"I have owned car for 7 yrs and put 60,000 on this car. This is a high performance sedan make no bones about it. It is very fast but so smooth you don't realize how fast you are going. Definitely an autobahn machine. Cruising at 80 is effortless.
Quality is excellent, BMW builds a great car. If you are into cornering, and stopping you can't beat a BMW. Big excellent brakes on all 4 wheels. Just compare the rear rotor size to most Japanese imports, you can tell the BMWs are much larger just by eyeballing.
Maintenance: You will read cooling system a weak spot. I agree, Radiator blew when it was 6 yrs old. Water pump went at 118000 and I replaced it. Don't know if it was a second pump or not. Don't think so. The two cooling tubes that run from front to back of engine can be a problem. Car definitely needs to be maintained. Valve cover gaskets and valley pan gasket will definitely need replacing around 100,000 to 110,000 miles. Underhood temps are very high.
Not a snow car but 4 snow tires with the traction control and you will be okay.
This car not for everyone and I would only sell to another BMW person. They know what they are getting. Great performance with some maintainability issues.
Gas mileage: 24-26 on highway and 17-18 in town. Not bad for a 2 ton sedan with 282 HP!! 5 speed automatic transmission is nice too. At 80 mph only turning about 2200RPM.
Take care of it and it will take care of you!"
"Love my 99, 540i, however; it's been tough love- When she runs she runs great, excellent acceleration, comfort, low noise, and a solid safe feel. Won't lie to you the car maintenance isn't cheap- Have had some blow ups with the car regarding water pump- Highly recommend you check the radiator after 100k on this vehicle- Make sure you replace the water pump if not the whole entire cooling system. Like anything if you keep up with the maintenance the car won't let you down- Just learn to change your oil if you don't have deep pockets, it's very simple and if you're handy buy the 5-series manual for simple repairs- The dealer will take advantage of you, but who doesn't know that already- Enjoy :-)"
"Having had a Honda Civic before this car I was naturally blown away by its performance and comfort. However, radiator went within weeks of purchase and have suffered from other little niggles that were unheard of in a Japanese car. Mainly radiator problems and some electronic demons but nothing that can't be fixed by yourself or a decent grease monkey.
Performance wise, it goes like a rocket and once the revs get above 4000 the straight six makes a noise that will satisfy most car nuts. However, the 2.5L can feel somewhat underpowered on the street and not the highway but it will still leave most things at the lights.
Comfort, it floats over most things but can get a little jarring when tire pressure falls a little low.
Maintenance, keep to the six months timetable and check fluids at least once a month and it should not cause too much trouble. Replacing parts can get expensive but nothing that will break the bank too much. It can go through gas like a drunk at a party but this is down to driving style rather than an a inefficient engine.
My favorite car that I have bought. Saving up for the E39 M5 now! Would advise anyone in the market for a BM to consider the E39"
"IMHO, the best looking 5 series ever.
Awesome to drive, handles like a dream.
At this point be ready to replace the coolant system (hoses, pump, thermostat, expansion tank), oil supply and return lines, trans supply and return lines, power steering lines, tie rods, and struts. It sounds like a lot. But you should be able to do most, if not all, of this yourself. This a sports sedan with performance parts which wear out. My E39 is a 1999 build; currently 14 years old. Things wear out.
There will be small stuff in the interior also.
I think these cars are at the low point for prices. They was too much mass production for them to be a valuable classic, unless you have a real M5. But there should be a ready supply of parts."