At $21,000, Could This 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Be One For The Books?

Let’s see if this low-mileage Bimmer comes with a price that could make it a historic deal.

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Image for article titled At $21,000, Could This 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Be One For The Books?
Photo: Craigslist

Someday, both manual transmissions and sporty sedans will be relegated to the history books. Until then, you can enjoy today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 540i as it offers both. Let’s see if this low-mileage Bimmer comes with a price that could make it a historic deal.

“Tits on a Boar” is a phrase commonly used to denote something’s obvious lack of usefulness, as in “as useless as tits on a boar.” Based on many of the comments on yesterday’s 2005 Dodge Ram SRT-10, that would have been an apt descriptor for the truck. Powerful and imposing as it was, few of you could find much in the way of its raison d’etre. With a sizable $28,999 asking, not even the impressive photoshoot presented in the ad could overcome those factors and it fell in an incontestable 64 percent Crack Pipe loss.

Do you frequent Bring a Trailer? If you do then you’re likely aware that the site’s full name is “Bring a Trailer Full of Money Because Everything Here is Pretty Dang Pricey.” The online sales venue has gone from being a boutique locale for the odd classic to the mainstream channel for every seller that avers to “know what I have” and prices their precious offering accordingly. Because of that reputation, any time you see a BaT car referenced on some other classified platform, you have to expect that some serious negotiations on that ad’s price will be required.

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Image for article titled At $21,000, Could This 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Be One For The Books?
Photo: Craigslist

With that in mind, it should be pointed out that the seller of this 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport compares it to one sold at the same asking on Bring a Trailer. It’s claimed to be a “REAL-WORLD MARKET COMPARISON which is noted in all-caps to connote its importance.

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Oh boy, here we go.

Now, the V8 E39 M-Sport is a joy of a car. This one is said to be one of only about 1,000 six-speed versions dropped on the U.S. market over the course of the model’s life, making it relatively rare. That Getrag box is paired with a 4.4-litre M62 V8 good for 291 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque. If that doesn’t tickle your taint I don’t know what will.

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Image for article titled At $21,000, Could This 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Be One For The Books?
Photo: Craigslist

The E39 is also arguably the last really handsome 5-series model. It even comes with a righteous twin-kidney grille and features clean, classic lines flowing back from that. This being an M-Sport, it adds M-specific bumpers, M-parallel wheels and a number of other unique trim elements to set it apart from your run of the mill E39. The seller equates it to “75% of an M5, for a fraction of the price tag & upkeep.”

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The ad also notes that this M-Sport comes with an amazingly low 53,000 on the clock. That’s not as low as the Mercedes AMG we looked at on Wednesday but it does make you wonder what it is about German sporty cars that engender such low use.

Image for article titled At $21,000, Could This 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Be One For The Books?
Photo: Craigslist
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The car presents in Titanium Silver Metallic over a gray Montana Leather interior. Overall it appears to be in excellent shape, although as described by the seller, there are a few boogers here. Those include some nicks in the factory coating on the wheels and some small chips in the paint. There are some scuffs on the bumpers and a tiny (described as BB-sized) ding on the boot lid. The interior has fallen victim to a delaminated A-pillar cover which has been removed and then ignored.

Image for article titled At $21,000, Could This 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Be One For The Books?
Photo: Craigslist
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On the plus side, the car has extensive maintenance records and a number of new and refreshed parts beneath its tidy bodywork. Those are noted in the ad, along with the mileage when the work was undertaken. That’s pretty nice of the seller.

A custom exhaust was added just last fall and the seller notes that a weighted shift knob was installed at the same time. Thankfully the original knob comes along with the car.

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Image for article titled At $21,000, Could This 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Be One For The Books?
Photo: Craigslist

Everything here is said to work without issue, even down to the digital dash displays which still show all their pixies. There’s some wear on the driver’s seat bolster, which is pretty inevitable unless you’ve somehow learned to levitate behind the wheel in which case you would probably be using that power for evil rather than keeping car seats factory fresh.

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There’s a clear Pennsylvania title on the car at present, although it’s claimed to have spent much of its life down in South Carolina. It’s always been garaged and comes with all its factory books, keys, and a history free of accidents.

Image for article titled At $21,000, Could This 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Be One For The Books?
Photo: Craigslist
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Now let’s get back to that BaT listing. That was for a same-year car in a similar color with slightly higher mileage. Is that one car an accurate example of a Real-World Comparison® as the seller avers? Well, no, not really. That BaT car was, as are all those sold on that site, a deal for just one person: the buyer.

For a real real-world comparison, you’ll need to look at a much larger population set, say on Hagerty’s valuation tool. I’ll just leave that research up to you. I’ll also put on your shoulders the onus of eventually deciding if this particular 540i M-sport could be worth its $21,000 asking.

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Image for article titled At $21,000, Could This 2003 BMW 540i M-Sport Be One For The Books?
Photo: Craigslist

Of course, it’s now time to do just that. What do you think, is this well-kept and low mileage M-Sport worth that kind of cash? Or, to ask that much, does the seller need to just break down and buy a BaT ad?

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You decide!

Philadelphia, PA Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Don G. for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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Updated 3/4/22 with new details.