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Everyone knows that keeping an old car on the road is expensive, especially if we’re talking about a model coming from a luxury brand. Just ask Luc de Jongh, the owner of a BMW M5 E39 built in September 2000 and with no fewer than 346,140 kilometers (215,081 miles) on the clock. As you can see, it’s a well-maintained sports sedan and has had quite a lot of work done over the past couple of decades.
From an engine replacement to a new paint job, the M5 has been in the shop for an extended amount of time, having received an upgraded suspension and brakes as well over the years. Despite being well taken care of in the last 21 years by previous owners, Luc de Jongh argues there’s still room for improvements. He is particularly concerned about electrical gremlins that might appear given the vehicle’s venerable age.
Having said that, he took it to an experienced mechanic for a thorough inspection to find out everything wrong with his prized possession. The technician wasn’t impressed, to say the least, mentioning it felt like an “old Volvo” as it kept making weird noises and it didn’t feel as solid as he would’ve expected from an E39. His main criticism concerned the chassis, specifying the M5 felt bouncy and consequently rather uncomfortable.
It’s still properly quick and pulls strongly after 21 years, but there’s some play in the steering wheel, which kind of ruins the whole experience since you don’t want a performance car to have vague steering. Speaking of which, the mechanic mentions the power steering system is pretty much finished, much like the electric adjustment of the side mirrors.
Upon opening the M5’s hood, he noticed a minor leak, but nothing to worry about. The underbody inspection confirmed all previous owners had taken care of the car, with no signs of rust or leaks despite racking up so many miles since 2000. On the other hand, the polyurethane bushings seem to be the culprit regarding the vehicle’s bouncy suspension, while the left-front wheel wiggles a bit. Perhaps more worrisome is the leaking Bilstein shock on the rear-right wheel.
Interestingly, the mechanic got in touch with someone who had the vehicle’s full documentation and learned that €100,000 have been poured into this BMW over the past 21 years. Even so, Luc de Jongh was warned that “it will cost you” to have the M5 in tip-top shape once again. Yikes!
[Source: Autoweek / YouTube]