Thinking of buying an E39 - up to £4.5k - what SPEC/to look for?

Soldato
Joined
27 Oct 2002
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So following my previous thread, my Mum didn't like the Lexus, Mondeo, or Honda...
It's between a Saab 9-5, a Merc E-Class, and a BMW e39.

The Saab's engine reliability I do wonder, the Merc rust issues are nearly always present...the BMW therefore seems the best bet.

I'll be looking for one with a Full BMW bhistory, and hopefully one owner.

Just wondering what spec? Also any common faults? Any receipts i should eb looking for that have been done on the engine...?

Also what are the transmission options - I'd like a full auto, not sure about the semi-auto box? Is this just a manual without a clutch?

Thank you.
R
 
Last edited:
Caporegime
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Cheshire
Also what are the transmission options - I'd like a full auto, not sure about the semi-auto box? Is this just a manual without a clutch?

There was no "semi auto" on the E39. There is an auto that has the ability to be "manually" changed up and down, but this just tells the autobox what to do, it's still torque converter based rather than SMG in the M3 which hydraulically controls the clutch.
 
Man of Honour
Joined
17 Oct 2002
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158,698
I honestly feel based on your previous posts that an E39 is not a good choice for your Mum at this money. I dont think its going to give her the ownership experience she wants.

If you insist search for my buyers guide I did about a year ago. I wrote lots.

For your Mum, avoid the Sport despite what others may say on here. Firstly an SE is going to be a more comfortable and releaxing car and secondly you are much more likely to find a non abused minter than you are with a Sport. Unlike the newer BMWs E39 Sports were sold in lower volumes than SEs yet today they are in more demand so you will pay more for a good Sport and imho get little benefit.

There is no semi auto its a conventional auto with tiptronic.
 
Man of Honour
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Tidy facelift 520i's are often unwanted and thus good value compared to the bigger engined ones.
 
Soldato
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Port Toilet
I had a 535 and it was great up until the engine started losing water and oil. Apparently the gearboxes give up the ghost after 130k, but I think thats because the oil never gets changed in them (BMWs sealed for life rubbish speak)

I would tend not to go for the 535/540 now only because of several bad experiences with the owners of them (young asians with a care less attitude towards service costs) That I guess is the thing with these cars is keeping on top of the servicing. You can't skimp.
 
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