It’s no secret that we love the E39 M5 here at Car & Classic. For this writer at least it’s peak M and I often think back to my time owning one. It was a simpler time when they could still be had for less than £10K. Sadly those days have long since passed and a decent Beast nowadays without moon miles on the clock will set you back the best part of £30,000. However, if you’re willing to put in a bit of effort and spend a bit of time fettling then there are still potential bargains to be had, as this particular BMW E39 M5 shows.
We’ve mentioned before that we think that BMW’s E39 5 Series is the perfect modern classic. It really is the ultimate driving machine with its handsome, understated looks, delightful characteristics, impeccable build quality and superb safety and reliability. Buy the M5 and you have a supercar slayer on top of all of that, too and this 2001 model, despite being a little down at heel, stands out from the crowd by virtue of its factory fitted body parts.
What is it?
This BMW E39 M5 is a later facelift model which featured, among other things, a larger nav screen and chunkier steering wheel, along with ‘Angel Eyes’ headlights with clear lenses and rear parking sensors in the bumper. The most striking thing you’ll no doubt notice, however, is the addition of a rather rare and genuine AC Schnitzer body kit. This includes a rear diffuser, front bumper and upper and lower wings as well as genuine AC Schnitzer Type 3 split rim alloy wheels. The car is also fitted with an uprated sound system and communications pack and electric side and rear blinds.
Finished in Silverstone Blue metallic over a black ‘Strauss’ leather interior and having covered less than 100,000 miles it’s a desirable example of BMW’s flagship V8 saloon, especially since it benefits from fully overhauled suspension with HSD coilovers and all new bushes and an Alpha N ECU remap, carbon fibre cold air intakes and MAF delete.
Why is it a project?
Despite a decent history file and tasteful mods this E39 M5 has been off the road since 2017 after its last successful MOT. The reason for its layup is due to a reported “spun bearing and engine knock”, and there lies the rub.
What should you look for?
Have a look at the auction listing and you’ll find all the information you need along with myriad pictures but the first thing you should do is take a look at our Five Things You Need To Know article regarding the E39. Not so much M5 specific but still a very good starting point. The obvious area to concentrate on here, though, will be that glorious 4.9-litre S62 V8 engine. If it were us we’d try and get hold of an expert on such matters and take them along to assess the issues. It could be a simple fix or worst case a new engine but that still shouldn’t put you off from bidding, it just depends on how high the stakes get.
What should you do with it?
If budget allows then get the engine back to its best and then enjoy what is arguably the greatest incarnation of a 5 Series M car and possibly one of the best super saloons ever made. There’s a lot to be said for a properly performing E39 M5 V8, especially with the tweaks this one has had and we speak from experience when we say that it will definitely be worth getting it back on the road where it belongs. Decent examples with similar mileage are now fetching up to £30K so there’s potential here for a bit of a bargain, just make sure to factor in any potential engine repair costs to your budget.