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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey guys first post here and I'm pretty green when it comes to BMW, been running lexus to this point. I have sold my is350 and am looking at an 03 540i with m package and a 09 323i. Both cars clean. The 09 is obviously more money and would be driven year round where the 540 would be a 3 season car. I know they are different animals but I'm wondering of anyone has some insight I may not know. The 540 BTW has had a great maintenance history with regard to cooling and other things. Thanks again guys look forward to spending time here!
 

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Hey guys first post here and I'm pretty green when it comes to BMW, been running lexus to this point. I have sold my is350 and am looking at an 03 540i with m package and a 09 323i. Both cars clean. The 09 is obviously more money and would be driven year round where the 540 would be a 3 season car. I know they are different animals but I'm wondering of anyone has some insight I may not know. The 540 BTW has had a great maintenance history with regard to cooling and other things. Thanks again guys look forward to spending time here!
Welcome!

You are going to pay quite a premium for the 540i. These are high-strung, high maintenance cars, especially compared with the Lexuses you're used to. I seriously doubt anyone will get close to Matt Farah's Million-mile Lexus in an e39 without several complete drivetrain rebuilds, and replacing thousands of bushings.

The 3 will be better on gas, more reliable, more practical (year round), and probably safer. Hopefully more durable long-term, too.
 

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The two cars are mares of different hues. You need to determine your needs, and pick the one that best fits them. What will you drive in the winter if you buy the 540?

The 540 is more DYI-friendly, if that matters to you. Otherwise, get the much newer car.

BTW it's "Lexi."
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The two cars are mares of different hues. You need to determine your needs, and pick the one that best fits them. What will you drive in the winter if you buy the 540?

The 540 is more DYI-friendly, if that matters to you. Otherwise, get the much newer car.

BTW it's "Lexi."
I have a truck and a small commuter car which keeps the miles down on my truck. The bimmer will be my wife's primary vehicle for 3 seasons and will not be driven in the winter. The 540 I am looking at has been well maintained and has full history. It has 150k on it and is $5000 less than the 323 I am looking at. Price isn't the main factor here, I'm looking for what will be the more enjoyable driving experience for my wife.. She is coming from an is350 so she likes a little get up and go as well..
 

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You feel the road more in a 3 series. A 323 doesn't seem like it will have the "go" your wife wants. My suggestion would be a compromise between the two and get a 530 or 535 with AWD and the winter package. You would have the smooth luxurious ride and some power for the 'pop'.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
You feel the road more in a 3 series. A 323 doesn't seem like it will have the "go" your wife wants. My suggestion would be a compromise between the two and get a 530 or 535 with AWD and the winter package. You would have the smooth luxurious ride and some power for the 'pop'.
These would also be almost triple the cost of the 540 no? I won't be driving the 540 if I get it in the winter
 

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Depends

These would also be almost triple the cost of the 540 no? I won't be driving the 540 if I get it in the winter
I have no idea what you're paying for the 540. You did say the 323 would be winter driven, no?

You can get a 2006 530xi for about 10K I believe (Canada) fully loaded.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have no idea what you're paying for the 540. You did say the 323 would be winter driven, no?

You can get a 2006 530xi for about 10K I believe (Canada) fully loaded.
The 540 is an 03 very clean, new rubber, well maintained with cooling system updates, never winter driven, m package etc 159k for $7000. If the 323 is purchased it will be winter driven and then I will be in the same situation I was in with my is350, driving a rwd car in winter.. The 323 BTW has 119k its an 09 and is $12000
 

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The 540 is a fun car to drive. There is a thread on another forum where someone who owned an E34 for a long time wants to buy an E39 and is looking for advice. They are being told that a 530 is probably the best of both worlds.

For the 540, I would want to know if the timing chain, valley pan gasket, etc etc (the so-called car****** jobs) have been done. Plus, there seems to be a lot written about oil leaks from the car including the oil pan gasket. You're really the only one who can judge since you know what you really want and you have seen the car in person. I say go with your gut, but be aware that the 540 does need money for maintenance.
 

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The 540 is an 03 very clean, new rubber, well maintained with cooling system updates, never winter driven, m package etc 159k for $7000. If the 323 is purchased it will be winter driven and then I will be in the same situation I was in with my is350, driving a rwd car in winter.. The 323 BTW has 119k its an 09 and is $12000


Wow only 7 grand?

People are asking way more for the 03 msport 540s.

I sometimes find a few m5s a few thousand less than the 03 msports on craigslist.
 

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E39 since you're in this sub-forum :D
 

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Here's my two cents: the newer they got, the heavier they became and the feel that made BMW famous has been numbed out with each new generation. Having driven them all, I would rather go for the E39. Better steering feel, nicer interior and exterior, and lots of torque. In stop n go city driving gas mileage is not good, but on long freeway drives it's efortless and you can get 29 MPG unless you are trying to reach the top speed limiter. If I wanted a 3, the E46 would be the last gen I'd go for.
 

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I have owned a lot of cars...

but never one I enjoyed as much as my 540t. The combination of luxury and performance in this car is hard to beat at current market prices. That said, I found an exceptional unit at a rock bottom price and do all my own work... so there's that. If you put the money you save by not buying the newer car into a maint. fund for the 540i I think you'll be happy with the older car. imho
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Looked at the car and all and all nice copy. The negatives are pixels are out on dash and radio, lack of cup holders that function and the passenger mirror housing is rusting from the inside out and has blistered paint all over it.. Any thoughts on these issues?
 
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