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I'm currently looking at a cosmetically very well maintained (almost collector item) 8000-mile 2001 M5, all services done by authorized dealers, accident-free, always garaged, non-smoker, pet-free, the list goes on...

I just want to know if there's anything in particular to look out for in such a deal, i mean, what are the parts that tend to age with age instead of mileage? What's your general opinion regarding cars that spent most of their lives in garages for months or even years, is that in anyway harmful to its general condition? Would you buy these cars for a reasonable premium or choose a well maintained daily driver instead?

Robert
 

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Here is my thought on 'premiums' for ultralow miles:

If you also will be a collector, and not drive it, then the premium is higher.

If you will be driving it and accumulating normal miles, then the premium is pretty low. How much will you save by the time you put 40k miles on the car? 48k versus, say, 78k miles.... perhaps the cost of a service and a few thousand for potential part failures. So for me, perhaps $4-5k over normal mileage

I'd say the propensity for parts to age is the same if they are driven or not. 8k miles is enough to identify 'infant mortality' issues (ie bad parts during manufacture)

A
 

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If it were me (and I realize it is not), I would have him take me for a ride. With him driving. I would ask him to drive like he always did.

Does he warm it up before he drives off (he shouldn't, according to BMW)? I would note how smoothly he shifts ... up and down ... how soon he applies the throttle after shifting, how abruptly he stops, how high he revs the engine, if he rides the clutch, if he rides the brakes, how fast he drives, how fast he corners, and what is his general attitude regarding this car. In short, is he a fanatic.

I would love to find a low mileage car, but wouldn't want one that had been driven by grandma. I would prefer a car that had been driven "briskly."

My $ 0.02

And, since there is nothing wrong with my car, I probably won't be looking soon.
 

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I suspect there is a healthy handful of well documented, ultra-low mileage examples. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate if I were in the market.

To Adam's comment, unless the car is being stored desiccated in an inert nitrogen atmosphere, there will be aging. We live in an oxidizing world, and oxygen is not a friend to many of our car's materials. In your favor however is that ultra low mileage cars will have seen fewer heat cycles in the engine bay to stress rubber hoses, seals, etc. The car will also be protected from UV rays... good for exterior trim, paint, and interior preservation.

D
 

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Beemer guy

Go ahead and PM Beemer Guy. He was looking at a number of cars like this and has some good thoughts around it.
 

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I just got done finding an '03 with 10kmi on it. I required high-res photos, full service documentation, as well as full owner disclosure on style of driving, age, occupation, etc. The latter was to ensure I was talking to an owner and not someone who clear bra'd it and raced/tracked it (also leads to a clean example and low miles). In the end, it could not have worked out better and I have a garage queen now.

The only thing that you'll want to address right away is a new battery - don't ask how I found this out :)

Of course a full PPI and inspection is mandatory! Good luck!
 

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I guess I can give a perspective. I am just over 2 years into what was a perfect example of what your are faced with: 10K miles on a very pristine late production 2000. Now my very own daily driver and sporting 25K miles.

I definitely paid a premium for the lower milieage, but it wasn't excessive. I based my decision versus a similar 540, and I would say the M came for free, and boy was that the right decision. I could have saved $10K if I bought a well used 100K miles 2000, but it was rode hard. Instead I managed to find some left over cherry to pop! If you have ever been out on a hard test drive, the car comes back pretty stinky, and I was getting that out my beast for a couple of months. I think I drive harder than the previous owner, but I think the previous owner just turned off the traction control to spin the tires.

I bought mine from a BMW dealership, so I didn't get the full history of how the car was driven. I knew the rear tires were replaced, and the clutch is a little worn for its lower miles. I have only spent money on an oil service, and worn out my own set of tires. These cars were not built just to look great. BMW expects serious driving, so regardless of how it was driven in the past, the car just needs a thorough inspection, and the wear is usually a good indicator of its uncertain past.

The dealer has had to cover a few things earlier on like the instrument cluster, and I did have a VANOS alarm (proved false) that was only due to the valve cover gasket leak.

I visit the sales guy at the dealership occasionally to see if I should get into something newer. He will not let me unload the beast and he reccommends putting the car in the garage with a cover on it, and taking it out on the weekend and driving it hard! This car will only appreciate in the long term, but it is best to keep them looking good. I still love my beast, and I am definitely in for the long haul. In another 15K miles I will consider weekend use only, until then I am the blue blur getting farther away from you on the horizon ;)
 

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Great find! look at the tires for flat spots if it set in one position for extended periods. Some of the gaskets may develop some leaks if they dried out. Also, as someone said already... the battery.

Enjoy!
 

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Low miles are great but with an older car with 8k you may experience tons of problems or none at all.

If you look at the M5 community, there are many that have had carbon issues and vanos issues as well as rod bearing issue.

You maybe buying a low mile car that could have a bunch of issues in the near future or a perfect 8k mile car.

I bought my car with 60k on it. It had all the sevice information and my car has had all the major repairs done already and I got a great deal on it. It made more sence to me to buy a used car that had the major bugs fixed instead of buying a lower mileage that may still need major work done in the near future. Up to you, sorry for the rant

Ryan
 

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This car will only appreciate in the long term, but it is best to keep them looking good.
I beg to differ. I don't see the E39 M5 going up in value for a long, long time. If someone paid, say, $40k for their M5, they need to be prepared to watch it bottom out (at maybe $15k?) before it starts to climb. Even then, the climb will be ever so slow and long.
 

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Chech the DOT

Great find! look at the tires for flat spots if it set in one position for extended periods. Some of the gaskets may develop some leaks if they dried out. Also, as someone said already... the battery.

Enjoy!
I would check the DOT code on the tires and replace them if they are over six years old. Old tires with good tread are said to sometimes fail at high speeds.
 

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We'll definitely see more depreciation in the foreseeable future. What happens beyond the horizon is anyone's guess.

Value is in the eye of the beholder. I already consider mine a 'classic', even if the market hasn't realized this yet! :)

Dave
 

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I beg to differ. I don't see the E39 M5 going up in value for a long, long time. If someone paid, say, $40k for their M5, they need to be prepared to watch it bottom out (at maybe $15k?) before it starts to climb. Even then, the climb will be ever so slow and long.
Yes, I should have said a long long time. If you look at the bottom at 10 years, and recovery over 10 more years. That is what I should have mentioned.
 

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I beg to differ. I don't see the E39 M5 going up in value for a long, long time. If someone paid, say, $40k for their M5, they need to be prepared to watch it bottom out (at maybe $15k?) before it starts to climb. Even then, the climb will be ever so slow and long.
I agree. This is a mass produced car, built on assembly lines. They are daily drivers for most. The e34 m5, built by hand in much more limited numbers than the e39, is still depreciating, and can be had for around $10-12 grand, $18 will buy something pristine. I don't expect the e39 m5 to ever be a real collector's item, from a financial standpoint, so use it and enjoy it!
 
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