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#1 (permalink) Old 03-20-2007, 11:42 PM
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used cars: 540i versus M5

Hello all,
My lease is up on my current car in a couple of months (don't ask what) and I'm in the market for something a little faster. I've narrowed it down to a 540 or M5, but I'm not sure if it's worth it to pay the $10k premium that an M5 seems to command over a 540 with the same mileage. I've always wanted the M, but that's a lot of $$$. My budget is $30K max, but in reality I'd really like to keep it to $25k. That puts me at a 540 with 50-60k miles, or an M with 80-100k miles. I'm also considering getting a higher mileage 540 and putting the money I savce in the bank for repairs. So what would you do?
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#2 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 12:08 AM
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With your budget, go for the 540. The M5 has some pricey maintenance attached to it, especially at higher mileage.



1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.

1995 E38 740i. Highly modded. Faster than you.

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#3 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 12:21 PM
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Can't really compare the 540i to an M5 in performance tho. I have 2 friends that drive 540i's and well.... they tried to keep up with me once.. It's sorta like putting a Ducati next to a VW bug.

Just because the M5 is built on the E39 chassis... that's pretty much where the similarity ends.
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#4 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevize
Can't really compare the 540i to an M5 in performance tho. I have 2 friends that drive 540i's and well.... they tried to keep up with me once.. It's sorta like putting a Ducati next to a VW bug.

Just because the M5 is built on the E39 chassis... that's pretty much where the similarity ends.
That is definitely true.

On the other hand, he could get a nice low mileage example of a 540, have it for a long time, and supercharge it--and suddenly would have more than M5 power and torque.



1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.

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Sold 2-28-07: 1997 E36 M3/4, 8-30-05 RIP 1997 528i


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#5 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 08:56 PM
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by M3UOND
On the other hand, he could get a nice low mileage example of a 540, have it for a long time, and supercharge it--and suddenly would have more than M5 power and torque.

True and nothing wrong with that. Still doesn't have the M5 suspension, breaks, exhaust, and a married of other stuff. Nothing wrong with that per say.

Back to the original question though, it's a matter of what can be afforded. Me personally, I'd take the high mileage M5 over a 540i though. I own an E39 M5 with 68k miles on it and honestly the cost to maintain/repair has been minimal and in the case of one of my friends 540i I've spent a lot less. But you can't really take 1 M5 owner compared to 1 540i owner. Statistically, ya the M5 does cost more to repair, but then again these cars are fairly seriously built and at this point the issues with E39 M5's are all well known. So, looking at any used M5 with miles and take a good look at the service record and you should have a pretty good idea what needs to be fixed or at least what will need to be fixed soon.

That said, I've found very nicely (as in cheep) priced M5's even on eBay. Around 22k to 25k. Given the posters 30k budget that leaves around 5k to put into repairs.

Another question I would have is, is this car going to be a daily driver? Weekend fun car? Weekend race car? All of the above? Mine is a summer time only BMW CCA event fun car and I also drive it on nice days. It is garaged all winter and never sees snow and rarely does it see rain. So obviously my maintenance cost is very different. If it was a daily driver, right off the bat I'd be buying tires more frequently for example. However... maybe not... BMW CCA goes through tires pretty quick and I'm buying fairly pricey tires at that.

Anyway, I'd still go with the M5. Mostly cause, it's sooooooo much fun and every 540i driver just drools for a chance to go for a ride in it. I'd really hate to be that 540i driver wishing and wishing I spent a few more dollars to get THE Ultimate driving machine.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking with it!
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#6 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Current rides:
1999 E39 540i/6-Dinan exhaust, strut+shock tower braces, software-H&R Springs-Koni Sport Shocks-.....
Just noticed your tag line. So this is a good question for you. After all the money you've spent on your 540i how does it compare to an M5. And I mean that honestly, not as any kind of snide remark. Also, if you were to do it all again today given what it cost to do all those mod to a 540i would you rather instead spend it on an E39 M5. My guess is the M5 would be less money and in the end still be quicker. Even at that you can spend the money saved on the M5.

Not saying what you've done is a bad thing. I've seen many posts from you and I'm certain your 540i is wicked fun.
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#7 (permalink) Old 03-21-2007, 10:38 PM
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Thanks for the input. If I get the 540, it's unlikely I'll ever do much in the way of mods. I'll just buy another car with more performance at some point in the future.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevize
Another question I would have is, is this car going to be a daily driver? Weekend fun car? Weekend race car? All of the above?
It's going to be a daily driver year-round. Right now I work from home 3 days a week so it would only see a commute twice a week of 75 miles round trip. I can also pick the days so if there's a bad snow storm I can stay home and not put the 400 hp to the test in snow, though I will get snow tires for it in the winter for all 4 wheels.
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#8 (permalink) Old 03-22-2007, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trevize
Just noticed your tag line. So this is a good question for you. After all the money you've spent on your 540i how does it compare to an M5. And I mean that honestly, not as any kind of snide remark. Also, if you were to do it all again today given what it cost to do all those mod to a 540i would you rather instead spend it on an E39 M5. My guess is the M5 would be less money and in the end still be quicker. Even at that you can spend the money saved on the M5.

Not saying what you've done is a bad thing. I've seen many posts from you and I'm certain your 540i is wicked fun.
Because of the kind of mileage that I put on my car, an M5 wasn't really an option. The M5 motor is wicked cool. However, that naturally aspirated beast is rather high-strung. Since Sept. 20 when I bought my 540 from Eric S (another member on this board), I have put about 25,000 miles on it. In an M5, that would have cost me at least a VANOS unit and likely some other gasket work and God knows what else.

At the moment, of course the M5 is faster. It's just plain got more power. However, a low-boost supercharger is on the way In terms of handling however, I'm superior to an unmodified M5 for less money, that thanks to Eric S.

Doubt not, I dream of having an M5. Fortunately, I'm in the position that I could afford one--either an E39 or an E60. Unfortunately, my driving habits just don't justify it.



1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.

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Sold 2-28-07: 1997 E36 M3/4, 8-30-05 RIP 1997 528i


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#9 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 11:45 PM
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I own and drive both..and have for many years. They are apples and oranges in my view..but only as to performance. Maintenance has run just about the same for both cars (within a grand over three years)...typical E39 stuff. Now I would tell someone considering an E39 M5 that you will put clutches in your Beast every 40K or so....but that is a consumable to a Beast owner and not maintenance; you will get twice that much life out of 540i-6 clutch..same unit but the torque of the M eats it alive. As to others commenting that aftermarket springs, shocks and monoballs on a 540 make it handle better than a stock M, I think track experience will tell you that in truth it takes a coilover setup to make a difference that most of us amateurs could ever discern..but that is just my opinion. Monoballs are not necessary if you have fresh bushings at least on an M unless you are running a big brake kit...and that setup does benefit from monoballs to stop shimmy. I really respect the restraint of the gentleman that commented that although he could afford an E60 M car, he makes the practical choice to drive a ten year old supercharged car instead...I could not, and have not, exercised that type of fiscal restraint given the choice...ever.
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#10 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 11:54 PM
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you cant beat the coolness factor of having an m5. you just dont see them everyday...

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#11 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 11:58 PM
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+1

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#12 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by HpizKing View Post
I really respect the restraint of the gentleman that commented that although he could afford an E60 M car, he makes the practical choice to drive a ten year old supercharged car instead...I could not, and have not, exercised that type of fiscal restraint given the choice...ever.
"Restraint" isn't how my accountant phrases it ;-)



1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.

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#13 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 04:14 PM
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^ if i was in your postion.... I would be pulling The M5 out of a dicth... not the 740.... but the M5 would have been upside down 20 feet into the ditch.... and not 2 feet in.... thats why i decided againest it.... and decided to put the Money in to th 635 and not get The M....

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