2002 BMW 540i


  • Full service history 
  • Desirable colour scheme – Sapphire Black with Champagne leather
  • Fitted with rare optional Dynamic Sound Package 
  • Standard car, right down to the nicely muted exhaust
  • Significant recent scheduled and preventative maintenance

The Appeal

With the E39 BMW’s engineers could justifiably have turned to each other, said ‘job done’ and packed up their tools.  Not just one of the greatest BMW saloon cars – quite an achievement in itself – but arguably one of the best saloon cars of recent times, the E39 is a finely balanced, driver-focussed car and a design masterclass in understatement.  

The M5 E39 may be the go-to choice for those with deep pockets seeking executive thrills, but it’s a little further down the range where afficionados go when they’re looking for E39s.  Specifically this model, a 540i with a 4.4litre version of the M5’s V8, delivering a more balanced approach to the job of executive comfort and executive hustling.  

This 2002 E39 looks the part with Sapphire Black metallic bodywork and lovely unmarked cream leather interior.  It is a low owner car with under 117,000 miles, full service history and plenty of recent work by its enthusiast Seller that has addressed not just scheduled maintenance but preventative work too.  Fuel economy may not be top of any 540i buyer’s list, but this car benefits from a useful LPG conversion.

ZeOFeP6XtYyePbsKckVwmv5e2ypQEOoD3tRJlMyQ.jpg 464.43 KB

The History And Paperwork

  • Five owners from new
  • Rear arches and front and rear wings resprayed to improve appearance
  • Matching numbers car
  • Timing chain tensioner replaced within last two years
  • Full service history

The Interior

  • Original Champagne cream leather interior
  • Previously owned by a professional valeter and it shows
  • Unmarked dark wood veneers
  • Rare optional Dynamic Sound Package
  • All factory manuals and books with car

The contrast of dark paintwork and light interior works particularly well on the understated E39 and this car’s interior belies its two decades on the road.  Previously owned by a professional valeter, the interior of the BMW suggests care and attention – the leather is clean and soft, with not even wear on the driver’s seat bolster to detract, and the dark wood trims are all complete and unmarked.  Even the dashboard display is as it left the factory, with none of the pixelation that can beset E39 BMWs.  

The only sign of any wear that we could spot was on the M Sport handbrake knob, which has a small 2mm sized mark.  The headlining, cream carpets and boot carpet and M Sport sill trims are similarly in very good condition.  The car is supplied complete with its full took kit.

The 540 was sold new with a full box of early Noughties executive toys including satnav and multi-function seats, which are also heated.  This car also has the optional Dynamic Sound Package that was normally only fitted to M5s – the Seller says it delivers superb sound and is one of the reasons that he will be very sad to see this car go.  Those electrical toys do have a reputation for causing headaches for owners down the line, but this car has none of those problems – everything works and, according to the Seller, has always worked. 

B9qETirg9Pp7x1uhEsOMBRzAutkKeGRDdzK6SebO.jpg 421.3 KB

The Exterior

  • Recent preventative maintenance to the rear arches and rear slam panel
  • Front and rear wings resprayed two years ago due to lacquer peel
  • Bodywork in straight, undamaged condition
  • Four new Goodyear tyres
  • Standard unmodified car including nicely muted factory exhaust system

The exterior of this car reflects its recent owners, one of whom was a professional valeter who clearly carefully maintained the Sapphire Black metallic paintwork.  The Seller has also improved the bodywork within the last two years, including respraying the front wings, where they had suffered lacquer peel, and rectifying the early signs of corrosion on the rear arches, resulting in both rear wings also being resprayed.  The panel between the boot and bumper has also been painted where localised corrosion had begun.  The E39 does suffer corrosion problems and this car has benefitted from recent work with a MOT showing no advisories but the photographs suggest that there are a couple of areas that will benefit from some attention in the near future.

The car sits on four new Goodyear Eagle F1 tyres and standard BMW 18inch rims.  The alloys are in good condition but have some kerbing and may benefit from refurbishment if the new owner wants to show this car.  

A perfectionist will spot a few signs that this is a 21-year-old car from the photographs.  The headlights could benefit from a polish and one of the fog lamps appears crazed.  There is localised delamination on the passenger side wing mirror and some corrosion on the aluminium glass surrounds on the top of the rear doors.  Elsewhere there are some very light scratches on the door handles, but these are not through the paint and would likely polish out easily.  There is also a little delamination of the surface on the rubbing strip on the nearside front wing.  This is a very useable daily driver, but with a little work could likely be turned into a good show car. 

usBboREkz1O4BoET7DebZNcaiwhJalI1atcrPGh6.jpg 524.14 KB

The Mechanics

  • 4.4litre 282bhp V8 engine
  • Automatic gearbox with DSG option
  • LPG fitted
  • Front discs, pads and calipers from a E39 M5
  • Last serviced 2,000 miles ago
  • Documented full service history 
  • New BMW alternator fitted within last two years
  • New coil packs, spark plugs, fan belt within last two years
  • Cooling system recently overhauled including new radiator and hoses

It may be a BMW, but the key to successful E39 ownership is excellent service history and evidence of recent maintenance.  This car has all of that, summarised in its fully stamped service book.  

The service history is a mix of BMW main dealer – mostly BMW Barons – and enthusiast owner.  Recent work has been exhaustive and has gone beyond scheduled maintenance to include preventative work.  The Seller knows E39 BMWs well so has completed work to address common weaknesses of these cars.  

The cooling system has been overhauled, including a new radiator and hoses.  Spark plugs, coil packs, fan belt and alternator have all recently been replaced.  The timing chain tensioner has also been done as a preventative measure because they can be problematic on E39s.  The valve cover gaskets, another common E39 issue, have also been replaced recently.  The car was serviced 2,000 miles ago.  BMW parts have been used throughout.

This car is standard except for a couple of useful improvements.  It has a LPG kit fitted and the previous owner – a BMW enthusiast – fitted E39 M5 front discs, pads and callipers.
VpSu6UYDYYPF8nj3oMIdjB7Vt0HJAzxgwVotkYvh.jpg 462.01 KB


The E39 BMW barely needs an introduction and if you want a fine balance of performance and comfort, surely the 540 is the model to have.  This one has a desirable specification, is unmolested and has clearly been well cared for with full service history and evidence of significant recent investment.  If you want to show it there are a few minor jobs to do, but as a daily driver it is ready to go.  

Pushed into daily duties it has the added advantage in these cost-conscious times of that LPG kit.  A luxurious, uber-quick executive barge that doesn’t hit the wallet hard, perhaps this modern classic is the best of all worlds?  

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

A non-refundable buyer’s deposit is payable on this item, refer to FAQs and T&Cs for the applicable percentage.

All bidding, buying and offers are subject to our Terms and Conditions.

Please see our FAQs here and our Terms & Conditions here

Vehicle specification
  • Year 2002
  • Make BMW
  • Model 5 Series
  • Colour Sapphire Black
  • Odometer 116,482 Miles
  • Engine size 4398
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Wavendon
  • Location Buckinghamshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
18 bids
  • volupta•••• £6,600 09/02/23
  • dauria-•••• £6,500 09/02/23
  • volupta•••• £6,400 09/02/23
  • dauria-•••• £6,300 09/02/23
  • volupta•••• £6,200 09/02/23
  • dauria-•••• £6,100 09/02/23
  • volupta•••• £6,000 09/02/23
  • dauria-•••• £5,800 09/02/23
  • volupta•••• £5,100 08/02/23
  • dauria-•••• £4,900 07/02/23

The Gallery

The safest way to buy a classic car online

Car & Classic's secure payment system protects buyers and sellers. At the end of the auction, the winning bidder transfers payment into a third-party escrow account. Once the transfer of the vehicle is complete, both parties confirm they are happy with the sale and the money is released to the seller.
Safe, secure payment process

About Max Bids

The max bid process allows you to bid without any hassle.
Enter your maximum bid and we will then bid on your behalf to ensure you're the highest bidder - just enough to keep you in the lead and only up until your maximum.


C&C prevent auction snipers from bidding in the last seconds to win an auction.
Auctions are extended by 3-minutes if anyone bids within the last 2 minutes to allow other bidders to react and counter-bid.

Auto-bidding increments

  • If your maximum bid is equal to or below the reserve price, your maximum bid will be applied in full if you are the highest bidder.
  • If you are the highest bidder and place a maximum bid above the reserve, we will automatically put in the reserve as your first bid.
    • Once the reserve has been met, Car & Classic will make sure you are the highest bidder using only the bidding increments stated below.
    • We will keep you in the lead up until your maximum bid OR the increment closest to your maximum bid, providing your maximum bid is enough to cover the increment value.

Bid Amount Increment
£0 to £10,000 £100.00
£10,000 to £50,000 £250.00
£50,000 to £100,000 £500.00
£100,000+ £1000.00

Automatically outbid immediately

When you place a max bid and are outbid immediately that means that another bidder has placed a max bid limit which is higher than yours.
You can bid again and we will use our automatic bid system to try and get you as the highest bidder.

Matching max bids

When there are two max bids of the same value, the one placed first remains the lead bidder.

What are pre-bids?

A pre-bid means you’re able to place a bid before the official start of the auction.
You will be notified whether or not you are the highest bidder when the auction starts.

Problem with your bid

Bids are contractually binding. To help protect you, we have some rules in place if we think it's been mistyped. Please check and amend what you have entered.