The E39 will require some DIY time. I have a 3 month old myself. I got rid of my '08 Lincoln MKZ which was a 263HP bad ass blk/blk car but had a payment, so I got a paid off E39, which I've been fixing up and will never be perfect. But the quality and type of car, driving etc is what I wanted. Nice Mid-size, MPG friendly RWD, stick shift car with quality interior and quiet ride @ hwy speeds and large brakes. Might as well plan on dumping 2K+ into any E39 you buy unless you buy if off a member or someone you know the history of. I kind of got burned on the amount of crap needing replaced on a 93k/9yr old car. I drove a 225k 1984 Supra's to 2008 and never replaced half the crap my E39 has needed. The magnum is a good size/layout of car but IMO, Mopar makes crap vehicles. V6 Camry will blow the doors off any E39, excpect maybe a M5 or 540. 265HP in a modern car. I know my MKZ was so fast it was stupid. Low 14's in the 1/4 mile. That's equal to my high school 1997 5.7L LT1 Z28 I used to take to the 1/4 mile track. Or do a Turbo Sonata. That's what I really wanted, but all the used ones are 25k+ and new it's a 27k car. Just no old stock yet. I was looking for a under 10k car so I had limits, and used the DIY in my favor vs getting a econo box.
Pros of the E39: mid 20's mpg around town, upper 20's to 30.5mpg on hwy. Quiet at hwy speeds, great handling, brakes dynamic. Interior quality is very high. Good mix of size, sporty and comfort. Good size trunk. RWD.
Cons: Will require extensive work. Cooling system, ABS module, window regulators, Dash & radio pixels etc. Figure $2,000 MIN to get any used unknown E39 up to speed. That's with me doing all my labor too.. so 2k in parts alone or more. my 530i is pretty slow vs the newer cars in traffic. 225hp, and running 89 gas. My MKZ or a V6 Camry or Turbo Sonata would blow the doors off this thing.. but I have a fast car, looking to save money and still enjoy what I drive daily.
If you can commit to the DIY and repairs costs, are hell bent on a RWD then do it. But please do your research b/c I'm a gear head for over 12yrs+ and owned a laundry list of old cars and this is not for a beginner. Or somone living pay check to pay check (not saying you are, but it's not jap reliable)
What I would consider as an alternative before I made my decision:
Hell bent on RWD: New body Dodge Charger in V6 or V8. 4 doors, RWD, good size, newer, cheap to fix. Won't need DIY.
If you are OK with FWD: Lincoln MKZ 2009/10+ are soooooo NICE! Mine was a '08, and was still sweet. V6 Camry. Turbo Sonata. New Fusion looks sick and has some new engines that bring it into the 2010's. Lexus ES. Super quiet, excellent quality, relaible and cheap to fix.
DD: 2003 530i 5spd manual sport package. Conti DWS's, Llumar ATR, White LED lighting. TLC on-going.
Garage queen: '07 335i Sedan, base pkg, 6spd Manual, Procede 3 V5 w/NLS, staggered 18" 313's w/Conti DWS's, OS Giken TCD LSD, VAC Street Diff Cover, Akebono Euro Pads, CDV Removed, Black BMW Grilles, Interior & Exterior white LED lighting, LUX Angel Eyes, Debadged, Llumar ATR Tint.
Last edited by FLE39; 10-21-2012 at 08:30 PM.