All photos by Gooding & Company

To many, the 1999 to 2003 E39 BMW M5 is the best sedan BMW’s ever built. With its powerful naturally aspirated V8 engine, lovely six-speed manual, and incredible agility all built into a practical and downright gorgeous package, it remains a benchmark even today. But does that legendary status justify this $176,000 auction purchase?

“Time Capsule Example,” collector-car auction house Gooding & Company writes in its description for this Titanium Silver 2002 BMW M5, which was put up for auction in Pebble Beach in late August.

Those words may not be hyperbole, either, because looking at the photos, you’ll see an odometer reading just 437 miles, beautiful black Nappa leather seats, and an exterior that may as well have been bubbled-wrapped from the factory.

The auction site says the car has been “meticulously serviced,” and spent most of its time in a climate-controlled storage area. The M5—which comes with the original window sticker, service records, and BMW accessories—was apparently owned by a California BMW fan who “acquired two of nearly every car in his collection, one to drive and one to preserve.”

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This is apparently the E39 he preserved, and car culture is richer because of it. So is the seller.

Looks like we should have all purchased and stored E39 M5s back in the early 2000s, because good lord, have these gone up in value.

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