I owned a 2001 540i Sport 6 Spd and a 2003 M3 when I test drove a 2003 M5. I was instantly hooked. I searched and found one of the last remaining new 03s in CA. I have had the car for 3 yrs and it is the ultimate balance of performance, handling, comfort, reliability, and craftmanship. Furthermore, considering it is a 400 HP, 4000 lb sedan it is remarkably fuel efficient. I have averaged 21.5 MPG over the past 3yrs w/30K miles in mixed Bay Area driving. If you are looking for a remarkable automobile don't hesitate. You can pick up an immaculate and low mileage 2003 M5 for < $50K. This is a no brainer considering this is less than a new 530i or 335i. I have driven both and it is no contest.
The E39 version of the M5 handles and performs superbly. Though it is no longer the "king of sedans" when it comes to horsepower (its successor has that title), it is one of the best car designs of all times. Many BMW enthusiast prefer its design (manual 6 speed and exterior styling) to the newer (more potent) M5.
I traded my 2002 M3 conv. for a 2003 M5 and I've never been happier! Why did I do this - I don't like the new "5" styling and I wanted to own one of the last true great BMW's. What a car! I've owned everything from Cobras, Shelby GT 500s, turbo Porsches, Corvettes including the ZR-1 and other fine, go- fast vehicles but quite honestly, this is the best car I've ever owned!
I'd looked at the M5 in '90, but passed it up in favor of the V8 in the 90 Q45. Well, 13 years later I snapped up the last of the E39 design. It is, in a word, the ultimate 4 door sedan. Styling is georgeous, power is phenomenal, handling is crisp and reassuring. I've still not explored the upper limits of handling, probably cannot really do it on an open road. Perhaps track time this spring? Interior comfort, fit and finish are outstanding- rich but sporty, not 'plush and tufted'. Radio is fantastic- better reception than my two other japanese radios. But who listens to radio? Just installed Sirius Sat Radio with BMW oem components (displays on the nav screen). Mine has the MAudio
I had a 2003 BMW 330Ci, and I decide that I wanted more space, but at the same time I wanted more performance, and that’s why I opted for the E39 M5. I wanted the E60 M5, but this one was more on my budget! Was a deal of the century. So far I am really satisfied with the vehicle. The ride is out of this world when in sport mode. It is a real sleeper. It moves like a rocket for a 4 door sedan, despite the car being 7 years old.I had to replace a few things, but most of them were tear and wear. So I am not complaining. I do recommend that before anybody buys one of these to check the clutch, bushing, get the carfax and try to find out the kind of maintenance the car received before you buy it.