Digestible Collectible: 2000 BMW 540i

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 2000 bmw 540i

The kids have been getting on my nerves lately, with all of their, “Santa, please bring me this toy I’ll lose by Sunday” and “Daddy, don’t forget me at soccer practice again” and all that. I’ve decided to spite them, and that I need to spend their college fund on vehicle maintenance. So I’m looking at used, high performance, family sedans this week.

If I were so inclined to spend a public-school semester tuition every year on car repairs and general upkeep, an older BMW would be at the top of my list.

(For the nice folks at child protective services that may be reading, I never forget my children anywhere. I keep them safely chained in the basement at all times.)

I’ve always admired the styling of the E39 5-series; restrained, with just the slightest hint of aggression in the wheel arches and wide alloys. The M5 certainly appeals to me, but the asking price just seems a bit much. However, I’ve been told that the 540i with the M-Sport package is a great budget alternative to the M5, so I went shopping.

This 2000 BMW 540i has the six-speed manual, always a preferred choice when possible. The M5-style 65 wheels have been fitted, which are a perfect choice over the admittedly-boring stock pieces. The seller notes a few bumper scratches and scrapes, which I don’t notice in the dozens of photos posted.

As a red blooded, pre-diabetic American, I will note that the cupholders are pathetic. I’d think that my ancestral homeland would be able to produce something worthy of a liter stein, but alas, ’tis not to be. Bottled beverages only. I’d hate to stain that gorgeous light grey leather anyway.

For those with more Carfax knowledge than I: the scanned document shows the car was imported from Mozambique to New Jersey? My first thought was a European delivery that took the owner way south, but it was registered in Minnesota with only twenty miles. I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation. I just don’t have the imagination to come up a funny one.

This 5er is being sold with no reserve, which means we can play our “What Will It Sell For?” game with absolutely no prizes up for grabs. My guess is $6,500, which is a great value for the performance you get from this great cruiser.

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2 of 63 comments
  • SOneThreeCoupe SOneThreeCoupe on Dec 23, 2015

    As with everything else, if you buy a car at the dismal end of the depreciation curve, more likely than not the service suffered the same downward curve. The key to happy ownership is either buying a car someone else properly maintained because they loved it, or buying an inexpensive car in cosmetically fantastic condition with so-so mechanicals then restoring the mechanicals. E39s aren't so complex as to be irreparable by a determined DIYer. The key, like with all BMWs, is to buy one with good bones and go from there. Nearly every nightmare car I've ever heard of was owned by people who simply weren't car people- they liked cars, but they don't understand the mechanicals and thus have no idea what true preventative maintenance is.

  • Dahammer Dahammer on Dec 27, 2015

    For what it's worth, a Cadillac dealer in Fishers, IN has a 2008 Volvo S80 with the V8 and AWD for $9,500. Two owner and a clean carfax. Yes, it ain't a BMW, but then again, it Ain't a BMW.

  • Crown They need to put the EcoDiesel back in the Grand Cherokee. I have a 2018 and it has been the most reliable vehicle I ever owned. 69,000 miles and only needed tires, and regular oil and fuel filter changes.
  • El scotto Y'all are overthinking this. Find some young hard-charging DA seeking the TV limelight to lock this kid up. Heck, have John Boehner come up from Cincy to help the young DA get his political career going. Better yet, have the young DA spin this as hard as he or she can; I'm the candidate for Law and Order, I defied our go-easy office and leadership to get this identified criminal locked up. Oh this could be spun more than a hyper active kid's top.Now I'd do some consulting work for Little Kings Original Cream Ale and Skyline Chili.
  • El scotto Pondering if he has a clean brandy snifter. Well but, ah, I mean the original Grand Wagoneer was fully loaded and had a V-8. The original Grand Wagoneer had an almost cult-like following with a certain type of woman. Attractive, educated high earning women; or those that put on the appearances of being that way.Our esteemed HerR DOKtor Perfessor again shows how ignorant he is of the American market. What he deems "bread-vans on stilts" are highly coveted by significant others that are also highly coveted. The new Grand Cherokee with the new well engineered V-6 will sell as well as the ones from the 80s some of us get wistful over. The only real question will be: LL Bean or Orvis edition?
  • El scotto Well, I've had cats that are smarted than a great many members of congress. I rather doubt that any of the congresspeople Matt named are engineers, finance people or project managers. Ya know, professionals you call in to get a job done.Today is Wednesday, this will be out of the 36 hour news cycle by Friday. Oh it might get mentioned again on OCT 6. Unless there are cute animals to put on TV that day.
  • El scotto Oh My Good Lord Yes! Gents, this is a Caddy that carries on the soul of Caddy. Loud, brash, and apologetically American. Also large and in charge and one of GM's best evah engines. What used to be a flash roll is now bottle service.Can't deal with that reality? There are plenty of excellent SUVs/CUVs on the market. I'm a former Escape owner. The Escape was a sensible lil CUV, this Caddy is just way over the top.Canyon carver? Not a chance, this is based on a Silverado frame. Easy to park? Toss the valet the keys. Will some of the other high-end SUVs have better "soft touch" materials that make car journalist get tingly all over? Of course.This Caddy is designed to eat up huge and I mean huge amounts of American interstate miles. Four people and their luggage? Easily.