15k: 2000 BMW M5
The E39 M5 was introduced in 1998 as the successor to two previous generations of fast BMW sedans. The new M5 was faster and more powerful than the E55 AMG & Jaguar XJR and cost over $70k when new but today is a bargain for a used 5 person rocketship. This silver 2000 M5 is for sale in Woodland Hills, CA for $12999 via craigslist might be the ticket for…well…tickets.
The E39 M5 had all the right ingredients for a fast sedan: warp-speed capable engine in front, manual transmission only and limited slip in the rear. It is a good looking vessel- with classic BMW short front overhangs, hofmeister kink, and pre-Bangle styling.
For the under $15k price range few cars come with nearly 400 hp from the factory – and the S62 4.9 liter V8 produces 394 horsepower and 364 ft-lbs of torque. The power is connected to a 6 speed manual transmission and factory standard limited slip differential to ensure you leave dual black stripes on the pavement – no peg-leg burnouts for this car! Engage the rear tires and you will be warped to 60mph in 4.5 seconds.
The interior of the M5 was a nice place to be in the early 2000s but does feel quite dated when compared to modern cars – especially the stereo/nav setup that looks like something Uhura would use to translate a rare dialect of Bavarian-Klingon. The seats are well worn and the wood (faux wood?) trim looks well…lamer than 1960s haircuts. The steering wheel is nice and thick – but it is attached to a steering box (only the lesser 525 inline6 models got rack-and-pinion) and steering feel/feedback makes you wonder if the tie-rod-ends are made from live rattlesnakes.
Quad exhaust tips and a M5 specific faux-diffuser round out the styling in the rear. Today the prices for E39 M5s continue to fall (cheap salvage titled M5s are appearing like tribbles at the moment) but its a good time to pickup a nice low mile stock one before they all get wrecked.
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