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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-28-2013, 03:35 PM
ATJonesy ATJonesy is offline
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M5 or CTS-V. Honest opinions.

I drive a '97 540i/6 with 140k miles. Absolutely love the car, but it hasn't been very reliable. I knew that getting into an old BMW. I don't mind the repairs like a new cooling system or MAF sensor. But I'm afraid a big problem like tranny failure is not too far off...

I'm thinking of an '01 or newer M5, or an '04 or newer Cadillac CTS-V. I've found several of each in my price range, both with 120 to 160k miles.

Honestly, I would rather have the M5, just because I think it's a better car all around, but I'm worried about reliability. My E39 has been far from reliable. The same can be said of our family's '07 GTI and '12 Panamera 4S.

I have no experience with the CTS-V, so I can't speak of its reliability.

However, my dad just traded in an '06 GMC Sierra with 210k miles that has never had a major mechanical issue in its life. Before the Panamera, he drove a Buick Enclave that was also bulletproof. In fact, after the Panamera overheated on a trip to Florida (with 40k miles), my dad started driving the GMC, because he trusted it more than the Porsche.

What I'm trying to say is our GM products have been incredibly reliable cars, and our German cars haven't. But we keep buying them because they're just better cars in general.

I want your honest opinion/experience on the reliability of the E39 M5. It's the car I really want, but I don't know if I have the time/money to sink several grand into it every year.
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  #2  
Old 08-28-2013, 04:22 PM
Occfreak32 Occfreak32 is offline
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M5 or CTS-V. Honest opinions.

I'm not going to pretend to have any knowledge on a CTS-V but from what I understand, any high performance machine will demand more TLC(read "money")

Also, I haven't heard many trans failure stories for the 6 speeds.


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  #3  
Old 08-28-2013, 04:42 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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You already know that the M5 will probably need TLC $$. How much will be a coin flip.

The CTS-V, from what I've heard (a mechanic friend and the cousin of another friend have one) and from what I've read is pretty robust. I recall that Motor Trend did a long term test last year and literally nothing went wrong. The test included several trips to the drag strip.

Here's a link - http://www.edmunds.com/cadillac/cts-...liability.html

Having said that, the M5 is a sexy beast. The CTS-V is just a beast.
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  #4  
Old 08-28-2013, 04:52 PM
edjack edjack is offline
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... and an ugly one, to boot.
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  #5  
Old 08-28-2013, 05:10 PM
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MikesE39 MikesE39 is offline
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All I have to say is no one can tell an 04 cts-v from a normal 04 crappy CTS... it looks bad... its fast as hell. but crappy overall. iv sat in one and I gotta tell you... doesn't feel any different from a normal cts, besides the fact that its faster... sit in an M5... and you know what your sitting in is a special car. When people see that M5 badge... respect. 2004 CTS-V wont get a second look.
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  #6  
Old 08-28-2013, 05:33 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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a Northstar would just be about the worst thing you could ever do.. you might as well sell your wife to the neighbor (thats a good comparison)
140 is young

400 is old...
im at 190 on my m62 and shes tighter now then when she was 120 old Thee m5 is the same as your driveing now.. except multiply everything by 5 for a accurate price on maintenance

and boy do i love how the Porsche owners ass's explode when they see the price..
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  #7  
Old 08-28-2013, 06:48 PM
GreenTiger GreenTiger is offline
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Mildly surprised to hear that the Panamera is unreliable. I guess Porsche's top ranking a few years ago was due to their H6 cars.

E39 M5 all day. The only good thing about GM cars is the LS V8. Nothing else.
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  #8  
Old 08-28-2013, 06:55 PM
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Jose3081 Jose3081 is offline
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M5 or CTS-V. Honest opinions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikesE39 View Post
All I have to say is no one can tell an 04 cts-v from a normal 04 crappy CTS... it looks bad... its fast as hell. but crappy overall. iv sat in one and I gotta tell you... doesn't feel any different from a normal cts, besides the fact that its faster... sit in an M5... and you know what your sitting in is a special car. When people see that M5 badge... respect. 2004 CTS-V wont get a second look.
I agree the cts-v is nice but you canny compare it with an m5. I will get my hands on one those after I get bored of the 540i. And almost any performance car will need maintance


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  #9  
Old 08-28-2013, 07:10 PM
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  #10  
Old 08-28-2013, 07:34 PM
FutureFuzz 26 FutureFuzz 26 is offline
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I own a Cadillac. (02 escalade) and I would take my 2000 528i 7 days a week over it, and the Bimmer doesn't even run yet.

Not that I have ever had any issues from the escalade (148k) other than hubs, waterpump, and fuel pump. I just feel like the engineering of the BMW is FAR superior to my Chevy truck with expensive logos
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  #11  
Old 08-28-2013, 11:11 PM
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LaCrosse540i6 LaCrosse540i6 is offline
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Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
a Northstar would just be about the worst thing you could ever do.. .
*LS6

Huge difference..
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  #12  
Old 08-28-2013, 11:23 PM
Asbradley21 Asbradley21 is offline
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I've seen a low-miles well maintained CTS-V drop a control arm at an autocross. It wasn't pretty.
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  #13  
Old 08-28-2013, 11:26 PM
GreenTiger GreenTiger is offline
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i would never own anything built by government motors out of principle.
+1
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  #14  
Old 08-29-2013, 12:25 AM
tcbDE tcbDE is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaCrosse540i6 View Post
*LS6

Huge difference..
IMO if you look at a Caddy, I would suggest look at the later ones, as the early ones had the 5.7 L LS6 (C5 Z06 engine) and 2006-2007 had the 6.0 L LS2. More displacement and the broader torque curve of the LS2 is good, plus it is a slightly newer iteration of the LS.

As I assume you can't afford an LSA-equipped 2009+ CTS-V, I would probably enjoy an E39 M5 more for quality, style and engineering reasons. Even if it needs more upkeep.
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  #15  
Old 08-29-2013, 12:54 AM
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M5 or CTS-V. Honest opinions.

M5 all day.


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  #16  
Old 08-29-2013, 02:01 AM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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Look

I love my BMW's I have 2 and both of my boys own one...

BMW set the bar pretty high with the ///M5 and one of the very few in fact the only sedan to beat it around the ring is CTS-V. GM may be referred to as Government Motors but they certainly know how to build cars...no one could take that from them.

Were I in the same boat...The V would be in my driveway...

Good Luck with your choice...which ever you may choose.
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  #17  
Old 08-29-2013, 02:12 AM
Nfs021 Nfs021 is online now
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Re: M5 or CTS-V. Honest opinions.

Yeah the more recent 2009+ CTS-V's with the ZR1 engine are pretty wickedly sick and badass. The older ones are...meh. I love my 540i, but I would trade it in a split second for the M5 if I had the money. The E39 M5 will always be the best 5 series ever....PERIOD!

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  #18  
Old 08-29-2013, 09:34 AM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSXRYDER View Post
BMW set the bar pretty high with the ///M5 and one of the very few in fact the only sedan to beat it around the ring is CTS-V. GM may be referred to as Government Motors but they certainly know how to build cars...no one could take that from them.
+1 The common theme is to knock GM but some of their cars over the past 5 yrs are world class. Just drive a Caddy ATS with a 3.6 to see what I mean, it will out-handle my 530 which I used to think was the pinnacle sedan. An ATS would be in my driveway now if it wasn't for the work-in-progress CUE system.

I would guess that owning an M5 would be a bit like dating a drug addict supermodel. Exciting as hell but when it has a problem - run for the hills!!
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Old 08-29-2013, 09:41 AM
tcbDE tcbDE is offline
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Originally Posted by nfs021 View Post
yeah the more recent 2009+ cts-v's with the zr1 engine are pretty wickedly sick and badass.
lsa (cts-v & zl1) != ls9 (zr1)

Last edited by tcbDE; 08-29-2013 at 09:43 AM.
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  #20  
Old 08-29-2013, 11:03 AM
crazy4trains crazy4trains is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ATJonesy View Post

What I'm trying to say is our GM products have been incredibly reliable cars, and our German cars haven't. But we keep buying them because they're just better cars in general.
Better? Interesting conclusion based on your statement. I think you already answered the question for yourself. Just depends on what is important to you.
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  #21  
Old 08-29-2013, 11:34 AM
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Studawg Studawg is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSXRYDER View Post
GM may be referred to as Government Motors but they certainly know how to build cars...no one could take that from them.
The quality of the materials they use is inferior to Ford. I see 2 year old Tahoes with lights burnt out and the control buttons worn off inside all the time, broken trim everywhere, etc... The sheet metal is thin and will dent if you look at it wrong. They are just cheap. Ford builds a much better vehicle.


Id take an M5 over a Cadillac anyday.
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  #22  
Old 08-29-2013, 11:56 AM
GSXRYDER GSXRYDER is offline
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Seroiusly?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Studawg View Post
The quality of the materials they use is inferior to Ford. I see 2 year old Tahoes with lights burnt out and the control buttons worn off inside all the time, broken trim everywhere, etc... The sheet metal is thin and will dent if you look at it wrong. They are just cheap. Ford builds a much better vehicle.


Id take an M5 over a Cadillac anyday.
How many plastic parts on BMW's? How many subframe bushings, radiators? Ive got a 92 silverado with the original radiator...give me a break! I like the German car of course...But to imply GM parts are inferior is just plain Bull$hit!
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  #23  
Old 08-29-2013, 12:00 PM
Burning2nd Burning2nd is offline
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Because there is are just so many Gm's rolling around out there with more then 200k on em
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  #24  
Old 08-29-2013, 04:54 PM
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bkgreene39 bkgreene39 is offline
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GM is trying thats for sure.

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  #25  
Old 08-29-2013, 05:28 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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A head to head between the BMW 335, MB C350 & the Caddy ATS 3.6.

Spoiler - despite the CUE system, the Caddy wins as a driver's car.
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