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New member here! The e39 M5 has been a dream car of mine since college when it came out. A few years after college I bought an Orient Blue 2000 540 that I spent all of my money getting it to look as close to an M5 as I could afford (minus the badge). I've always wanted the real thing and finally pulled the trigger. I really wanted a LMB on caramel but after 6 months of searching I found a 2002 Sterling Gray on black and decided to go with my second favorite spec. 88k miles, sport interior, sun shades, Motorola, m stereo. I am in love with this machine. Fits the wife and baby perfectly well and is a blast in the canyons. So far just did some minor maintenance (new diff seals, valve gasket, sensors, new badges, windshield seals, oil change, leatherique, etc) installed e60 short shifter, matte grills, new floor mats, f10 knob, and dynavin N7 pro head unit. Planning on keeping it mostly stock. Only plans as of now are Bilstein PSS9 coilovers and exhaust. The wheels do need to be refinished so scheduling that soon too. The more I drive it the more I am trying to justify spending the money an EAG car. I live in LA and do drives in the canyons every weekend. If there are any e39 enthusiasts that would like to join please reach out. I don't have many friends that share the same e39 love. Here are some pics.


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Also, here are some pics of the old 540

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Congrats! And quite a nice 540i too!

Interesting both a rocking original plates :D
 

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Very nice. I too settled for a car that's not my first choice of color combo. I wanted Titanium Silver, would have liked Sterling... the car with the right options/mileage/price that came along was black. C'est la vie. I hope to wrap it silver someday ;)

Enjoy!
 

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Very pleased for you!! I am too a fairly new owner of an E39 M5, after wanting one for years!

The grey looks fab!! Enjoy. (y)
 

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Congrats! My 1st E39 M5 was the same color and I loved it. Just purchased my 2nd one after missing my 03 for the past 8 years. Had a few 540’s back in the day as well. Your old one looks great!
Would love to join you for a drive, but sadly I live in Chicago, where only concrete canyons exist.
 

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Hi Nick,

Congratulations on the new purchase of the Sterling Grey example ! looks like you've headed right into maintenance and upgrade mods too! One of the more rare M5 colours, I can't quite remember the production stats but apparently, the M5 portal website may be back online soon so can check there once more!

Another aspect, as you are in LA, and given the sheer gigantic size of the place which 'always' floors me whenever I'm over there, there is a good contingent of E39 M5's around as well as non M E39's and once the virus situation recedes, the various LA area meetups I think will resume. Perhaps you'll not get so many E39 only meetups, but certainly BMW and BMW M car get togethers. I'm based over in West London UK, but know a good number of the LA enthusiasts from previous visits and have gone along to the meetups at Westfield, Century City - this was some years back though so I don't know if they're still happening there or if everyone really now only goes to the Cars n Coffee meetups nowadays.I'm sure some of the forum members here based in LA could provide more info on meetups etc - I can't even call them 'local' meets here either, LA is so.. unbeleively.... massive... nothing is 'local' really! People here in the UK moan about traffic and distances and I look at them and tell them just about 'LA traffic' and they don't believe me when I say it's 10 times worse in LA!

Cheers, Dennis!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Congrats! Glad you found a solid car! I think I remember seeing that one on sale the same time as mine.
Ya, it was for sale same time as yours. I bought it the day it was posted but I think the seller kept the post up for a few days after. I love yours.
 

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Congrats man, nice. I test drove an M5 and 540 about 2 months ago. My mechanic talked me out of it, because he said it is going to be expensive to maintain. He said look for a 540, that i would enjoy it just as much. What do you think> The problem is I can't get the M5 out of my mind, the sound it made when I started it was amazing, the drive was incredible! Where are good sites you guys would recommend I look for one? Have not found one with good miles between 85K-125K and in decent shape that's a one or two owner car w/maintenance records. Help, before I go crazy!
 

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NickPDR,

Sterling Gray IS a most wonderful color. I bought my 2002 Sterling Gray new back in the day. I still have it with about 70k miles on it. I keep it great condition. I also did may modifications (mostly engine performance) over the years that kick up the enjoyment level big time.

Enjoy that ride and be safe....

mini-M5 Front View.JPG
 

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Congrats man, nice. I test drove an M5 and 540 about 2 months ago. My mechanic talked me out of it, because he said it is going to be expensive to maintain. He said look for a 540, that i would enjoy it just as much. What do you think> The problem is I can't get the M5 out of my mind, the sound it made when I started it was amazing, the drive was incredible! Where are good sites you guys would recommend I look for one? Have not found one with good miles between 85K-125K and in decent shape that's a one or two owner car w/maintenance records. Help, before I go crazy!
BMW’s, especially M cars are expensive to maintain out of warranty (news flash). You probably already knew that. So you’ll save a lot of money if you can do it yourself. This site allows you to DIY most common issues. If you pay someone, it’ll add up quick and I bet a 540i wouldn’t save you all that much. If you have the money for a 1 or 2 owner 85k mi e39 M5, then the difference shouldn’t bother you. You’ve already been bitten. Go with the M or you’ll ALWAYS wish you did. Search m5board’s for sale section, BAT, Craigslist (there’s usually many for sale in the SF Bay Area), Facebook Marketplace, and if you want to pay a premium for a clean car-EAG. If you have more questions, you should start your own thread. Good luck with the search. Don’t be in a hurry, I imagine it’s a buyers market.
 

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BMW’s, especially M cars are expensive to maintain out of warranty (news flash). You probably already knew that. So you’ll save a lot of money if you can do it yourself. This site allows you to DIY most common issues. If you pay someone, it’ll add up quick and I bet a 540i wouldn’t save you all that much. If you have the money for a 1 or 2 owner 85k mi e39 M5, then the difference shouldn’t bother you. You’ve already been bitten. Go with the M or you’ll ALWAYS wish you did. Search m5board’s for sale section, BAT, Craigslist (there’s usually many for sale in the SF Bay Area), Facebook Marketplace, and if you want to pay a premium for a clean car-EAG. If you have more questions, you should start your own thread. Good luck with the search. Don’t be in a hurry, I imagine it’s a buyers market.
Thank you for your feedback Ibmotoren, I really appreciate. Good advice. I have an E36 325 I've owned for about 6 years now. Brought it with 150K, it's now up to 246K. It's a nice car and I do much of the work myself. It's just not fast enough. As long as I get the correct diagnosis, I can fix a lot of stuff.
You're right, I need to take my time and keep looking. It's not quite a buyer's market yet as I think a lot of folks are asking too much. Even thought the prices are trending up, I expect there will be up and down fluctuation, like the stock market. I think that mid to late summer will be a good time to buy.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Congrats man, nice. I test drove an M5 and 540 about 2 months ago. My mechanic talked me out of it, because he said it is going to be expensive to maintain. He said look for a 540, that i would enjoy it just as much. What do you think> The problem is I can't get the M5 out of my mind, the sound it made when I started it was amazing, the drive was incredible! Where are good sites you guys would recommend I look for one? Have not found one with good miles between 85K-125K and in decent shape that's a one or two owner car w/maintenance records. Help, before I go crazy!
Hey kdaddy- That is a hard call. No doubt the m5 is going to not be kind on the wallet for maintenance but I would say having owned both, if you can afford it go with the M. As much as I loved the 540 not a day went by that I wished it was an M5 and I would also be envious when I saw one on the road. Everything about the M feels more special. Also, for me it is a car that I won't mind putting more money into because it really is a dream car for me. And it does seem to be appreciating at a much faster pace than a 540.

On the flip side, I've driven almost every year 5 series and m5 and I would say the e39 has the smallest difference between the two. As in, a brand new 540 feels very much like a sedan my mom would drive and not very exciting where a brand new m5 (although not as good as the e39 in my opinion) is a beast. The e39 540 with a few mods feels like it's 80% of the way to the real deal.

In summary, if you can afford the maintenance the M5 will not disappoint. If you don't want to spend the money but want something damn close then the 540 is a great option. Keep me posted! oh and I've found the most luck on autotrader and craigslist. forums and a few other spots occasionally get good deals but so many people still just go with those two sites.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
NickPDR,

Sterling Gray IS a most wonderful color. I bought my 2002 Sterling Gray new back in the day. I still have it with about 70k miles on it. I keep it great condition. I also did may modifications (mostly engine performance) over the years that kick up the enjoyment level big time.

Enjoy that ride and be safe....

View attachment 937506

mr_g_bock - Your car looks amazing! What mods did you end up getting?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
BMW’s, especially M cars are expensive to maintain out of warranty (news flash). You probably already knew that. So you’ll save a lot of money if you can do it yourself. This site allows you to DIY most common issues. If you pay someone, it’ll add up quick and I bet a 540i wouldn’t save you all that much. If you have the money for a 1 or 2 owner 85k mi e39 M5, then the difference shouldn’t bother you. You’ve already been bitten. Go with the M or you’ll ALWAYS wish you did. Search m5board’s for sale section, BAT, Craigslist (there’s usually many for sale in the SF Bay Area), Facebook Marketplace, and if you want to pay a premium for a clean car-EAG. If you have more questions, you should start your own thread. Good luck with the search. Don’t be in a hurry, I imagine it’s a buyers market.
Agreed. I think the biggest thing is don't be in a hurry. Wait for the right one and get a solid PPI.
 
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