The Story: Ryan’s 2000 BMW E39 M5


All cars have a story, and I’m about to get very carried away telling mine.   It’ll be long, it’ll be detailed, and it’ll be full of links to YouTube videos and website articles better-articulating what I have done with this car.

Sunday, July 18th, 2010.  6:42pm.  The corner of Village Way and Library Street, in Hudson, Ohio.  I was in the downtown area of my community with my grandparents at a concert on our green.  During intermission, we always took a little stroll to get some ice cream.  This stroll happened to be a tad more expensive, but much more fun than the usual.My M5 was poorly backed in to a spot, showing it’s age with the pre-facelifted headlights, a gaudy front license plate, and more than a handful of stone chips in the hood and front bumper.  There was an orange For Sale sign on the inside of the windshield, displaying the car’s year, make, model, and the owner’s phone number.  I snapped a few photos with my iPhone 4, hence the exact date and time.  My grandparents were a lot less excited about the car than I was.

I should mention that I’ve always been a car enthusiast.  Not only a car enthusiast, but a European car enthusiast, thanks to my dad.  When I was a kid, he had a 1991 Porsche 964 Turbo.  From 2003-2006, he drove a loaded BMW 530i/5 Sport.  In 2004, he purchased a 1998 Ferrari 355 F1 Spider from Florida.  Being around a car-nut, I guess it rubbed off.  Luckily for me, he had good taste.

It was probably a mixture of the Internet and Top Gear that taught me what an M5 is.  I knew it was a sport version of BMW’s 5-series model.  I knew it had power, technology, and a larger-than-anticipated price tag.  My best friend and I used to bike around our town all summer, totaling some 2,000 miles per season.  I can remember seeing a jet-black post-facelifted E39 M5 downtown, turning around, and pedaling back to look at it. I appreciated what it was, but never thought that I’d own one.  Looking back in my iPhoto archives from 2009-2010, I have several pictures of my car poorly-parked around town.  I always saw it, knew it was an M5, and snapped a photograph.  Little did I know it would be mine one day.  Here are a few photos of the car I took before I owned it.

July 18th, 2009  

Noticed an M5 badge, took a photo.  I had no idea that exactly 365 days later, I would spot this exact car for sale- and buy it.

SSPX0706 SSPX0707 SSPX0708

SSPX0853 SSPX0854

SSPX1099 SSPX1100 SSPX1101

 July 18th, 2010.  Found downtown for sale.

July 18th, 2010. First time I saw this car for sale.

2000 BMW M5 Back Camera Back Camera Back Camera

Shortly after finding my future M5 for sale, I found myself on my bike at our local favorite restaurant, Yours Truly.  I gave my dad a call and told him of my find.  We didn’t have any immediate plans to buy my first car, but I always have been one to push the buck early.  I told him what it was, and that I really liked it, and he laughed at the idea of a 16-year-old even thinking about a BMW M5.  That night, I remember staying up for hours doing research on the car.  YouTube videos, reviews from when it was new, and research about it’s reliability and maintenance.  I fell in love with nearly everything that I found.  The next day was a Monday, so I called the number on the for-sale sign.  It was hard to tell if the last digit was a 1 or 6, as the sign was very low behind the windshield.  I tried my luck with a 1, and reached a mental hospital.  The 6 got me to the middle-aged second owner of the car, Dave.  I told Dave that I had seen the car downtown, and that I really liked what I saw. I asked how many miles the car had on it, and how much he wanted for it.  I found that the car had 147,347 miles, and that the price seemed reasonable at $12,900.  I told Dave that I’d think about it,” and “call him back later.”  I got my grandfather and dad to agree to go over and look at the car, drive it, and see if it would be a good fit.  Dave turned out to live about 1.5 miles closer to town than I did, so the trip was short.  His 5-bay garage housed the M5, a Z3M, a C5 Corvette, his E39 M5 replacement 2008 E60 M5, and some little red project car (MG?)  We spent our first 15 minutes talking with Dave about the car, and looking over its condition.  We found that the car had been meticulously cared for, but was driven as his daily driver for the past 7 years. We found the usual signs of use, stone chips on the front, slightly-foggy headlights, and the typical pre-facelift trim wear on the interior center console, shift knob, and parking-brake handle.  We decided that we should take the car on a short drive, so we piled into the M5.  We just took a short ride down his street, to highway 480, and then back into town.  My dad drove, since I didn’t even have my temporary license yet. 90MPH felt as stable as can be.  I remember my first ride in the M5’s passenger seat, it felt smaller than I expected, but very well built and comfortable. The array of buttons for the radio and climate-control looked impressive, and the car felt very solid and powerful. My dad backed the car back into Dave’s driveway, and begun the negotiation process. $900 off the original price later, and I saw a handshake.  That was a feeling that I’ll never forget.

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2000 BMW E39 M5, Silverstone Metallic. 2002 BMW E46 330xi, Topaz Blue Metallic. BA Business Management, Kent State University. E39Source Owner.

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128 thoughts on “The Story: Ryan’s 2000 BMW E39 M5

    • I love driving it on long drives, but I rarely do. The stone chips to the front end cost thousands to repair and one trip to the east coast can cost you a headlight(s), bumper, windshield, and hood re-spray.

      • Do the sport seats & suspension make it better or worse for long drives? Some owners say that they hardly get fatigue driving it long distance. Do your think that’s where the car shines?

        • The sport seats are way more comfortable and supportive than the standard/luxury seats. There’s no comparison there. And the suspension on the highway is perfectly fine, it’s really a fantastic long distance car. It shines in most everything it does!

          • I assume the suspension increases the car’s high speed stability, which even if you do the speed limit for a long drive decreases driver fatigue because its easier to keep an M5 straight at those speeds than a boat like a 7 series.

            • It sounds like that’s what the M5 is about. I used to & many M5 owners think of the M5 as a sports car but its way to heavy to lap a track for it to be a sports car but it seems like a car that you can drive at high speeds without worrying about losing control of the car.

      • Have you ever considered getting a clear bra put on? A lot of people with expensive cars do that so they can minimize rock chips and other damage.

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