5 WAYS TO MAKE IT BET­TER

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

1 A NICE BODY

Mo­tor­way miles can cause bon­net stone-chips, so touch them in to pre­vent prob­lems wors­en­ing, and make sure that you clear any mud and de­bris from the whee­larches and un­der­side of the wings.

2 GET IT SER­VICED

A ser­vice is a must if the his­tory is patchy (don’t rely on the dash­board ser­vice in­di­ca­tor – it’s eas­ily re­set). Spe­cial­ists charge around £190 and £270 for an In­spec­tion I/In­spec­tion II ser­vice re­spec­tively on petrol mod­els, with an auto gear­box oil change – ad­vised ev­ery 80,000 miles – be­ing around £280. Change the coolant and dif­fer­en­tial oil at the same time.

3 MOD CHOICES

There are plenty of op­tions for mod­i­fy­ing an E39, from engine remap­ping (£200-400), to im­prov­ing the stance and han­dling by spend­ing a few hun­dred pounds on sports springs and dampers. Al­loy wheel up­grades are pop­u­lar, too, but re­mem­ber that rims from other BMW mod­els don’t al­ways fit.

4 GET­TING IN A FLAP

The swirl flaps fit­ted to later M47 and M57 diesel en­gines ef­fec­tively changed the length of the in­let manifold to op­ti­mise torque, but they be­came a po­ten­tially ex­pen­sive men­ace. Check whether they’ve been re­moved – if not you’ll need to pay a spe­cial­ist around £200 to do the job, which in­cludes fit­ting blank­ing plates. The ef­fect on per­for­mance is neg­li­gi­ble and it could pre­vent dis­as­trous engine dam­age.

5 A SUBTLE FACELIFT

2001-on mod­els got ‘an­gel eye’ head­lights (BMW called them Corona Rings), which pro­duced a side­light ring around the main head­lights. The dis­tinc­tive ap­pear­ance drew plenty of ad­mir­ers. It’s a pop­u­lar ad­di­tion to ear­lier mod­els and you can source sec­ond­hand units from the in­ter­net for around £250. Fit­ment is fairly straight­for­ward, though some wiring mod­i­fi­ca­tions – or an adap­tor – will prob­a­bly be needed.

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