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1997-2003 BMW 5-Series Pre-Owned

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Justin Pritchard
BMW E39 a sure bet for performance and comfort- just watch for the V8
A used BMW 5-Series is one of the world's ultimate luxury and performance cars, as well as one of the best vehicles to be seen in at your high-school reunion or kids soccer practice. Not to sound pretentious, of course- it's just that the 5-Series is a striking looking machine that instantly conveys a world-class sense of style and performance, and wears one of the most well-recognized product badges in the world. Best part is, once they get a few years old, they're not as expensive as you may think.

2001 BMW 530i

Selection in the North American market was great- and you'll easily be able to find a 5-Series with the right blend of power and luxury for your needs. Several engines were available, with lower end models powered by a 2.5 litre inline six cylinder with 184 horsepower, a 2.8 litre inline six-cylinder engine with 193 horsepower, or a three-litre inline six-cylinder with 230- depending on the year in question.

Want a V8? BMW made available a 4.4 litre engine in 540 models with horsepower approaching the 300 level. Combined with the car's sporty intentions, this engine makes a willing companion for all around driving- from a simple cruise to a full-out blast through the twisties.

Want a really, really big V8? Check out the specially-tuned M5, which belted out nearly 400 horsepower. Wagon and sedan body styles were available on most 5-Series models, as were automatic or manual transmissions- even with the V8.

Accordingly, owners report falling in love with the vehicle's quiet styling, impressive sportiness and available high-performance power. Many prefer the styling of the last-generation 5-Series to the newer one, saying that it's less 'snooty' looking and more understated. Common owner complaints include an unreasonably small trunk and cramped rear seating. If you're interested in a 5-Series for family use, be sure to take them along for the test drive.

Most common owner complaint? Cupholders. Flimsy and awkward, most drivers have given in and picked up a clip-on style model from their local department store to use instead. Apparently, they don't have Timmies drive-thru or extra-large double-doubles in Germany.

2003 BMW 530i
Justin Pritchard
Justin Pritchard
Automotive expert