1. BMW 540i E39

The E39 generation of BMW’s 5-Series was on the market from 1995 to 2003. Yet, most car fans regard it as one of the best executive and performance sedans ever. The most respected model is the sublimely good M5 with the 4.9-liter V8 engine and 400 HP. But, there is more to the E39 5-Series than just the M5. One car that is almost as good and fast is the 540i sedan.

Looking almost identical and featuring a 4.4-liter V8 engine, the 540i delivers 291 HP and 0 to 60 mph times of just six seconds. They had to electronically limit the top speed at 155 mph, so this is a fast sedan. While the prices of M5 are slowly going through the roof, the price for the 540i is surprisingly low. You can find a clean one for approximately $5,000. This makes this elegant German cruiser an affordable and stylish alternative to the M5. However, if you think buying a 540i will get you an M5 without the price tag, think again.

The 540i has the regular 5-Series suspension, gearbox and design. But, it is more a fast cruiser filled with luxury features than a sports car with four doors like the M5. As with all imports, especially German luxury cars, maintenance could be a bit expensive. It is best to look for a 540i with low miles and a full service history.

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