when did you realize you 'had to have' an e39? - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

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

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-19-2013, 04:51 PM
mhobryan mhobryan is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Metro Detroit
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 205
Mein Auto: 1997 528i 5 speed
when did you realize you 'had to have' an e39?

What was your aha moment?

Mine was a little over a year ago I was out car shopping, and on a lark, test drove a 2000 525i 5 speed. clutch was slipping, there was some suspension clunks going on, and had a faint whiff of coolant when i turned on the heat. Needless to say, I passed.

I then went to the VW dealer and test drove a brand new CC 5 speed. I've been lusting after these cars every since they came out.... love the styling on them; just been waiting for the used ones to depreciate below the $20k mark. The test drive made up my mind; still preferred the POS E39 that I had test drove earlier. That is what started my hunt in earnest.

What about you folks?
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2013, 05:14 PM
thecushion thecushion is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: NE,Arkansas
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,086
Mein Auto: 02 540i,09 X5d
Mine was when I had an 89 325is "E30" and I kept seeing the E39 model....I could never keep my eyes off and would always say "I'm gonna get one of those one day" When my money got right I knew what I wanted all the way to the color. The only thing I didn't get was heated seats. Been in love since ever owning one
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2013, 05:22 PM
matt540's Avatar
matt540 matt540 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Michigan
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,397
Mein Auto: 2000 DINAN 540, 1983 745
In 2008 i test drove my 2000 540, and drove it off the lot the next day. I guess you can say love at first test drive.

2000 Dinan 540 Dinan F&R strut tower brace, M5 F&R sway bars, Koni Sports, Eibach springs, Powerflex polyurethane bushings, Dinan stage 2 engine software, Stage 1 trans software, Zionsville cooling kit, resonator delete, Dinan exhaust, Dinan TB, AFE cai, 18" style 5's, 235/40/18 275/35/18, Ultimate cup holders, rear cup holder delete/coin holder, Hella taillights, clear sides, Depo AE, M5 spoiler
1983 745 turbo, style 138 wheels
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2013, 05:39 PM
kapetajr kapetajr is offline
Registered User
Location: Ontario
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 36
Mein Auto: '91 Soarer / '00 E39 540i
Had my e34 for about 5 months when the clutch went out, I was considering getting another e34 but could find one that hadn't started rusting. Decided it was time to move up the chain looked at a bunch of 540's but some where more than I wanted to spend on a Daily Driver. Boredom and frustration lead to look at my current 528i with services records and everything that I wanted (shadowline, style 5s, black interior, 5spd) test drove it and bought it 2 days later.
2015 E84 x128i
2000 540i/6
1991 Toyota Soarer (the neglected one)
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2013, 05:54 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Toronto
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 286
Mein Auto: 530
I was driving a Passat when a friend bought a 525 and let me take it out for a spin. I was smitten immediately and vowed to try and get one. In '03 the last of the E39's was being delivered and the local dealership was offering a significant discount in addition to a healthy factory rebate on 530's. I thought "it's now or never". It took a lot to persuade my wife to agree and I had to promise that it would be a 10 year car.

It's been over 10 yrs and I still look forward to driving this lovely machine. Thanks partially to DIY, the car has been surprisingly inexpensive to own. I hope the day when it becomes uneconomical to keep is a long way off.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2013, 06:01 PM
helpmyfive helpmyfive is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Ada Michigan
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 432
Mein Auto: 528i
I totaled my Mitsubishi Diamante and needed a car fast. I drove through my small town used car lot when my wife spotted a black on black (on black tinted windows) E39 with Style 5 wheels. She says "that's a nice car". I obviously said "you're damn right it is. No way it will be in our price range". The car was listed for $7k. I thought it would have been higher. I took it for a spin and didn't buy it. I was reluctant to buy a car I didn't know anything about. I took it to the dealer who inspected it and said it needed $7500 in repairs. I called the lot back and said "I'm bringing it back, this thing just isn't worth it". After several attempts to drop the price he finally got down to $5500. I bought it and since put 120k miles on it. Yeah, I wanted it the moment I drove it. But the angel on my other shoulder told me to run the other way. Now, three years later, I still can't part with it. It's giving me minor trouble monthly but it's STILL SUCH AN INCREDIBLE CAR! My wife has a 97 Accord that is practically like new. It hasn't had ANY problems aside from a radiator and drive shafts in 228k miles. It just isn't a BMW though.

I guess I'm sadistic.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2013, 06:19 PM
FiveDriver's Avatar
FiveDriver FiveDriver is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Charleston, SC
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 239
Mein Auto: 1999 528i Blue/Tan
I had an Acura 3.2TL that needed an awful lot of scheduled maintenance (timing belt, brakes, tires, trans yada yada). I just didn't feel a $2500 commitment to that car. I started looking around on Craiglist and Cars.com.......just to get an idea of what kind of used car was available at my price point. Acura -- not again. Lexus -- been there, done that. Porsche -- had one with a 5-speed and didn't feel like rowing the shifter around town again.

The Bimmer Photos on Craiglist were quite appealing. But what model ???? 3-series was too small. The 7-series was too big. But the 5-series was just right.
But what year ?? Go with something too old and you were missing out on some of the technological advances of the late 90's. Get one too new and you were paying a hefty premium. The e39 was right in the sweet spot.
But what color ?? Everything that came up For Sale was either Gunmetal Grey or Jet Black.....all nice colors but very common. I liked the darker color, but not the Black. And the Tan Interior with the Wood Grain Accent was very warm, that was a Must-Have.

I looked at a Burgundy 540 but that unit was pretty beat up, and it stayed on Craigs for months with the price dropping every few weeks. There was a Black & Tan for sale in one of the seedier neighborhoods in Brooklyn that just didn't sound right. There was an Oxford Green 530 down in Burlington county, but that car made some strange noises.....though it was a nice ride. I found an Orient Blue/Tan 2003 530 that was a dream car. But I played my negotiation hand a little too strong on that one, thinking that Cash was King. Lost out.

After about 6 months of looking at spoiled interiors or botched-up suspension "upgrades" I had just about resigned myself to fixing the Acura and driving it another few years. But, I swear to Goodness, the Chevy Dealer right in town had taken in a 1999 528 as a Trade-in for a big new Suburban. Biarritz Blue with the Tan Interior and under 80K miles. I don't think the Dealer had it long enough to really understand what he had there. I called the Salesman on a Saturday, sounding like an out of the area buyer (even though the Chevy Dealer was less than 2 miles from my house). He sent me the CarFax (clean) and with the VIN Number (well equipped). I went to the Dealer that same Saturday Afternoon with my Acura Bill of Sale and took the Bimmer for a nice long test drive.

It just felt Right.

I made the guy a low-ball offer that included my recently-waxed Acura. I let him negotiate me up a few bucks. Agreed to a price that covered any unforeseen problems and drove that Bad Boy home in time for Saturday Dinner.

Last edited by FiveDriver; 03-21-2013 at 07:30 AM. Reason: spelling
Reply With Quote
Old 03-19-2013, 11:57 PM
esilvas esilvas is offline
Registered User
Location: Converse, TX
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 79
Mein Auto: 2001 540i
Like so many other things in my life, I just got lucky to own my 540i. I just started a new job across town. At we live 5 mins from my wife's job, she drove the family van and I drove her Accord. After a while, I told her to drive the Accord since she is needs to be visit with city officials and business leaders. I drove the van. After a few months, she told me we needed another car. I wasn't getting rid of the van, so the new car had to be cheap and better on gas.

I set out.

After looking around and having economical American cars for most of my life, I decided it was time to get something I would love to drive. I settled on a 5 series. Here is where the luck comes in - I knew nothing about BMWs and just picked the best manual drive car I could find. Dumb? I don't know. But, it has turned out great. Other than the valve cover gasket I need to do this weekend (typical e39, I know), my efforts have been routine maintenance.

I love driving this car and want to keep it as long as it will run. I get about 22MPG, which is not bad for a V8. It definitely beats driving the family van to work.
Just looking to have some fun while enjoying the ride.

'01 540i 6-Speed
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 02:08 AM
demas demas is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,402
Mein Auto: F10 550i M-Sport
Had my sights on the E39 circa 1998 soon after I purchased my E36. Traded that in for a new E39 in 2002. Wasn't long before I moved to a 530 and after a 4 year stint, traded that for a 540.

If BMW still sold the E39, I'd have no hesitation buying one new again.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 03:01 AM
radd radd is offline
Registered User
Location: Jakarta
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 60
Mein Auto: e39
I used to drive E34 for 10 years or so... after ten years with a same baby you know you need an upgrade
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 08:13 AM
Ed Cheung Ed Cheung is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Hong Kong
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 338
Mein Auto: E39
I just need a daily driver back then, that's why I got a 528 first, then just fall in love with it, simple and everything just fall into the the right place(except the cupholder). Then switch to a 540, planning to swap to a MT-6 in a few months, Can't do it now as need to save up a bit, as spend a lot of money on tires, wheels, front / rear lights, bumpers, overhaul the suspension and maintenance. The car cost me 2.5K and I already spent another 9K on parts to keep it in top shape.
96 528i AT w/steptronic. => 97 540i w/ steptronic. =>steptronic deleted, 6MT installed.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 09:32 AM
jygesq jygesq is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Bloomfield, CT
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,320
Mein Auto: 2015 Audi S4. BMW is gone
when I saw the car parked at dealer in primo parking space. Nov 1999 Brand new 2000 528 MT titanium silver, grey leather. It was the BBS wheels that did it 13 years later and 74k miles on the car, original owner , I have had issues, MOST fixed under warranty or good willed repaired. So far only costly fixes was thermostat ($500 at dealer) Misdiagnosed ABS , cost me $600 for 2 wheel sensors, most likely not required, but dealer good willed a new ABS module. Replaced FSU for parts cost myself. Third FSU in car original and warranty replacement. 3 rd one new style is seems to last. Dealer replaced vanos after warranty period long expired for $50 CPO co pay. I did not have CPO nor was car CPO. cup holders front replaced two times, paid only once, rear cup holders bad, have not bothered.

Last edited by jygesq; 03-20-2013 at 09:34 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 10:42 AM
AnotherGeezer's Avatar
AnotherGeezer AnotherGeezer is offline
Entwicklung 39
Location: ManchVegas, New Hampster
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 4,123
Mein Auto: 2003 530i/5
When I saw how ugly the E60 was and realized the classic BMW lines were never going to return.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 12:57 PM
Studawg's Avatar
Studawg Studawg is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: SC
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 259
Mein Auto: 2003 540iT M Sport
Originally Posted by AnotherGeezer View Post
When I saw how ugly the E60 was and realized the classic BMW lines were never going to return.
I actually think the E60 is ok, but I know what you mean. No 3s after the E46. No 7s after the E38. No Xs period. F10, And I wouldnt be caught dead in that 535 GT or whatever its called. I know Bangle is gone, but I think some of his designs are still around. There is no BMW built today that doesnt have a better-looking Mercedes Benz counterpart.
2003 540iT M Sport, Black Sapphire Metallic/Black leather, CWP, DSP, rear shades, Climate Comfort windshield
1988 325i 4dr/ 5Sp, Lachssilber Metallic/Black Leather
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 02:19 PM
Quantumlogic Quantumlogic is offline
Registered User
Location: Las Vegas
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 2
Mein Auto: 2003 BMW 530i Auto
Arrow 2003 530i 80k, Acquire Date - 03/07/13

What a thread to start posting on here... Hi Guys,

Friend from office called from merc dealer at 9 p.m., hey you always wanted to buy my car, I am trading it in you can have it for the trade in price. I said 'YES' without even remembering the model number or the miles or the current condition, I did drive it about 4 years back and had a fond memory. Next day morning ready with a check in hand got the immaculate, 530i Auto, Slate Green, with over 10k :-) spent on seats and windows and sunroof and led cluster at dealer in last 6 years.

2003, 530i, 80k miles, all original, I am loving it, just completed the cooling overhaul, front brakes, seat twists. ;-) the usual, now time to have some fun driving it and then tighten up the suspension, thinking of changing out front control arms.

Also reading on what else I can do to make it go another 10 years or atleast 150k miles.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 02:26 PM
Runner303 Runner303 is offline
Registered User
Location: GTA
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 17
Mein Auto: 03 540i/6
It was back in 2005 for me. On a lark, went into one of those somewhat shady "fine cars" type dealerships located in a unit in an industrial plaza full of off lease Audi, Benz and bimmers nearing the end of their warranties. Sat in an E46 coupe (neighbour had one that i kinda dug), head bounced off headliner (damn sunroof) so that was the end of that. Salesperson directed me to an e39 540, Black and Tan, and I spent a long time sitting in that car as it fit like a glove. Walked away though as timing wasn't right when i thought it through - lived in a dense neighbourhood right in the city at the time and needed something I could leave parked on the street and bomb around in traffic without worrying about it so I got a Jeep wrangler, it was perfect!

Fast forward 5 years and having just bought a house a little further out with a garage, it was time to make things happen with an e39. This Topaz 2003 6speed m sport appeared on my favourite buy and sell website, almost like magic. After a short test drive, i was hooked. An extra 5 years of depreciation helped too.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 02:32 PM
collardgreens's Avatar
collardgreens collardgreens is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: rochester NY
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 251
Mein Auto: 01 540/6
I was test driving some cars in my twenties. I had my heart set on a 95' maxima 5 Spd.
While shopping around, i seen a 96' or 97' 540i manual. I couldn't afford the car at the time but took it for a test drive anyway...that short 10 minutes left a lasting impression on me.

I never did get the maxima, I test drove a couple after the e39 and everything else drove like crap compared to the e39.
Soon as I had the chance I nabbed an 01' 540i this however wasn't untill several years after my initial test drive.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2013, 04:29 PM
Jim Rolando Jim Rolando is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Missoula, Montana
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,021
Mein Auto: 1999 528i
I knew I wanted one when I read the first review of the new model in Road and Track or some magazine and then saw my first one on the street. But, I had to wade through a bunch of kids, vans and Camrys before I got there.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2013, 12:38 AM
mjalloul11's Avatar
mjalloul11 mjalloul11 is offline
BMW forever
Location: Lebanon
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,052
Mein Auto: 1996 528i 1999 MB C240
++1 on the magazine Car and Driver. then saw my first on on the street, a white 523 with hubcaps! compared to a honda accord it felt smaller inside, but the ride was amazing .I bought my ride from a friend who spared nothing on serves or parts and with only 135000 km, it is a Great car
Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2013, 12:47 AM
jdodds jdodds is offline
Registered User
Location: Orem, UT
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 7
Mein Auto: 01 Dinan 5 540iA
When I was returning from a deployment last year, I figured it would be a good idea to get a daily driver so I could tear into my DSM without any time constraints, or have to worry about breaking it at the track and being out of a car. Initially, I just wanted a decent 4 door for under 8k, and was considering a few different E46's around that price. After exploring a few more options, I found my current car listed on a local classifieds site for $8k. After spending about an hour looking over the car, I talked the owner down to $7k, and handed her the cash a few minutes later. It needed some minor work, but since I'm a mechanic of 10+ years, I wasnt worried about it. My biggest complaints about these cars is the price of parts compared to any others Ive owned. Still very satisfied with buying it though.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2013, 03:36 AM
mitek mitek is offline
Registered User
Location: Canada
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 58
Mein Auto: 2002 BMW 540I 6spd
Back in 1999 I was a poor student in Canada struggling to learn English while a friend of mine, although also struggling with English, had enough money to buy a brand new 540ia sport for cash) I remember my first impression about this car was that it has an immense power! I mean it was pulling strong through all five gears effortlessly. I thought to myself that one day I should get one of these) So I did, 13 years later, buy it as a hobby/fun summer car. Also made a point of getting one with a manual tranny even though I never owned a car with a manual transmission before. No regrets and I am enjoying it.
2002 540i 6spd
Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2013, 08:32 AM
demas demas is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Tokyo
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,402
Mein Auto: F10 550i M-Sport
Originally Posted by AnotherGeezer View Post
When I saw how ugly the E60 was and realized the classic BMW lines were never going to return.
until 2011

Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2013, 08:38 AM
DHoang's Avatar
DHoang DHoang is offline
Location: Austin, Texas
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,097
Mein Auto: '98 528i, '82 323i
It was a long time ago, but I remembered seeing the new E39 for the first time in the BMW Roundel Magazine in the spring of '96. Back then, I was driving my '86 e28 535i w/ 90k miles, and couldn't have been any happier. Everything on that car worked perfectly. My weekend car was an '86 Porsche 944, and my play toy on 2 wheels was an '83 CB1100F sport bike & an '86 VF750F. Life was good back then (still is...).

But that picture in the Roundel of the new e39 just took my breath away. I even showed the pics to my colleagues at work, and told them that I had to have this new car. Over the months, I went to 3-4 bmw dealerships to try to get a test drive, but none had been made available to the USA, and those that later started coming in, they were pre-ordered so they were already sold. After a yr of trying to find one to look it over and try getting a test drive to no avail, on my b/day in Sept, 1997 I ordered a new 528i, sight unseen w/o any test drive. WHen I was told it would take 3 months, maybe past the new yr, to get it, I cancelled my order with my local and ordered my new car through the BMW owned flagship dealer in NJ for euro delivery. This knocked 10% off the $45k MSRP, and besides, I was dying to go on a month long vacation anyways. So, I picked up my brand new 528i, Sport pkg, moonroof, manual trans on Thanksgiving day, 1997 in Munich Germany, and spent the next 3 weeks enjoying this new car, breaking it in on the Autobahn, traveling through Germany, Italy, Belgium, finishing off in Paris. We dropped the car off to be shipped back to the USA and boarded a flight back home on Christmas Eve. Easy dates to reminisce.

what a car! You guys just have NO IDEA what it's like to take possession of a brand new E39 that just got rolled right out of the factory with your name on it. That new car smell is at its highest strength, everything you see and touch is brand new fresh, the ride and feel and control - no words can describe this magnificent sensation.
It's been a wonderful 15 yrs owning and caring for this car, but like all good things, it has come to an end for me as I've since gifted this car over to my teenager. WIth hope, It'll stay in our family for another decade.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2013, 08:52 AM
BentValve's Avatar
BentValve BentValve is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: NH
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,054
Mein Auto: 00 528i 3 pedals
When my wife got pregnant. At the time I had a pick up truck. So I wanted a car :

-that had 4 doors

Only car that fit was an E39 IMO. Took me 7 months to find it. Took a year to straighten out all the issues.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2013, 09:43 AM
IndiansFan's Avatar
IndiansFan IndiansFan is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Rocky River, OH
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,119
Mein Auto: '99 528iA
When the costs to repair the E34 exceeded its value.............

I liked the touring so much I bought two sedans.

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.
Benjamin Franklin

2004 X3 2.5 TITANIUM SILVER/Grey - Sport/Premium Package
2001 530iA STEEL BLUE/Sand - Sport/Premium/Cold Package
1999 528iA JET BLACK/Black - Sport/Premium/Heated Seats
1982 Fiat 2000 Spider - BLUE METALLIC/Blue
1999 528iT CASHMERE BEIGE/Sand - Sport/Premium Package - 5 speed SOLD
1989 535i SALMON SILVER/Black SOLD
Reply With Quote

See More Related BMW Stories

Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:22 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001- VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.