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E39 M5 (1998-2003)

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  #1  
Old 11-28-2005, 12:26 PM
atrainmd atrainmd is offline
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Mein Auto: '03 M5 Titanium Silver
'03 M5 vs '06 550

Time to upgrade my old 3 series and I'm looking for some opinions. Assuming I get a very low mileage '03 M5 I'd pay about the same as a new 550 (ED). I plan on using this car as my primary vehicle and will put roughly 20,000 miles a year on it. Any thoughts on the performance and reliability differences between the two? Having never bought a new bmw, how much is the 50k service worth? how about going w/certified pre-owned? Appreciate any comments!! Thanks!

Chris
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2005, 12:56 PM
Stuka Stuka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atrainmd
Time to upgrade my old 3 series and I'm looking for some opinions. Assuming I get a very low mileage '03 M5 I'd pay about the same as a new 550 (ED). I plan on using this car as my primary vehicle and will put roughly 20,000 miles a year on it. Any thoughts on the performance and reliability differences between the two? Having never bought a new bmw, how much is the 50k service worth? how about going w/certified pre-owned? Appreciate any comments!! Thanks!

Chris
I have done quite a bit of research on M5's.

Basically, 00 and 01's have VANOS issues that BMW did a recall on that expired on 12/03. So if you have noisy VANOS, it's anywhere from $800 (for the fix that is no longer free) to $4000 for new VANOS unit.

Make very sure that the valve cover gaskets are not seeping oil in any form, this is $800 per side.

The brakes and rotors for all four wheels together is $1400 in parts.

From what I can gather so far, M5's with 01/2002 build dates should be free of the VANOS issue and the gasket issue.

If the clutch has never been replaced, it will need to be. And the consensus seems to be that the UUC direct replacement clutch last quite a bit longer. If I were to get it, this is what I would get. I am not into spending 3K on the 805csi clutch and flywheel upgrade, as reports on the direct replacement clutch is pretty favorable.

I am still reading the carbon build up issue that cannot be cured by an Italian tune up. It's pretty techincal and my ewyes glazed over the first time that I read it.

01's and on have 16X9 NAV screen, and 03's get DVD NAV. The 01's and on can be converted to DVD NAV for a lot less than 00's.

Bluetooth can be done for around $500 in parts.

Oh, and get Crash Check Paint Thickness Gauge - CC100. Idiots are crashing M5's left and right because of their lack of basic RWD driving skills, and if you are buying a used one, get one of these gauges and run it across all panels of the car. Walk away from any that has repaints.

We are currently waffling amongst E90 325, E90 330, E39 M5, and E46 330.

I will post more thoughts on the carbon build up issue after I have time to read the tech document.

I know Bee loves his E39 M5. Though he did say something crazy about "The king is dead, long live the king" about the E60 M5. Sorry, E60 is way too uglee for me.
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2005, 07:43 PM
BMW_Jim BMW_Jim is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW M5
I love my 2002 M5. It is my third new BMW and my second new M car. It is by far the best car that I have ever owned and I hope to keep it for many more years into the future.

I agree that the newer years are better than the early ones but then who wants to buy the first year or two of any new BMW model. Just look at the issues people are having with the new E60 M5 if you want to see what I mean.

I had a vanos problem and an oxygen sensor go bad and both were fixed under warranty. As far as the clutch is concerned, it really depends on whether the original owner abused their car or was good at using a stick shifter or not. My car has 41,000 miles on it and the clutch is still perfect. There is some talk now on the M5 Board about a carbon issue but it appears to be not that common and usually occurs on very high mileage cars.

Go for it if you find a good one. You will never regret your purchase. It is an awsome Beast and a blast to drive.

Best,

Jim
2002 BMW M5
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  #4  
Old 11-29-2005, 01:45 PM
atrainmd atrainmd is offline
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Mein Auto: '03 M5 Titanium Silver
Thanks for the info! Jim, looks like you put roughly 12,000-15,000 miles on your M5 a year. Do you drive it in the snow? Do you have separate rims w/winter tires? Since you have a similar climate to me I wonder if I should just drive the SUV whenever winter weather threatens. Thanks again for sharing your opinion. I'm still waffling...

Chris
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2005, 07:55 PM
BMW_Jim BMW_Jim is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 BMW M5
Quote:
Originally Posted by atrainmd
Thanks for the info! Jim, looks like you put roughly 12,000-15,000 miles on your M5 a year. Do you drive it in the snow? Do you have separate rims w/winter tires? Since you have a similar climate to me I wonder if I should just drive the SUV whenever winter weather threatens. Thanks again for sharing your opinion. I'm still waffling...

Chris
Hi Chris,

The M5, with a good set of snow tires, is a really great winter car. It was my daily driver for four years and only recently has it been retired to fun use only. I have a second set of wheels mounted with Dunlop snow tires and just switch to them in the fall and then switch back in the spring. You just have to be more conservative driving on the snow tires in dry weather since the Beast has so much power.

The only issue other than the vanos issue and the O2 sensor has been the rear sway bar brackets. It seems like almost every M5 breaks the weak factory brackets, but I replaced my brackets with some from www.beastpower.com (no connection to me) and that has fixed them for good.

Following is some information and quotes from major publications about the M5. I actually copied these from someone on the M5 board and I don't remember who, but I think you may enjoy seeing them:

"The fastest production sedan on the planet."
Road and Track, March 2000

"... the M5 is as close to faultless as any car I've driven. Set the bar as high as you like, this thing will clear it. Unbelievable!
--Jeff Karr - Motor Trend

________________________________________
Specifications
Engine: 5.0 Liter, 90-degree V8, aluminum block and heads
Valve Gear: DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, VANOS continually variable valve timing
Horsepower: 400 @ 6600 RPM
Torque: 369 @ 3800 RPM
Redline: 7000 RPM
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Performance:
(Motor Trend, Road and Track, Car and Driver issues: March 2000) The M5's performance, compared to any production vehicle, is nothing short of stunning. Compared to any other 4 door sedan in the world, it is simply unmatched.
0-60mph: 4.7 seconds (faster than a '00 Corvette)
0-100 mph: 11.4 seconds (faster than a Jaguar XKR)
0-100-0 mph: 15.8 seconds (unmatched by any production sedan)
Quarter Mile: 13.2 seconds at 107.4 mph (quicker than an Aston Martin DB7 Vantage Volante)
Top Speed: 157mph (limited); approx 187mph with limiter removed (faster than Ford SVT Mustang Cobra R).
Braking: 60-0mph: 129 feet; 70-0mph: 156 feet (shorter than a Porsche 911 Carrera 4)
Cornering - 300' skidpad: 0.90g (better than a Ferrari F355 Spider)
Slalom: 64.7 mph (faster than A Lamborghini Diablo)
________________________________________
More Quotes
"... the best and most consistently enjoyable sport sedan the world has ever known."
Motor Trend, March 2000

"On the track, the M5 is hunkered down and grips the asphalt with confidence and composure. The instant-on electronic throttle response and the precise manual gearbox will bring a smile to any driver."
Road and Track, March 2000

"For people who love cars, the M5 is quite simply the most desireable sedan in the world at any price. What more can we say?"
Car and Driver, March 2000

"Without sounding like a broken record, this is the one car to beat, faster, sharper, not to mention safer, and more luxurious then anything on the market, the best sports sedan in the world then, the best sports sedan now, and maybe even forever."
Motor Week

"The new BMW M5 is simply the best."
European Car, June 2000

This says it all. Now you know why every M5 driver has a big smile on his face.

Jim
2002 BMW M5
2002 Lexus SC430
2006 Lexus RX400h Hybrid
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2005, 09:12 PM
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KevinM KevinM is offline
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Mein Auto: '02 M5, Sterling Gray
About a 1.5 years ago I was trying to make my mind up between a used E39 M5 and a E60 545 6-speed. At that time, the CPO'd 2002+ M5s were very close in price to a new 545. I spent a good deal of time driving a 545 with the sports package. While the 550 has a few more horses the overall driving experience is likely to be similar. Looks and idrive aside (which are in the end personal preferences) the cars cannot be more different in feel or spirit.

The 545 is fast, modern, slick, certainly a wonderful car. I wasn't so sure about active steering but of course now that is a separate option from the sports package. The steering is wonderful, the power smooth. NOTHING at all like the M5, which is like...well, like an M car should be. 0-60 times aside, this thing feels like a monster; it demands your driving attention. I cannot fully describe it. The 545 felt like a number of competent, very fast, wonderful cars; the M5, nothing like I had ever driven (coming from a 528 and then a 530).

In the end, they are both wonderful cars but I think they will appeal to very different audiences. You really can't go wrong...what do YOU want?

A few points on the M5. The clutch is certainly a few inches too small, but if you drive it right, it can last a long time. I have 33K on mine, and there is absolutely NO slip (yet!). I do make sure I never really floor the gas until the clutch is fully engaged. It simply will not hold up to that amount of torque if you are flooring it without the clutch being fully engaged.

In terms of the carbon issue, I would not let that stand in your way. I have been following this issue with great interest in terms of prevention. This issue has affected all recent BMW 8 cylinder engines - E38 (7 Series), E39 (5 series) E53 (X5) and Z8 with the M62TU or S62 Engine (according to the service bulletin for the problem). Only a few cars are affected in each case. Still, no one knows why it occurs on some cars or how to prevent it. Thus the large interest (including mine) at m5board.com. We are making noise because we care about our cars. Sor far, mostly high mileage, high oil consuming MY 2000s are affected, although there are exceptions. There was a piston design change and most later cars consume much less oil...time will tell. In anycase, the issue is with the secondary air flow system and with emssions on cold start up only; it has no effect on performance.

I suggest you drive both as much as you can as you may love one and not the other!

Good luck, let us know what you decide.
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2005, 04:55 PM
CSBM5 CSBM5 is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 M5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuka
Basically, 00 and 01's have VANOS issues that BMW did a recall on that expired on 12/03. So if you have noisy VANOS, it's anywhere from $800 (for the fix that is no longer free) to $4000 for new VANOS unit.
The VANOS accumulator replacement was specific to some 2000 model M5's from what I recall...doesn't apply to 2001's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuka
We are currently waffling amongst E90 325, E90 330, E39 M5, and E46 330.
Wow, the M5 stands out dramatically from that selection of cars. I have both an 01 M5 and an 03 330i ZHP. The 330i handles very nicely and fits the bill for what it is supposed to be and all, but there is no comparison between it and the M5. Driving them back-to-back makes you REALLY appreciate the power in the M5. The M5 spoils you real quick. It is also a much more comfortable car to drive than the ZHP. Crazy as it sounds, we may be replacing my wife's V70R with an E90 330i with a 6-spd stick since she likes that car very much after driving it (and the V70R has some major issues).

Chuck
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2005, 11:52 AM
atrainmd atrainmd is offline
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Thanks for the input! I spent some time this weekend driving two different '03 M5's and a new 545. My local dealer didn't have a 6 spd. 550 for me to take out yet. For me its no contest, I will be buying an M5 shortly. Now its just a question of buying through the dealer or through a private party. The car I want at the dealership is CPO and has about 1 year left (miles not an issue) on the original 4 yr/50k warranty. Same story with the private seller except no extended warranty. I'm guesing the extra 2 years or 50k is worth about $3000.

About the only thing I don't like about the M5 is the short clutch. Wish it was just a little longer... Can't wait to be driving it!!!

Thanks for posting and helping me make what turned out to be an easy decision!

Chris
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