been at work all day so only just seen this. Sometimes posts can move down the page pretty quick and the US peeps wouldn't have been awake when you posted.

I'll try and go through your paragraphs one at a time.

6 months isn't very long to have the car. You're best off trying to get one that needs little and then not spending money on it. No point buying a car and spending £3k on tyres, brakes, clutch etc and then selling it 180 days later.

My best ecconomy run is 27mpg over 400 miles (back from the Ring) and my worst is 8-10mpg during a lap of the Ring. I'm currently sitting at 22.9mpg and your estimates are about acurate. Bad maf's or 02 sensors can bring the figure down without you really noticing.

BMW have a telephone number that you can ring (its £1 a minute) to check the original spec of a car based on its chassis number or reg plate.

Heated seats, cruise and xenon's are standard (never seen a car without them). There is no BOSE, its called DSP in a BMW and about half in the UK have it. PDC is fitted to 95% of cars and you'll have your work cut out trying to find out without it. Front PDC is fitted to all facelift cars (from August 2000).

Get Nav. Its not just Nav and much better than the Merc system. It contains the onboard computer, the TV, the DSP settings and if the car comes with it, you can dial numbers from the telephone. I upgraded mine with bluetooth which includes voice recognition so I can talk to the car and dial numbers and find hotels and things using it. Last weekend I had to visit 3 hotels within 2 miles of each other (wedding) and just using the Nav and voice recognition I can put in a post code, then use "Hotel at Destination" to bring up a list which contained all 3 and I can easily navigate between them. Often people feel that Nav is just Nav but the screen contains alot more and the car is worth more come sale time.

The cost of parts is less relevent if you plan on owning it for such a short time. Make sure the tyres have good tread (and are Michelin's or Continentals) and the clutch is good. There are maf tests you can run to ensure they are in good shape and beyond that alot of it comes down to experience. Part costs will be similar to an S600.

VANOS rarely breaks (contrary to what you might hear), I wouldn't even worry about it.

I bought a non-facelift as it was cheaper. I find the prices are overlapping now though. The only facelift differences are front and rear lights, the Nav screen and the steering wheel.

My insurance is £540 at 30. My friend pays £1200 (yesterday) on an M3 CS at 24. Thats with full NCB from 17 and no accidents for us both. How old are you and whats your history?

I live near Woking and I'm happy to go with you looking at cars if you wanted.
 

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Over the last 10,000 miles, I've averaged 15.1 mpg in spirited city driving and 24.2 highway. I use consumption one on my onboard computer when in the city and consumption 2 on the highway. If you've owned Mercedes I would say there is nothing suprisingly expensive to replace in comparison. I just put on my second set of Michelin PS 2s for $1440. I agree that it is very rare for the VANOS to fail. I looked at several M5s and they all had a little VANOS rattle at idle. I've owned many performance cars and the M5 is in a class by itself. As for insurance, it's about average in the US - not real high and not real low. As you have probably read maintenance and service records are just as if not more important than mileage in buying an M5.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for replying!

There is a chance I may hold onto it after I go to Dubai as there is an address I can register to here in the UK and leave it in my friends garage who lives yards away from Bergwerk on the ring! So I can fly back every month or so and take it for a blast on the ring or anything. Or if the Saudis ever grant me a visa I'd probably one day drive it to Dubai and bring it back when the MOT is due. So there is a chance of keeping it, I'd much rather buy one that didn't need tyres straight away anyway.

Glad my MPG figures are pretty accurate I'd be happy with averaging between 20-25.

£1 a minute is pretty steep! But probably worth buying if I end up looking at one that is the other end of the country. Worth remembering.

How can I tell if a car has DSP, ideally from just photos? Is there an extra button or extra speakers to look for?
Wow, sounds like the nav is 100% worth getting! Is it retrofitable if I find a car without it, or is it best just to get the factory system? The Comand system on Mercs is wank, the newer Comand APS system is much better though.

Thanks for clearing up the VANOS thing, I think sometimes things get blown out of proportion on forums.

I'm only 23 with 5 years no claims on 1 policy and 2 years on another (I realise I can't combine then though), I've not had a claim personally although my company did on a car I was driving, and I did have a short ban a couple of years ago. If you're 24 year old friend is paying £1200 on a M3 assuming he has a clean license what I have been quoted tallys up with those figures.

I'm in Effingham (Nr Cobham) so yes maybe that would be very helpful. If you could come with me when I go to look at something I'll happily pay for the fuel and give you a drink for your time.

Thanks again for your advice.

Thanks again for replying.
 

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Nav is retro-fitable but its not worth it as its better to spend the money on a more expensive car with Nav.

DSP is normally listed on trader if it has it and you can see it on the Nav screen if you goto look at the car. In the boot under the parcel shelf will be a set of speakers either on their own (M-audio) or covered in a shroud.

Let me know if you want a hand although you won't be able to pm me until you reach 75 posts or so.
 

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Good luck with your purchase.The guys on here are awesome,and give good advise freely.Remember to use the search facility first,this can save alot of time etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys.

I shall let you know what I end up with. The search function has been very useful for me so far!
I shall hopefully have an M5 at the end of Jan as I want to keep the Landcruiser in case we have any snow.

I'm not too fussy on colours but I want a nice spec with good history, number of owners doesn't bother me too much as I think the M5 is a bit like an Elise, people buy them for a summer or two.

Does anyone what the differences from the Heritage leather interior to the standard interior is?
 

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There is a leather upgrade although I don't know if Heritage is it. There are lots of different colours available and somewhere on here is a thread showing all exterior and interior colours. I always feel blue with black/blue is the best ;)

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I found the exterior colour thread which was really handy, I haven't yet managed to unearth the interior colours thread. If anyone has it saved could you post a link to save me flicking through hundreds of threads!

From my research I think I know what options I would like the car to have-

Full Leather
Double Glazing
SatNav (ideally with phone)
Rear Park
DSP Audio System
6CD Changer
Alcantara Headlining (Would love this but not exactly essential)

I don't know what the 'comfort front seats' are but it sounds like something I'd like.
As far as exterior colours I'm not too fussy but the colours I really like are-

  • Avus Blue
  • Bluewater
  • Sterling Grey
  • Le Mans Blue
  • Alpine White (Never find a UK RHD one in this colour though!)
  • Oxford Green
I'm going to book myself on a driving course.
Advanced Driving Courses and Car Control Testing : Driver DP

I think that is probably a smart idea given that if I'm honest with myself I have very little experience with high power rear wheel drive sports cars. I've had 400bhp before but that's in a S-Class which isn't quite like an M5 at all... So I think it would be a good idea for me to spend a bit of time with someone who can teach me how to react in the best possible way to the feedback from the M5. The high powered sports cars I have driven haven't been mine so I have never really driven them flat out, and if I'm honest trying to drive a SL55 on a wet road with any degree of speed scares the hell out of me they are all over the place!
 

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Full Leather - Standard
Double Glazing - Very rare, maybe 10% of M5's in the UK have this
SatNav (ideally with phone) - About half have this
Rear Park - Practically standard
DSP Audio System -About half have this
6CD Changer - Standard
Alcantara Headlining (Would love this but not exactly essential) - Never seen it on a UK car but I'm sure its available

Comfort seats are taken from a 7 series and not recommended, the sports seats are better (and most M5's have sports seats).

The colours you've chosen are a mix. The Blue's are common (Le mans replaced Avus in April 2000) and the Green, Grey and Bluewater can be found. The very first RHD M5 (BJ10000) is White but I have no idea where it is, nor if it is alive anymore. I've never seen a RHD white M5 for sale.

Not sure the driving course will be necessary as whilst the M5 is different to an S600, not dramatically so. Both are high powered and very heavy and whilst the M5 will wallow a little less, its no M3. I read a thread yesterday where someone drove with the DSC off and crashed so generally I recommend leaving it on. If you had no trouble in the S or SL then chances are you'd find the M5 fairly similar. I'd certainly try one and see how you find it first.
 

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Comfort seats are taken from a 7 series and not recommended, the sports seats are better (and most M5's have sports seats).
+1 - I have the comfort seats in caramel, and while extremely comfortable, I do wish I had the sport seats as I have heard they are firmer and are generally more durable.
 

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There is a leather upgrade although I don't know if Heritage is it. There are lots of different colours available and somewhere on here is a thread showing all exterior and interior colours. I always feel blue with black/blue is the best ;)


thats the interior color combo my car has. but for some reason it doesn't photograph well the blue always seams to look brighter in pics then it does in person.
 

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I've had 3 E39 M5's, all the same colour with that interior. Its funny just buying the same over and over again but the only thing I'd consider instead is champagne which is super rare.

Oh, drove to Costco today to do a ///shop. Filled the car, drove home in total comfort with the air con on to clear the condensation and the heated seat to keep us warm. Was going to miss the start of the race so turned the TV on.

Mmmmmm M5
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'd love a champagne interior. A few years ago, I think it was 2003 my dad bought a 530i that was a limited edition with the champagne interior and it was black on the outside with all the spec in the world, what a lovley car.

I think on an M5 I'll be happy with whatever colour interior I get as long as it's full leather.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Full Leather - Standard
Double Glazing - Very rare, maybe 10% of M5's in the UK have this
SatNav (ideally with phone) - About half have this
Rear Park - Practically standard
DSP Audio System -About half have this
6CD Changer - Standard
Alcantara Headlining (Would love this but not exactly essential) - Never seen it on a UK car but I'm sure its available

Comfort seats are taken from a 7 series and not recommended, the sports seats are better (and most M5's have sports seats).

The colours you've chosen are a mix. The Blue's are common (Le mans replaced Avus in April 2000) and the Green, Grey and Bluewater can be found. The very first RHD M5 (BJ10000) is White but I have no idea where it is, nor if it is alive anymore. I've never seen a RHD white M5 for sale.

Not sure the driving course will be necessary as whilst the M5 is different to an S600, not dramatically so. Both are high powered and very heavy and whilst the M5 will wallow a little less, its no M3. I read a thread yesterday where someone drove with the DSC off and crashed so generally I recommend leaving it on. If you had no trouble in the S or SL then chances are you'd find the M5 fairly similar. I'd certainly try one and see how you find it first.
Thank you, I'm glad most of what I want it standard or at least common. Another spec related question, if I have SatNav would I automatically get the TV and is it upgradable in some way to freeview?

I shan't bother going for the comfort seats then!
 

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Your Dad would have had the Champagne edition or Champagne II. There are alot of options available on the E39 and most don't have many at all. Fold down rear seats, M audio, voice recognition, bluetooth, double glazing etc... My pet hate on autotrader are people who advertise cars as 'fully loaded with every option' and I can see 10 that they don't have just from the interior pictures.

I believe all Sat Nav enabled cars have TV in the UK. Freeview was fitted from mid-2005 onwards which means no E39 came with it. However the E46 module is the same and thus, any E46 fitted with TV from mid-2005 (a few months before production ended) will be fitted with a digital (freeview) unit. They come up on ebay once every few months for £400-500. The module in the E60, E90 and E65 is different and not compatible.

I believe it might be possible to have your old analog unit converted but its not something I've looked into.
 

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Good luck on the UK Specs. If this was a question about USA, you'd have pages of details- primarily since BMW limited the offerings in the US to make it less confusing and easier on the dealer retail process (all M5s have two interior choices, one in two colors, the other in 4 colors, then 3 trims..... and basically 5 options: M audio, DSP, sunshades, fold down seats, spoiler delete) (I think).

UK/EU was more complex- some with "comm packs" some not, etc....


GL

A
 

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Good luck on the UK Specs. If this was a question about USA, you'd have pages of details- primarily since BMW limited the offerings in the US to make it less confusing and easier on the dealer retail process (all M5s have two interior choices, one in two colors, the other in 4 colors, then 3 trims..... and basically 5 options: M audio, DSP, sunshades, fold down seats, spoiler delete) (I think).

UK/EU was more complex- some with "comm packs" some not, etc....


GL

A
lmao thats about 10 times simplier than here. But at the same time, we could get things like the TV ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Your Dad would have had the Champagne edition or Champagne II. There are alot of options available on the E39 and most don't have many at all. Fold down rear seats, M audio, voice recognition, bluetooth, double glazing etc... My pet hate on autotrader are people who advertise cars as 'fully loaded with every option' and I can see 10 that they don't have just from the interior pictures.

I believe all Sat Nav enabled cars have TV in the UK. Freeview was fitted from mid-2005 onwards which means no E39 came with it. However the E46 module is the same and thus, any E46 fitted with TV from mid-2005 (a few months before production ended) will be fitted with a digital (freeview) unit. They come up on ebay once every few months for £400-500. The module in the E60, E90 and E65 is different and not compatible.

I believe it might be possible to have your old analog unit converted but its not something I've looked into.
Does the TV turn off when above 10mph like they do on the Merc Comand system or the VW Columbus system?
I know what you mean, when people say on the adverts 'fully loaded with complete service history' basically they mean the car has 2 stamps in the book one of which is the PDI and a couple of old MOTs and by fully loaded they mean it's got the standard equipment and a metallic finish....

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