Mmm . . . M5: 2000–03 E39 BMW M5 Buyer’s Guide [Econo-Exotics]
Common suspension issues include wear and tear on the M5’s thicker rear anti-roll bar bushings, control arms, and ball joints. A good pre-purchase inspection will give you an idea of what you should expect to spend on the suspension, which, in the case of the M5, could mean the difference between buying and moving on.
other problem areas
Be wary of carbon buildup in the M5’s combustion chambers, exhaust ports, and secondary air ports. Fixing the secondary-air-system blockage can be the most expensive repair of all, with the costs even higher than VANOS replacements. The M5’s clutch is another Achilles’ heel. Subjected to abuse, it wears quickly. The M5 also eats tires, brakes, and oil. Adding a quart every 600 to 700 miles isn’t uncommon. Additionally, there was an engine-cooling-fan recall that may have affected inaugural-year E39s.
(Assumes excellent condition and 75,000 to 90,000 miles):
*Values provided by Black Book (BlackBookUSA.com).
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ask an owner: john lacey (2000 bmw m5, 55,000 miles, shown)
C/D: What repairs have cropped up, and what have they cost?
The only problems for the first five years were a couple of oil leaks. One involved a replacement of the front engine seals that totaled $4000 at the dealer, but I got a local shop to redo it for $500. The other was a leaking cam cover that cost about $500 to fix. Then the check-engine light came on and, shortly after, the car began running roughly. I took it to my local mechanic, and he said it was probably a VANOS unit that was bad and he could neither diagnose it nor fix it.
C/D: Any communities you’ve benefited from and would recommend joining?
The BMW Car Club of America is a great resource for prospective or current owners. M5board.com and bimmerforums.com also contain great information and driver experiences.
By James Tate