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
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.
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
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.
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.
4.4litre 282bhp V8 engine
Automatic gearbox with DSG option
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.
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.*
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2002 BMW 540i
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