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What would I miss?

2114 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Chugani
I am considering buying a 1997 540i with the AC SCHNITZER PACKAGE W/ CHIP, EXHAUST, 18" WHEELS, GROUND EFFECTS,and special Suspension. I do understand that this car does not rise to the same performance, and handling level as the M5, What would I miss if I select to buy this car over waiting a long time to get myself an M5? Any advice on any issues with such a vehicle?
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1.) You are dealing with an engine (4.0L) which BMW doesn't offer anymore. Year 2000 540i's features a 4.4L engine. It could probably be compensated by your AC chip so you might run as fast as a Year 2000 540i.
2.) People currently are debating whether the M5 will FOLLOW the facelift of the 5 series. But I havn't heard any debate as to whether the 5 series is gonna get a facelift or not. If there is gonna be a new look for the 5 series (as confirmed in's News Centre), the 1997 model will be dated.
3.) Your 3 year factory warranty is over.
4.) No BMW navigation system (which could be a good thing as the Nav is SOOOOO damn slow in BMW, get yourself an Alpine)

My 2 cents worth.
The wait isn't that long. Just order your car out of state.

A modified whatever is just that. The beast has no equal. Go 4 the real thing. Just don't overpay.

You'll never regret it.

M fan.
The '97 540i actually does have the 4.4L V8. (I had one and just traded it in). There is no comparion. The M is much faster, although, admittedly, I did not have the Schnitzer package. Also, the M has the navi, and a great sound.....and IT IS 4YEARS newer!
Really, Chugani?
I traded my 1997 540i 6spd in when I acquire the M5 and I am pretty sure at that time my engine was a 4.0L, I thought they introduced the 4.4L when X5 (1999 that is) came out? Then I could be wrong. Can you please provide more info regarding that? I will try to dig up my brochure when I got the 540i and look at technical specs. The more I think of it, the more I think I was right... Hmmmm

I think Ossama here has already acknowledged his awareness that there is no 5 series like the M5. Ossama, be prepared to almost double your price! A 1997 540i is substantially less expensive than a brand new M5 (let alone you guys in US have to pay a premium over MSRP to get one fast). They shouldn't try to charge you more because they have AC'd the car. Keep that in mind.

So Ossama, are you willing to pay almost twice as much to get the superb handling and better acceleration? Mind you, the acceleration of 0-60 between 540i and M5 is NOT that big a difference. For 2 decent drivers, the M5 will probably win by 0.5 to 1.5 cars length MAX. [I raced one the other day with my car filled (me and 3 passengers) and the 540i emptied (driver only), I CANNOT shake the 540i until I reach 75MPH (or 120km/h) from a 0 start.]
Of course, 60 and up, it's the M5's world.

People will turn heads when you have a full kit 540i and most will not notice the M5. So is it stealthy or is it visibility that you're looking for?

But if $$$ is not the subject here, the M5, definitely M5.
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Incorrect, BrianC - with the intro of the E39 series the 540 became a 4.4 litre. The year is irrelevant - go by the model.

I've had my M5 for over a year now (Australia) and couldn't even think of entertaining another BMW model. The differences from the soft, refined 540 to the raw edge of luxury in the M5 with the amazing handling have to be experienced to be believed.

Power slides are a lot of fun in this beast (44,000 km still on the first set of Michelin boots - getting VERY tired and slippery!!)

I presently drive a '97 BMW 540ia. The engine is definitely 4.4 liters. My greatest dissatisfaction with my current '97 540i is the engine's lackluster low rpm torque. However, in '98 BMW did something with the engine (don't know what) to substantially improve torque at lower rpms without affecting peak torque or power. If I had a '98 or later model 540i, I would strongly consider using some Dinan modifications to further enhance 540i performance, in lieu of paying the greater cost of a new M5. It' my understanding that we're only 2-3 years away from introduction of a new 5 series BMW.

Unfortunately, Dinan's engine performance modifications to '96-'97 540i's do not significantly affect lower rpm torque deficiencies. You can compare the torque/rpm graphs for the '96-'97 vs. the '98-'00 540i at Dinan's web site (

The V8s got single-VANOS in '99, not '98.

We have a '98 540iA, also now an '00 M5.

I like the 540i a lot, the two cars are more alike than different. But the M5 has a lot more grunt at all speeds.

The other thing to consider, if you don't keep your cars forever, is that money put into aftermarket parts can be considered just about fully depreciated for resale purposes.
Brian C,
I am sure..4.4L introduced in june '96 as the 97 model year. trust me babe....
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