Purchased new in Sep 03 after driving 2004 530i (liked the styling, interior, and lack of iDrive of 2003 better). Traded a 2 year old Corvette. 540i only has 85% of the Vette's performance but is 200% more refined. The manual 6 spd was a little notchy for the first few months but was smooth after that. Seat and door seal squeaks were the only quality problems I had and the dealer eventually fixed/replaced them. One dealer frustration was they didn't know why my auto-headlights didn't work after two trips the the shop. I later learned that this feature is disabled when foglights are on! After 5 years I want to buy a new car but just can't find one with better styling or performance.
Performance, styling (particularly with M-Tech package), comfort. The V8 is incredibly smooth with adequate HP and good torque. Lowered suspension and 18" wheels that come with Sport package really help handling.
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