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So, M5 guys, how are ya?

Brief Intro: My names Nick and I've been a BMW loyalist for quite a few years. I started out with the E36 M3/4, upgraded to a track ready S52 MZ3Coupe (which was a lot of fun but a bit harsh for DD), to my current car which is an E46 M3. I love these cars and their combination of performance and luxury, and now that college is over I'm looking to pick up another one.

My question to you guys is what do I do. I've lurked on this site for a year or so now and I still have mixed feelings about the E39 M5. The car is truly impressive, but the lingering maintenance problems still give me some cause for hesitation when looking to pick one up. Now my other main alternative to the M5 is the E60 545i/6. I've driven one, very fun, feels very tight with the sports package and sports suspension, but its no M. Its a newer body style, with some newer technology, but still lags behind the M5 I feel.

Now my budget stops right under 30k (looking for the best sports sedan possible), and honestly I don't know which way to go. With the E60 I get a warranty, newer look, etc. I also have a feeling that the E60 will be cheaper to mod. So who has driven both, what are your impressions, does the E60 noticeably lag behind the E39?

Thanks for any and all help here guys. I'd love to open up a dialogue about these cars and this situation, so if anyone has any other options (for a car) that I haven't mentioned here please speak up.

Nick
 

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I currently own a '00 M5, and a friend owns an '04 545i/6 with all the options. I have driven both extensively, and in the end it really comes down to what you like. If you want a lot of refinement, quiet, and a very comfortable-but still sporting-ride that has a good deal of power, then the E60 might be your ticket. IMHO, fit and finish are a step above the E39 as well as structural rigidity-and the E39 is no slouch in this area by any means. I could personally do away with i-Drive, but I can live with it also if needed.

However, as you said, the 545i isn't an M car. My E39 M5 reminds me in a lot of ways of my '97 E36 M3/4 I owned a few years ago-but with VASTLY better quality all around. It feels nimble, gives the driver a decent amount of feedback as to what is going on, and although the 545i/6 is a fairly quick car-it is in no way a match for the E39 M5. My friend used to own an '03 Z06, and he says my M5 is the only car he has driven that has come close to the C5 Z06 in acceleration-and the same goes with my experiences also. Even with the stock exhaust, the M5 sounds like a very refined muscle car-and you can hear the motor and exhaust inside the car very well, but it is never intrusive-it's just right.

This may be blasphemy to say this here, but even though I really like the look of the E39 M5 (and I always have), it is getting to be a touch dated. At first I didn't like the E60, but now I feel 180 degrees the opposite-it's a very good looking car, and with the way E60 M5 values are falling I might just have one in another couple of years!

As far as maintenance is concerned-do you do your own, or do you take it to someone? Either one of these cars could expensive to own down the road, although the M5 would be a bit more if not just for the added parts cost of being an M5. Note that the E60's are still seeing a number of electrical glitches in the i-Drive and associated systems, and you will never be able to remedy those yourself-that will probably be a dealer only repair or diagnosis.

It can be a tough decision, but all I can say is I had my choice-and you see which way I went in the end.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Eric, thanks for the response. I do a little bit of my own maintenance, but a friend of mine runs a BMW tuning shop here in Atlanta, so I'm not too worried about the maint.

I agree with you on the styling, I originally hated it but wow does the styling of these cars grow on ya. Another consideration is that the E60 will have a lot more warranty to it. How does the 6 speed in teh E60 feel, close to the E39? So, you would have to say that the power difference is noticeable, dang.
 

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A word on repairs for the M5:

Most people here would recommend against getting an extended warranty for the E39 M5. Instead, they recommend putting money aside just in case. I would agree with this for a car that has less than 50k miles. But for 30k like you're planning, you're looking to get something with more miles than that.

In my experience, I got the M5 with 60k miles. 7 months later and 2 sporadic trips to the dealer added up to over $4,000 worth of repairs. Cost out of my pocket: $200 (2 $100 deductibles). For an extended warranty (Confidence Plus) that was worth $2400, I couldn't be happier.
 

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e39m5 all the way the m5 just commands a presence as were the 545 will just blend into the crowd.:) best of luck with your decission makeing
 

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Eric, thanks for the response. I do a little bit of my own maintenance, but a friend of mine runs a BMW tuning shop here in Atlanta, so I'm not too worried about the maint.

I agree with you on the styling, I originally hated it but wow does the styling of these cars grow on ya. Another consideration is that the E60 will have a lot more warranty to it. How does the 6 speed in teh E60 feel, close to the E39? So, you would have to say that the power difference is noticeable, dang.
As far as feel in the transmissions, to me they seem to be similar. The length of the throw on each is very close, possibly just a hair shorter on the M5-but in reality they are probably the same.

As far as clutch feel, they are both a bit on the softer side-but I would give the nod to the M5 has having more 'feel' thru the pedal and is easier to modulate.

Note that I am comparing the '04 545i with 325HP to my M5...didn't the '05-06 cars get a bit more? Still, the torque and extra power of the M5-along with the lower geared differential-gives it a very noticeable advantage in acceleration. This especially comes apparent the faster you go-the M5 keeps pulling like a banshee over 100MPH and doesn't seem to want to stop. If you want a good comparison, remember that the E39 M5 and your E46 M3 are very, very similar in acceleration from a standing start up thru, I would imagine, third gear. After that, the M5 starts taking an advantage that it never gives up. And from a rolling start in say second or third gear, the additional torque of the M5 should always be an advantage.
 

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e39m5 all the way the m5 just commands a presence as were the 545 will just blend into the crowd.:) best of luck with your decission makeing
+1

A line from gone in sixty seconds courtesy of IMDB.com:

Roger the Car Salesman: Well, a Ferrari would certainly change that.
Memphis: Perhaps, Mmmm. But, you know, this is the one. Yes, yes yes... I saw three of these parked outside the local Starbucks this morning, which tells me only one thing. There's too many self-Indulgent wieners in this city with too much bloody money! Now, if I was driving a 1967 275 GTB four-cam...
Roger the Car Salesman: You would not be a self-indulgent wiener, sir... You'd be a connoisseur.
Memphis: Precisely. Champagne would fall from the heavens. Doors would open. Velvet ropes would part.

This is how I feel of the newest cars on the road today, those of us with the e39s and e34s i feel are more of the BMW connoisseurs. Go for the e39.

(this is in no way meant to be a shot at any one on this board whatsoever, as people on this board are true car lovers. just my two cents.)
 

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Nick, I am also a long time Coupe owner and I am in the midst of transitioning from an S52 MZ3 to the e39 M5. For the prices M5 have dropped to, its a no brainer right now. Its certainly different, but the M5 is a terrifc drive. Of course you could always sell the E46 M3 and pick up an S54 MCoupe, since there is more practical overlap between the M3/M5. That is my current stable, E30 M3, the M5, an S54 MCoupe, and an X5 4.4i for my wife.

Don't look back.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nick, I am also a long time Coupe owner and I am in the midst of transitioning from an S52 MZ3 to the e39 M5. For the prices M5 have dropped to, its a no brainer right now. Its certainly different, but the M5 is a terrifc drive. Of course you could always sell the E46 M3 and pick up an S54 MCoupe, since there is more practical overlap between the M3/M5. That is my current stable, E30 M3, the M5, an S54 MCoupe, and an X5 4.4i for my wife.

Don't look back.
Island funny that you put this up, I just read your OT thread over at BF.c

I loved my MCoupe but I just need something with a bit more space.
 

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The 06/07/08 car became the 550i with 360bhp, so a 35bhp boost from the 545i. However, I'm with the others. Go for the E39 M5 or keep your E46 M3 which is a great car.

As far as feel in the transmissions, to me they seem to be similar. The length of the throw on each is very close, possibly just a hair shorter on the M5-but in reality they are probably the same.

As far as clutch feel, they are both a bit on the softer side-but I would give the nod to the M5 has having more 'feel' thru the pedal and is easier to modulate.

Note that I am comparing the '04 545i with 325HP to my M5...didn't the '05-06 cars get a bit more? Still, the torque and extra power of the M5-along with the lower geared differential-gives it a very noticeable advantage in acceleration. This especially comes apparent the faster you go-the M5 keeps pulling like a banshee over 100MPH and doesn't seem to want to stop. If you want a good comparison, remember that the E39 M5 and your E46 M3 are very, very similar in acceleration from a standing start up thru, I would imagine, third gear. After that, the M5 starts taking an advantage that it never gives up. And from a rolling start in say second or third gear, the additional torque of the M5 should always be an advantage.
 

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The 06/07/08 car became the 550i with 360bhp, so a 35bhp boost from the 545i. However, I'm with the others. Go for the E39 M5 or keep your E46 M3 which is a great car.

++1
Comparing E39 M5 with E60 would be closer to 550i instead of 545i in term of sheer power and performance...

I would personally test drive, and make the judgement yourself.
At the end you're the one whos gonna live with the decision.

my $0.02

Regardz,

J Irwan
 

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This may be blasphemy to say this here, but even though I really like the look of the E39 M5 (and I always have), it is getting to be a touch dated. At first I didn't like the E60, but now I feel 180 degrees the opposite-it's a very good looking car, and with the way E60 M5 values are falling I might just have one in another couple of years!


+1:cheers:
 

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A day will come when you are sitting at the traffic lights and an M5 pulls up next to you, the question is, how will you feel if you went down the 545 road?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for all the responses so far guys. Have many of you on here run your M5 into the 130-150k range on mileage, if so how bad were your maint. costs, anything catastrophic go?
 

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I had always wanted an E39 M5, but started looking at the E46 M3s and newer 5-series, like you. There's nothing wrong w/ the E60 series, I drove a 550i sport and it felt quick and solid, but the exhaust note was muted and the experience all together just wasn't memorable. The M3 was quick but a little too rough for me. I still remember the first time I was in the E39 M5 accelerating on a freeway on-ramp and I was just thinking, "Wow. I'm going to have so much fun in this thing". I bought an aftermarket warranty (like Diny) to help peace of mind. If you've always fixed cars, maybe you're more comfortable w/ the DIY. I would go w/ the E39 M5... This might be your last chance to own a car like this.
 
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