2003 BMW 540 consumer reviews

$51,800–$55,800 MSRP range
side view of 2003 540 BMW
94% of drivers recommend this car
Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.8
  • Interior design 4.5
  • Performance 4.9
  • Value for the money 4.7
  • Exterior styling 4.9
  • Reliability 4.3
Explore the 2003 BMW 540
4.4

Amazing car! Upkeep is constant, but worth it.

BMW did it right with this one. Perfectly balanced between a luxury and sport sedan...have to get the 6 speed manual though. Looks are timeless and on the aggressive side.

4.6

My 3rd E39 wagon, this 540iT has been my favorite

Legendary 540iT M-Sport Wagon, this BMW 4.4litre V-8 wagon has sport suspension, beefy front brakes, sport steering wheel, the coveted anthracite-colored headliner, shortened rear end and tuned transmission for sporty response, special aerodynamic front bumper cover and rear skirt, plus the super-rare factory rear spoiler. The E39 is a special car recognized by BMW fans world-wide as one of the finest series they ever produced. Less than 200 of the custom V-8 M-Sport Wagons were imported to the US in 2003 and very few have survived in this condition. If you know what it is, then you know what it is.

4.9

Great 15 year old car

Always wanted a E39 539i, and finally found the one, 2003 6speed Msport, fantastic car to drive, drove it from Salt Lake City all the way to Atl when I bough it, no issues whatsoever, tough previous owner take good care of it, of course it's an "old car" but still pulls better than my new acura, strong V8 engine, really good driving dynamics, really nice interior, best lookin sedan ever designed, and the obvious own it only if you are a DIYer otherwise it is expensive to repair, cheers.

4.4

Nice to drive

Runs great, i like the performance of the car. It will be a classic in the years to come. I think the car is a good value.

4.7

Understated Muscle Car

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.

4.7

Rewarding vehicle if you're willing to maintain it

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.

4.7

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

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.

5.0

My third 540

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!

4.7

Best BMW I've Owned

Fourth BMW I have owned and by far the best. Quick, smooth and powerful. Great style and quality in and out.

5.0

2003 540i Excellence

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.