To say the E39 was an improvement over the E34 is an understatement. The E39’s body alone was 82% stiffer, 20% more aerodynamic, and weighed exactly the same as the E34’s body shell. It was also substantially safer in crash tests
Nearly the entire suspension is made of aluminum – the first for a volume production car
The E39 was the first M5 built alongside the regular 5 series at the Dingolfing plant (rather than at the BMW M plant in Garching). While this was cost effective and ensured high volume production, it meant the M5 would be limited in unique paint and trim options. It also meant the absence of any factory “special editions” throughout its entire production run
The E39’s S62 V8 features a highly advanced Siemens MSS52 engine control unit. This computer was capable of operating all 8 of the M5’s individual throttle bodies, in two different modes, without a throttle cable – and with M-car throttle response. Thanks to this new engine management, the E39 M5 was one of the first U.S production cars to feature drive-by-wire ITB’s
The S62 features a sophisticated g-force sensitive oiling system (semi-dry sump) that can detect high lateral G forces and draw oil from different parts of the engine to prevent starvation. The initial problem was that, during development, oil was found to puddle up near the outer edge of the cylinder head anytime the M5 came near its max lateral G of 1.2. BMW countered this by installing two additional oil pumps, one linked to each head
When cornering forces exceed 0.9g, the oil pump on the appropriate side is activated, drawing any puddled oil from the cylinder head while the other pumps continue to draw oil from the rear of the pan
This semi-dry sump system was quite effective, but it came at a price – it required a large oil pan, and unfortunately, this meant there was no room for the new rack and pinion steering that debuted on the six cylinder 5 series models (a first for the 5 series). BMW engineers had to choose between the trick oiling system or a modern rack and pinion steering setup. Realizing they could make the old recirculating ball steering system perform acceptably for an M car, BMW chose to keep the g-force sensitive oiling system
While the S62 V8 is based off the 540i’s M62 V8, BMW claims the engines are 95% different. For the S62, VANOS was added to all four camshafts (vs only two on the 540i), and as a safety net, a double roller timing chain replaced the M62’s single-row chain. The more robust setup means the M5 is less prone to plastic timing chain guide failure than the 540i
Key Model Year Changes:
The 2001 model year marked the biggest changes for the E39 M5. Production changes began September 2000:
Navigation system is now widescreen and features a new Mark III computer (replacing the old MK II)
Headlights are now “Hella” lights with “Angel Eyes” (the first for a production car)
First year of the 3-spoke M steering wheel w/ multi-colored stitching
Fog lights are now clear glass (instead of rippled)
Kidney grilles are revised to be more pronounced
Tail lights are now LED (Hella CELIS with LED bars)
The shift knob and e-brake lever are updated to much more durable materials
Gauges are now grey instead of black
Park Distance Control (PDC) now includes front sensors (vs only rear sensors)
Air conditioning system is revised and updated, as well as the window regulators
The climate control panel drops the REST button for a MAX A/C button. The REST function is still available
A new “M” audio system is available that features upgraded speakers and a larger Nokia subwoofer (10″ vs 4″)
… and other minor updates
The M5 (all years) was the only E39 that could be optioned with an electric glass moonroof. All other E39 models could only be had with a sunroof. M5’s came mostly fully equipped – there were only a few options available from the factory. Some of the standard equipment could be deleted, such as the rear spoiler and “shadowline” trim
10k original miles
Rare Imola Red over Red
M Audio option
New tires and battery
Over $12k in extras: Bilstein suspension and coil over kit, Billy Boat exhaust system with X pipe, AFE Power-Flow cold air intake, front bra, front and rear Dinan strut bars, tuner chip, short shifter kit, laser radar detector, and tinted windows
Original exhaust system, shocks, and struts included
CONTACT SELLER – Update: Seller’s Craigslist ad has been deleted (sold or removed from market)
*SAE rated from factory. May not reflect current output.
*Performance numbers pulled from either the factory brochure or reputable automotive road tests.
*Base price when new does not reflect original MSRP of this particular car, nor does it reflect what the original owner paid for it.
*Advertised price at time of posting. Sellers can raise or lower prices on their original ad at any time. Click on the original ad to view current price/availability.
Mileage Disclaimer: NOC has not confirmed if the mileage stated by the seller is true and accurate. It is up to the buyer to verify these claims. Vehicle history reports, service records stating mileage, and even inspections of odometer tampering are recommended.