Autocar - - Buying Guide -

1995-2003 Price: £2000

‘The best car BMW has ever made.’ That’s the opin­ion of many an au­thor­ity on the brand. Not only was the ‘E39’ 5 Se­ries hand­some and well pro­por­tioned but it was also bril­liant to drive and ex­cep­tion­ally com­fort­able. And be­neath the bon­net, you’d find your choice of creamy six-pot petrols, bruis­ing V8s and gutsy yet ef­fi­cient diesels.

As a re­sult, it came as no great sur­prise that the 5 Se­ries blitzed the com­pe­ti­tion upon its ar­rival on the ex­ec­u­tive car scene. But more un­usu­ally, it was still win­ning group tests to­wards the end of its life too – even af­ter key ri­vals had been re­placed. Of course, the pin­na­cle of the range was the M5, the first V8-pow­ered M car and a su­per­sa­loon that of­fered mus­cle-bound, tyre-shred­ding hooli­gan­ism, busi­ness-class com­fort and sportscar-ri­valling pre­ci­sion all in one deeply mem­o­rable pack­age.

Good ver­sions are avail­able for £15,000 or less, while cook­ing E39s can still be had for as lit­tle as £2000.

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