BMW 5 SERIES (E39)
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.