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Hello all!

I am a US service member serving overseas in Germany. I am really thinking hard about buying an E60 over here; problem is that everyone says they are extremely unreliable. Are one of these beauties worth buying? I would most likely purchase one with 100,000-150,000 Km on the dash, so hopefully the rod bearings will have already been replaced by then. Can anyone help me out? What types of questions should I ask the seller?
 

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The SMG in particular has alot of issue, just look at all the posts in the recent 2 months. E60 M5s are much cheaper over in the US. Also we were the only market with the 6 speed manual (6MT). They are much more reliable and sought after vs the SMG. You actually could make a bit of a profit by buying a 6MT stateside, getting it shipped over to DE, which should be very easy since you are a service member. When you are done (or sick of spending more money to fix it) you can very easy sell it in DE since it would be probably 1 of 5 (or 10) E60 M5s with an original 6MT. You should be able to make a small profit if you buy wisely and keep it in good condition and think about the next buyer who will likely be pretty anal about condition. Avoid the pre LCI models (2005-2007).

Regardless you know how expensive fuel is there and these pigs get 10-12 MPG. Since you will be driving it all out on the Autobahn, you can expect to get 8-10 MPG.

Labor rates for addressing the common E60 and E60M5 issues is cheaper and the technicians are better trained there. Parts are also cheaper. Only get one if you are prepared to spend another 5k-8k in the first year addressing the common issues.
 

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The SMG in particular has alot of issue, just look at all the posts in the recent 2 months. E60 M5s are much cheaper over in the US. Also we were the only market with the 6 speed manual (6MT). They are much more reliable and sought after vs the SMG. You actually could make a bit of a profit by buying a 6MT stateside, getting it shipped over to DE, which should be very easy since you are a service member. When you are done (or sick of spending more money to fix it) you can very easy sell it in DE since it would be probably 1 of 5 (or 10) E60 M5s with an original 6MT. You should be able to make a small profit if you buy wisely and keep it in good condition and think about the next buyer who will likely be pretty anal about condition. Avoid the pre LCI models (2005-2007).

Regardless you know how expensive fuel is there and these pigs get 10-12 MPG. Since you will be driving it all out on the Autobahn, you can expect to get 8-10 MPG.

Labor rates for addressing the common E60 and E60M5 issues is cheaper and the technicians are better trained there. Parts are also cheaper. Only get one if you are prepared to spend another 5k-8k in the first year addressing the common issues.
Interesting, thanks for the reply. So if I were to get one with the SMG over here, I should target an 08-09 model?
 

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Yes, look at 08-10 preferably.
Got it. If i were looking at an 05 with 106.000 KM on the clock, but it had the rod bearings, Vanos, crankshaft, clutch and brake discs were all replaced at 90,000 KM, would this be a good option? The engine was also completely disassembled and overhauled.
 

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Interesting, thanks for the reply. So if I were to get one with the SMG over here, I should target an 08-09 model?
Yes, look at 08-10 preferably.
Target one with the best documented maintenance history -- regardless of the year and miles/kms.

Neglect/lack of maintenance kills these cars, not model year. Lots of items on these cars have aged out by now, with the "newest" cars being 10 years old.

Good luck in your search.
 
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I agree with fiftytwoeighty. I wouldn't pass up an older cream puff one, just maybe more update type maintenance on the front end.
 

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Got it. If i were looking at an 05 with 106.000 KM on the clock, but it had the rod bearings, Vanos, crankshaft, clutch and brake discs were all replaced at 90,000 KM, would this be a good option? The engine was also completely disassembled and overhauled.
I would ask for more information on the engine being disassembled and overhauled, not necessarily a bad thing but if it was rebuilt I'd want to know it was done by someone who knows S85s. Having some of the more expensive maintenance items squared away before purchase is a good idea. Have you looked into where you would get it serviced near where you are stationed?
 

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Another very important reason to get a 6MT is that it’s already homologated for the US market but a Euro spec one cannot be homologated to the US you would have to leave it there or wait until 2030 to import it to the US. It won’t be worth it to wait because by then a 2006 m5 (in similar condition) made for the US will likely command a little more than a 2005 with a rebuilt engine that is Euro spec.

with a 6MT you will always have a sought after vehicle especially in the EU AND you can decide to have it shipped back with you to the US where it will likely have preserved its value.

there are a lot of e60 issues that are far cheaper to deal with in DE since there are so many e60s and suffer from the same sh*t. For M5s there are the S85 issues which about half seem to have already been addressed by the rebuild (sounds like spun rod bearing). The German rebuilders tend to use BMW rod bearings, this is an issue because you still have the inadequate clearance issue unless they reground the crank to a smaller dia.

the other shoe that WILL drop is/are SMG issues. Those issues WILL rear their heads in the next 50,000 KM.

I’ve bought a few M5s my most recent one was an 08 SMG last fall before the current price drops. It was under 6k.You can get 06-07 SMGs here for 4k, but I won’t bother getting a pre LCI. The 2-3k is worth it for the post LCI benefits you get on an 08. 09s seem to be more rare than ‘10, but a ‘10 has the more modern iDrive.
 

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He would, but he can’t get DOT and EPA approvals until 2030 earliest (25 yrs) so he could not register or drive it. That’s kind of a problem...
 

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He would, but he can’t get DOT and EPA approvals until 2030 earliest (25 yrs) so he could not register or drive it. That’s kind of a problem...
That is not correct.
 

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When people ask me about buying an E60 or how the ownership is I have the same advice; To buy and properly care for one of these cars you have to want an E60 M5 and absolutely nothing else will do. If you just want a fun, fast car in general, get something else.
 

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That is not correct
What’s not correct? That was a short summary not meant to detail the hundreds of pages of Federal and State laws regarding importing vehicles that are not compliant.

The US DOT oversees FMVSS. This governs crash standards among thousands of other requirements, in the case of the E61 with the S85 engine. The OEM has never certified compliance to all FMVSS standards. It is technically possible to request an exemption but that is a nice red tape process and will cost you a lot of time and money. You’d argue that the E61 with the S85 is substantially similar to the homologated E61 (non S85) that was/is available here in the US. Good luck, it’s been tried before.

You can also have these tests conducted according to the standards, but you’re literally going to have to pay one of a handful of company’s in the world to run E61 S85s in crash tests. I’d be interested in some of the parts that come from those wrecks so if some is going to do this then let me know.

Now let’s talk about the EPA, which is separate from DOT. The OEM (BMW) has not certified the E61 (with the S85) as being compliant to US emissions standards. Moreover BMW has not certified the same vehicle configuration to CA CARB. This is the difference between 49 and 50 state compliance and why this shows up on the window stickers.

25 years after the first manufacture of that model year is the soonest the vehicle qualifies for exemption to BOTH of those roadblocks, which is why you will not be able to obtain a title and registration for the car. These two things are required to operate the car legally on US roads.

You can do what you want with such a car on private property and that’s why there are some non complaint cars younger than 25 yrs in the US.

You can also import it under a special use exemption. This is how race cars and show cars are imported. These may require a bond that is refunded on proof of re-export.

If anyone wants to know how I know this stuff about homologation rules, one of the programs I worked on at Ford was a shared global platform. Also on all of the programs I was involved with getting the certifications- If it wasn’t clear from what a wrote above US made cars must be certified too.
 

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E.g.bCrash standards are different.

Headlights tail light bumpers are also different.

And stupid us import laws.
I agree the laws suck, but it was the automakers (including) the German ones that supported the current regulations scheme via lobbyists. They wanted to stop grey market imports so they could have fully control and raise prices. It’s no secret that the US is the most profitable market for the German automakers. We don’t have the de-contented trim levels that are popular and available across the EU (and China).

Service members in the 50s-80s used to buy European sports cars while stationed in Europe and bring them back to the US with no problems. That started to change with the Clean Air Act and other regulations that followed. It supported post war Europe economic growth. That’s partly why the European delivery program were created too.
 

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I have had mine just over a year. 06 with 109k miles, lots up upgrades, rod bearings and clutch had 10k on them. Great car once you get used to the SMG and the power. As I always say be ready to spend 5k to keep it on the road. I am currently having SMG issues. It may be as simple as changing the tune or as complex as a new control unit. $3000 for an overhaul and $8000 for a new one.
Recently I went for a drive with my son and he asked me to roll down the windows to hear the engine, sublime! Considering the vintage and the systems I doubt a car like this will ever be built again, I'm all in.
 

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"I’ve bought a few M5s my most recent one was an 08 SMG last fall before the current price drops. It was under 6k.You can get 06-07 SMGs here for 4k, but I won’t bother getting a pre LCI. "

Where are you finding them this cheap?
 

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Craigslist. Also saw a few on fleabay. About a year ago I saw and checked out a non runner in San Jose. It was with the mechanic for a few months. Funny thing was I met Troy’s buddy there as we both happened to arrive around the same time. It was an 06. Asking was 5k. I can’t justify a preLCI. It had 4 new VANOS actuators though! So maybe I made a mistake. I let Troy’s guy get it, we weren’t gonna be stupid and out bid each other. I think he got it for 4.5k.
 
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