1997 BMW 540 consumer reviews

$49,900–$52,350 MSRP range
side view of 1997 540 BMW
88% of drivers recommend this car
Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.9
  • Interior design 4.3
  • Performance 5.0
  • Value for the money 4.5
  • Exterior styling 4.5
  • Reliability 3.8
Explore the 1997 BMW 540

A true sports car in a family sedan.

It’s hard to describe but you have to own one or at least have driven one enough to fully appreciate it . On the highway With the 6sp the v8 and heavy flywheel will spin up to 3000rpm and that’s when you hear the silky smooth engines induction become more aggressive…very addictive. The sport suspension is sublime and loves winding roads. At triple digit speeds the steering and suspension is perfectly preloaded and hunkers down without bouncing around.The 6speed manual is a must have. It’s geared so perfectly that even with only 282hp the car accelerates with the same intensity all the way to the limiter . I like this model so much that I also bought a 2000 m5 in 2018 when prices were very reasonable (9,000$). That car is a true super sedan. But the 540i sport /6speed has a better balance of comfort and is still sporty enough to put a Smile on my face 9 years later . It’s my daily driver and car choice for long highway trips. The comfort seats are awesome and fuel efficiency on hwy is 21-22 mpg at 80+mph. Current mileage 155,000. 1997-1998 pre vanos 540s are less complicated than later years…. like I said these cars are very high maintenance ( cooling system, window regs, oil leaks, timing chain system)but parts are reasonable and pretty abundant, DIY info is available and a novice mechanic can keep them on the road… as long as you have the time to do so.


Rare gem few are lucky enough to own

My 6 speed manual 540I is comfortable, accelerates like a rocket, has a top end speed I am not brave enough to push (130 is enough for me and she had a lot left— her legs are loooong). I rear-ended a small SUV at low speed (( broke a bumper clip only on the SUV) and although all the damage to her was cosmetic and she still drove fine my insurance carrier valued her at $3,800.00 and wrote me a check for $3,300.00. I just spent $15,700.00 (A darn new hood costs $1,600.00!) to make her gorgeous again. Does that tell you how I feel about this diamond? I smile every time I drive her and she has over 200,000 miles and sat motionless during the repairs for almost 2 years. If you own one I will wager you understand completely how lucky I feel I am to have “Rachel”, my black beauty.


Great car

I love this vehicle it's one of a kind the interior you can not find the navigation is personalized the sound system is amazing


Repair bills repair bills REPAIR BILLS

The 540I is an amazing car to drive. Tons of power and great handling make it an absolute blast. However, when something goes wrong, it is not cheap to fix, and when i say not cheap i mean seriously not cheap. I owned mine for 8 months and had to replace the radiator to the tune of $900 (from a dealer so that is higher than normal but aftermarket parts are few and far between so almost everything has to come from BMW). 6 days later the water pump went out at, if i recall correctly about $1400 and that was at 1/2 priced labor because the dealer felt bad for me, seriously.. The sunroof got stuck in the full open position about 2-3 weeks later, dealer was nice and didnt charge me to hook up a scan tool and reprogram it. The cup holders broke which is extremely common. The digital screen for the odometer and messages was missing 85% of the pixels. If youre fully committed to owning it, the 540I, especially with the 6 speed, is fantastic, just make sure you have about double the price in savings for when things start going wrong


A real nice ride

Owned the car for almost 2 years and have enjoyed cruising on a summer day. Axles have 50/50 weight distribution so probably is best BMW rear wheel drive they build. Great tires also attribute to ride , handling and stability.


Best car I've ever owned

The BMW 540i is one of the finest vehicles in the used car market. I just makes sense. You get to drive in a expensive luxury car for a fraction of the price. There are few cars that can outrun this car and maybe not any that can outhandle it. Just put your foot down and go. The manual transmission is the most fun and it is very easy to drive. This car will be mine for a very long time to come. The only car I would even consider other than this one is the M5. If you get a 540i you will enjoy it. Definitly the ultimate driving machine.


Best car for the Money

The 540i is the perfect sized car for either city or highway driving. The 4.4L V-8 is VERY responsive yet still gets pretty good MPG for such a fast car. Very comfortable both front and back seats. All in all, probably one of the best cars out there to own if you just love to DRIVE!


The Ultimate Driving Machine

Performs at a very high level, barely lower than a new one, and its a quarter of the price. Stylish, sporty, and fast. It's a pleasure to drive and gets the adrenaline flowing. A 6 speed is a must to maximize performance and is much more enjoyable. This is the Ultimate Driving Machine.



The bmw is perfectly fine during the summer but during the winter the traction control makes it difficult to drive.