2003 Bmw 540
1-10 of 13 reviews
Test drive review

Understated Muscle Car

by from Las Vegas, NV on June 12, 2017

In 6 speed form, it doesn't get much better than this. Excellent handling, torquey engine and some would argue the best 5 series silhouette to date make the 540i M Sport a current collectible.
In 6 speed form, it doesn't get much better than this. Excellent handling, torquey engine and some would argue the best 5 series silhouette to date make the 540i M Sport a current collectible.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

0 out of 0 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Rewarding vehicle if you're willing to maintain it

by from Las Vegas, NV on April 4, 2017

2003 BMW 540i M-Sport (M-tech) 6 speed manual. Rare find but worth the look (1,200 or so made). However, you either have to have a willingness to get your hands dirty to work on it yourself or have d...
2003 BMW 540i M-Sport (M-tech) 6 speed manual. Rare find but worth the look (1,200 or so made). However, you either have to have a willingness to get your hands dirty to work on it yourself or have deep pockets to pay someone else to do it. Prone to minor issues that you can easily do yourself for little money and a lot of support form online forums. If you don't have the time/tools to perform your own maintenance, find a good independent shop (stay away from dealer service debts). If you do this, you'll have a very cool, sufficiently fast and torquey Beemer that wants to be driven "robustly". Keep up with regular oil changes and it'll last forever.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

0 out of 0 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

A fine car that gets better (but pricier) with age

by from Midwest on December 19, 2014

The manufacturer's body designation for a 540 between 1997 and 2003 is E39. I've just purchased my third E39 (used w/ 100k miles), and the second with stick shift, which my wife hates. Stick or automa...
The manufacturer's body designation for a 540 between 1997 and 2003 is E39. I've just purchased my third E39 (used w/ 100k miles), and the second with stick shift, which my wife hates. Stick or automatic, however, the car is classic old-style BMW, before Chris Bangle became the lead designer for the marque and changed the look altogether. Whether you're a Bangle fan or not, the E39 is both elegantly proportioned and beautifully understated. On the highway or the twisties, the E39 is powerful, nimble, and a real joy to drive. The E39 is relatively reliable, too, with the exception of a very few known maintenance issues (e.g., I had three replacement radiators over 10 years with my last 540). Even if infrequent, repairs and maintenance are expensive when they do come due, so be prepared to spend +$500 for relatively routine maintenance costs, and north of $2500-$3000 for bigger ticket repairs / replacement. Inside the car, the controls and dials are well-laid out for the driver, and the back seats are roomy and plush; third and fourth passengers (with back seat temp controls) can ride in substantial comfort, even on long journeys. The interior of the car is beautifully manufactured and quiet, the ride is stable, and the handling inspires confidence, even at speed. It's a fine car.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

My third 540

by from Wilmington, NC on September 27, 2011

The best car I've ever owned! Comfortable with all amenities. Good looking too! 8 cylinders under the hood and a tiptronic transmission make for quick and fun driving!
The best car I've ever owned! Comfortable with all amenities. Good looking too! 8 cylinders under the hood and a tiptronic transmission make for quick and fun driving!
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Commuting

Does recommend this car!!

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Best BMW I've Owned

by from Florida on February 13, 2011

Fourth BMW I have owned and by far the best. Quick, smooth and powerful. Great style and quality in and out.
Fourth BMW I have owned and by far the best. Quick, smooth and powerful. Great style and quality in and out.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

2003 540i Excellence

by from on February 8, 2011

Bought it as 2nd owner with 18k miles. Added about 30k miles of trouble free miles. Love the car and regret selling it. Bought a 2009 535i, which I really like, but I'm not sure the quality is the sam...
Bought it as 2nd owner with 18k miles. Added about 30k miles of trouble free miles. Love the car and regret selling it. Bought a 2009 535i, which I really like, but I'm not sure the quality is the same as the 2003 540i. Anyway, once you own a BMW, it is hard to switch.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Does recommend this car!!

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

80% of M5 performance at 60% of the cost

by from Boston Area on June 21, 2010

I owned a 6 speed 2003 with sport package with all the options.....This is a fabulous handling car with tremendous acceleration....My estimate it does 0-60mph in 5s not the 5.6s as the engine wears in...
I owned a 6 speed 2003 with sport package with all the options.....This is a fabulous handling car with tremendous acceleration....My estimate it does 0-60mph in 5s not the 5.6s as the engine wears in. Especially the 2003 had a lot of extras thrown in that were found on the M5. Note that the single large bore exhaust on this one is a key giveaway for better than "rated" performance...and it only came in 2003. I was getting better numbers as the mileage approached 50K compared to when I got it at 35K. Your mileage may vary! Gas mileage on those highway trips averaged 22-23 with the car pushed "HARD"....I mean sprints from 80-90 mph to 120mph-130mph all day long...The fastest I ever got it going was 141 mph. I left a lot of "fast" cars in the dust; the surprise on driver's faces with 400HP motors whom I could keep up with or out maneuver in tight traffic. What I enjoyed most was giving the bikers a run for their money....I could accelerate and stay on their tails at 130mph effortlessly...they usually gave up quickly; too much metal momentum too close to them at that speed. So here is the downside...this is a high maintenance vehicle! Be ready and able to spend the money to keep it at its peak! Driving this thing when it is not in top condition can be frustrating. These vehicles require regular maintenance....If you have a garage and like to tinker with cars then buy this used (with service records) otherwise steer clear...Even a car that looks pristine could have very expensive problems lurking...My car looked and drove mint but had $7-10K of repairs/maintenance lurking in the next 10-15K after 60K....Beware! You either want to and can tinker with them OR you have dough! Stay away from these vehicles if you think you can take it to the local mechanic and stay on a budget..... My trips from Boston to Toronto and back over two years were numerous and this vehicle made the drive something I looked forward to each time. I LOVED the performance of the car! And I hated to part with that machine when I traded it in. After my wife and two daughters it was my closest love! As a friend of mine once commented after he drove it for...."Driving this thing beats mediocre s@x!"
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Uses car for Having fun

Does recommend this car!!

9 out of 11 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

540i M-Sport

by from Paradise Valley on November 24, 2008

This is my first BMW. I have owned 3 Porsches, 2 Infinities, 1 Merc, a Z06, and several Japanese luxo/sport sedans. This 540i is my choice for a daily driver yet can deliver enough performance on regu...
This is my first BMW. I have owned 3 Porsches, 2 Infinities, 1 Merc, a Z06, and several Japanese luxo/sport sedans. This 540i is my choice for a daily driver yet can deliver enough performance on regular US roads to make me wonder why I even bother with my other cars. The ride is unbelievable when you consider the handling, and it so tight and quiet. Just a solid car. BMW also offers such great service - buy an extended warranty and it pays for itself. Only downside is you will go through tires in 40K miles as you can't rotate them due to the fatter rears. Jump into a 5 series and you won't even look at a working class 3 series... even with M badges.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a new car

Uses car for Just getting around

Does recommend this car!!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

#3

by from on November 18, 2008

This is my 3rd 540iA, I obviously like them! Probably the best car I have ever driven, even flat out at 155mph (on the autobahn of course) the car is rock solid. Fit and finish are exemplary, as is pe...
This is my 3rd 540iA, I obviously like them! Probably the best car I have ever driven, even flat out at 155mph (on the autobahn of course) the car is rock solid. Fit and finish are exemplary, as is performance and ergonomics. My only complaint is the car does not have Lexus reliability and the DSP sound system is not that good.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Does recommend this car!!

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you?
Test drive review

Most Fun Car I've Owned

by from Phoenix, Arizona on July 26, 2008

Wow, what an awesome car to hit the road with! Tons of power and handles like a dream. Great car worth picking up.
Wow, what an awesome car to hit the road with! Tons of power and handles like a dream. Great car worth picking up.
Comfort
Exterior Styling
Interior Design
Value for the Money
Performance
Reliability

Purchased a used car

Does recommend this car!!

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you?
See Model Details