Chassis number: WBSDE93402CF91563 SCM Condition for this car: 2+ Over the past several years, we have seen BMW E39 M5 cars steadily rising in value. The price increase is valid and justified for many reasons — these are great cars to own, drive and enjoy. The E39 represents the end of an era and the dawn of a new day. At the turn of the millennium, these V8 cars made plenty of power, had a 6-speed manual transmission and offered a very modern driving experience. Today, the E39 M5 represents BMW’s zenith of modern analog super sedans.

Our subject car

The BMW M5 at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island Auction had plenty going for it. This M5 was a one-owner, European-delivery car that lived most of its life in Miami. It was lightly used, showing fewer than 22,000 miles. The fastidious BMW experts at Enthusiast Auto Group in Ohio fully sorted the car before the auction. A sample of the long punch list of work included a comprehensive mechanical baseline reset, several common E39 M5 age-related component updates, new tires, and paint correction with ceramic coating. In summary, Gooding Lot 26 was a high-quality one-owner car in 2+ condition.

2002 cars are the sweet spot

BMW E39 M5 production ceased in May of 2003, with total North American production reaching 9,992 cars. Fewer than 4,000 examples were made for the U.S. market in model years 2002 and 2003. Later-production 2002 models have mechanical advantages over the 2000 and 2001 vintages. The 2002 models have important engine upgrades, which equate to better reliability and lower cost of ownership. The early-2000s production M5s had low-friction piston rings that gave the engine more horsepower but increased oil blow-by, causing more carbon buildup. Earlier-series cars also had variable valve-timing-system issues, which were later updated. The 2002 and 2003 models are technically superior cars with desirable engine improvements. For these reasons, most enthusiasts “in the know” gravitate towards later-series cars.

Color counts with a BMW

Our subject car is painted in Titanium Silver with black leather. This color combination is attractive, but it is also the most common E39 M5 color. While the paint on this example is desirable, almost one-quarter of total E39 M5 production wore Titanium Silver livery. Interestingly, more than 60% of E39 M5 production left the factory in Titanium Silver, Jet Black or Carbon Black. Recent auction and private-sale data suggest that desirable and low-production colors such as Imola Red, Chiaretto Red or LeMans Blue tend to bring a hefty premium of up to 20%. What is attractive about this particular car is that it has high enough mileage that it can be driven and enjoyed — yet the mileage was low enough to appeal to many buyers.

A fun drive

Eric Keller, founder of Enthusiast Auto Group, said, “The E39 M5 is the most drivable performance M-car of its era. With four doors, it’s truly the Swiss Army knife of M-cars. The E39 M5 is the best blend of an analog experience along with modern performance — in sedan form. The car provides a tangible driving experience that is highly rewarding for the driver, and when properly vetted, is a reliable car. It’s also the last BMW performance sedan that utilizes a traditional metal ignition key and an oil dipstick.” Keller also said the majority of current E39 M5 buyers are previous owners of this coveted model. These individuals either turned their M5 in when the lease expired back in the day or they sold the car after a few years. Now they are back for more. Today, supply of investment-grade examples is limited, and values are trending up. Even Kenn Sparks, the retired head of U.S. Corporate Communications and spokesperson for BMW North America, has an Enthusiast Auto Group-sourced E39 M5 in his garage. This is quite a statement about the M5’s desirability and historical significance given that Kenn can fit only two cars in his garage. Gooding’s Lot 26 was a market-correct outcome. In Imola Red or LeMans Blue, our subject car would have easily broken $70,000. Ironically, as of this writing, Lot 26 is currently listed on eBay for $79,888. We will eagerly follow the result of that online auction.

Comments are closed.