BMW 5 Series (E39)

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BMW 5 Series (E39)
2000-2003 BMW 525i (E39) Executive sedan (2010-10-02) 01.jpg
Manufacturer BMW
Production September 1995 – June 2003 (sedan)
June 1996 – April 2004 (wagon)
Assembly Germany: Dingolfing
Mexico: Toluca[citation needed]
Russia: Kaliningrad[1]
Designer Joji Nagashima (1992)
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size luxury / Executive car (E)
Body style 4-door sedan
5-door wagon/estate
Layout FR layout
Engine Petrol:
2.0 - 2.8 L M52 I6
2.0 - 3.0 L M54 I6
3.5-4.4 L M62 V8
4.9 L S62 V8
2.0 L M47 turbo I4
2.5 L M51 turbo I6
2.5 - 3.0 L M57 turbo I6
Wheelbase 2,830 mm (111.4 in)
Length sedan: 4,775 mm (188.0 in)
wagon: 4,806 mm (189.2 in)
Width 1,801 mm (70.9 in)
Height sedan: 1,435 mm (56.5 in)
wagon: 1,440 mm (56.7 in)
Curb weight 1,480–1,800 kg (3,260–3,970 lb)
Predecessor BMW 5 Series (E34)
Successor BMW 5 Series (E60)

The BMW E39 is the fourth generation of BMW 5 Series, which was sold from 1995 to 2004. It was launched in the sedan body style, with the wagon/estate body style (marketed as "Touring") introduced in 1996. The E39 was replaced by the E60 in 2003, however E39 Touring models remained in production until 2004.[2]

The E39 was the first 5 Series to use aluminium components in the front suspension. The proportion of chassis components using aluminium significantly increased for the E39,[3] in order to reduce weight. It was also the first 5 Series where a four-cylinder diesel engine was available.

V8 models use recirculating ball steering (as per previous 5 Series generations), however rack and pinion steering was used for the first time, in the four-cylinder and six-cylinder models. Unlike its E34 predecessor and E60 successor, the E39 was not available with all-wheel drive.

The M5 sedan was introduced in 1998, powered by the 4.9-litre S62 V8 engine.

Development and launch[edit]

Development for the E34's successor began in early 1989,[citation needed] (internally known as "Entwicklung 39") and ended in 1995. The final design by Joji Nagashima was selected in June 1992[4][5] and later frozen for production under new design chief Chris Bangle. With design selection in 1992, the series development phase began and took 39 months till start of production. The domestic German design patent was filed on 20 April 1994, utilizing an E39 prototype.[6]

In May 1995 BMW published the first official photos of the E39.[7] The E39 premiered in September 1995 at the Frankfurt Motor Show (IIA).[8] In December 1995 sales began on the European mainland.[9]

The first pilot production models were built in February 1995, with full-scale production starting later in the year. Most cars were built at the Dingolfing factory.[10]


530i M Sport
530d Touring (post-facelift)

Compared with its E34 predecessor, the E39 wheelbase grew by 68 mm (2.7 in) and overall length by 55 mm (2.2 in). Torsional rigidity was increased over the E34 by 40 percent, which reduces body flex and allows the suspension to operate more accurately, also improving ride quality.[11] Due to a stiffer body shell, the weight of the chassis increased by 10 kg (22 lb),[12] which is offset by the reduced weight of some aluminium suspension components.

Structural dynamics was also an objective of the body design, so the body's frequencies for torsional twisting and bending are in separate ranges and above natural frequency. These frequencies are out of the range of engine and driveline vibrations, to avoid vibrations being amplified.[11]

The aerodynamic design of the E39 resulted in a drag coefficient of 0.28.[4]

The E39 draws heavily from the E38 7 Series in body construction and electronic technology.


Unusually, two different steering systems were used for the E39, depending on the engine. Models with four-cylinder and six-cylinder models use rack and pinion steering,[13] the first time this system has been used in a 5 Series. This system steers from the front of the axle.[11] Models with V8 engines use recirculating ball steering, as per the previous generations of 5 Series.[11]


The front suspension consists of MacPherson struts,[14][15] with six-cylinder cars using an aluminium front subframe. Aluminium is used for the steering knuckles, outer strut tube and the spring pads, resulting in a weight saving of 21 kg (46 lb).[11] V8 models also use aluminium in the steering box and several suspension links,[11] to compensate for the heavier steel subframe.

The rear suspension consists of a four link design (called "Z-link"), which is similar to the system used by the E38 7 Series. Chapman struts are used and the design minimises unintentional toe angle changes, which increases the stability of the handling.[11]


ZF 5HP-30 automatic transmission

Manual transmissions[edit]

  • 5-speed ZF S5-39DZ[16] (525d,530d)
  • 5-speed S5D 250G (523i,528i from 1996, 520i, 525i)
  • 5-speed S5D 260Z (525td)
  • 5 speed S5D 320Z (523i up to 1996, 530i, 535i)
  • 6-speed Getrag 420G[16] (540i, M5)

Automatic transmissions[edit]

Note that the 523i, 525i, 528i and 530i had several overlapping automatic transmission options for some years.


523i Touring interior
M5 (post-facelift) interior

A "latent heat accumulator" was available as an option up until September 1999.[19][20] The accumulator stores engine heat by converting a salt from a solid to a liquid form (Phase transition).[21][22] The insulated tank can store heat for several days. The next time the vehicle is started, this heat is automatically used to reduce exhaust emissions (by heating the engine up to operating temperature quicker), for cabin heating and window defrosting.[23]

Separate to the latent heat accumulator is the Residual Heat function (activated by a button labelled "REST"), which allows the demister and cabin heater to use the heat of an engine that has recently been turned off (using an electric pump to push hot coolant through the heater core).

Standard equipment on the launch models included dual front and side airbags, pretentioners and load limiters for the front seatbelts,[24] anti-lock brakes, traction control, power steering, and air conditioning.[25][26] Satellite navigation was also available, initially using maps on CD, then moving to DVD maps in 2002.


At launch, the petrol engines consisted of the M52 straight-six and M62 V8,[27] which were both new engines at the time. In 1998, the "technical update" (TU) versions of these engines were introduced, which introduced double VANOS to increase torque at low rpm.[28] At the 2000 facelift (LCI), the M52 straight-six engine was replaced by its successor the M54, however the M62TU remained in use for the V8 models.[29]

The initial diesel models used the M51 straight-six turbo-diesel engine. In 1998, its successor the M57 was introduced, however the M51 also remained in production for two more years. In 1999, the M47 four-cylinder turbo-diesel was introduced in the 520d model, which is the only E39 model to use a four-cylinder engine.[30]

Petrol engines[edit]

M54 straight-six engine in an E39 525i
M62TU v8 engine in an E39 540i
Model Engine Power Torque Body style Years
520i M52B20
110 kW (148 hp)
@ 5900 rpm
190 N·m (140 ft·lbf)
@ 4200 rpm
110 kW (148 hp)
@ 5900
190 N·m (140 ft·lbf)
@ 3500 rpm
125 kW (168 hp)
@ 6100 rpm
210 N·m (150 ft·lbf)
@ 3500 rpm
523i M52B25
125 kW (168 hp)
@ 5500 rpm
245 N·m (181 ft·lbf)
@ 3950 rpm
125 kW (168 hp)
@ 5500 rpm
245 N·m (181 ft·lbf)
@ 3500 rpm
525i M54B25
141 kW (189 hp)
@ 6000 rpm
245 N·m (181 ft·lbf)
@ 3500 rpm
528i M52B28
142 kW (190 hp)
@ 5300 rpm
280 N·m (210 ft·lbf)
@ 3950 rpm
142 kW (190 hp)
@ 5500 rpm
280 N·m (210 ft·lbf)
@ 3500 rpm
530i M54B30
170 kW (228 hp)
@ 5900 rpm
300 N·m (220 ft·lbf)
@ 3500 rpm
535i M62B35
173 kW (232 hp)
@ 5700 rpm
320 N·m (240 ft·lbf)
@ 3300 rpm
sedan 1996–1998
180 kW (241 hp)
@ 5800 rpm
345 N·m (254 ft·lbf)
@ 3800 rpm
sedan 1998–2003
540i M62B44
210 kW (282 hp)
@ 5700 rpm
420 N·m (310 ft·lbf)
@ 3900 rpm
210 kW (282 hp)
@ 5400 rpm
440 N·m (320 ft·lbf)
@ 3600 rpm
M5 S62B50
294 kW (394 hp)
@ 6600 rpm
500 N·m (370 ft·lbf)
@ 3800 rpm
sedan 1998–2003

Figures specified are for European models.[31][32][33]

Diesel engines[edit]

M51 straight-six turbodiesel engine
Model Engine Power Torque Body style Years
520d M47D20
100 kW (134 hp)
@ 4000 rpm
280 N·m (210 ft·lbf)
@ 1750 rpm
525d M57D25
120 kW (161 hp)
@ 4000 rpm
350 N·m (260 ft·lbf)
@ 2000 rpm
525td M51D25 UL
85 kW (114 hp)
@ 4800 rpm
230 N·m (170 ft·lbf)
@ 1900 rpm
sedan 1996–2000
525tds M51D25TU OL
105 kW (141 hp)
@ 4600 rpm
280 N·m (210 ft·lbf)
@ 2200 rpm
530d M57D30
135 kW (181 hp)
@ 4000 rpm
390 N·m (290 ft·lbf)
@ 1750 rpm
142 kW (190 hp)
@ 4000 rpm
410 N·m (300 ft·lbf)
@ 1750 rpm
Figures specified are for European saloon models.[34]

M5 version[edit]

M5 (post-facelift)

The M5 version of the E39 was Introduced in 1998 at the Geneva Motor Show and was produced from 1998 to 2003. It was powered by the S62 V8 engine. All E39 M5 cars were sold in the sedan body style with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Alpina B10 and D10[edit]

Alpina B10 V8

The petrol engined Alpina B10 3.2, 3.3, V8 and V8S models were built as sedans and wagons based on the E39 from January 1997 to May 2004.[35]

In February 2000, Alpina introduced the Alpina D10 Biturbo, the first six-cylinder diesel model produced by Alpina, The engine, a 3.0 liter twin turbocharged unit with 180 kW (245 HP) and 500 Nm of torque, was based on the engine of the BMW 530d.[35]

Protection line[edit]

The 540i Protection light-armored vehicle was launched in Europe on September 1997 and in North America from January 1998, The base price in 1998 was US$88,000.[36] These models included aramid fiber armor, bullet-resistant glass that is coated with polycarbonate to reduce spall. The 540i Protection is rated to withstand the impact of handgun fire up to and including .44 Magnum,[37] the glass is also protected from attack with blunt objects such as baseball bats and bricks.[38] The additional security measures brought an additional weight of 130 kg compared to the normal 540i sedan.[39] on request, an intercom system was available and from January 1998 a run-flat tire was available.[37]

North American model range[edit]

From 1997–1998, the E39 model range in North America consisted of the 528i and 540i, In 1999 the M5 was introduced. In 2001, the 528i was discontinued and replaced by the 525i and 530i.

In 2001, the American market 540i's power output was increased to 216 kW (290 hp),[40] unlike other markets where the 540i's power remained at 210 kW (282 hp).[41]

Model year changes[edit]

Most changes occur in September each year, when the changes for the following model year go into production, as is typical BMW practice. Therefore, the changes for 1996 represent the 1997 model year, for example.


  • Wagon/Estate body style (called Touring) introduced.
  • 525td model introduced.


  • On-board computer upgraded.
  • Cornering Brake Control introduced.
  • Rear side airbags introduced.
  • Sport Package introduced.
  • Automatic transmission option introduced for 540i.
  • North American sales commence, starting with the 528i and 540i models.


  • M5 model introduced.[42] Lower-body rear side airbags were standard on the M5, remaining optional for other models.
  • M52 straight-six engines updated to M52TU.[43]
  • M62 V8 engines updated to M62TU.[44]
  • 530d model introduced, using the new M57 straight-six turbo-diesel engine.
  • Xenon headlights introduced.
  • Parking sensors ("Park Distance Control") introduced.
  • Self-levelling rear suspension introduced for Estate models.
  • Stability control upgraded (from ASC+T to DSC).
  • Sport Package replaced by "M Sport" package.
  • Self-Adjusting Clutch (SAC) introduced on the straight-six petrol engines.
  • Satellite navigation upgraded from MKI (or Mark I) to MKII.[45][46] Like the MKI, the MKII uses a 4:3 screen and stores the maps on a CD.


  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers introduced (June 1999)[47]
  • Front seat airbags upgraded to dual stage[48]:page 5

2000 facelift[edit]

Pre-facelift front (Europe)
Post-facelift front (Europe)
Pre-facelift rear (Europe 523i)
Post-facelift rear (Australia 525i)

The E39 facelift (also known as LCI) models were introduced in the 2001 model year (produced from September 2000).

  • 520i, 525i and 530i models (using M54 engines) replace the 523i and 528i model (M52TU engines).
  • 525d model (using M57 engine) replaces the 525td model (M51 engine).
  • 530d model receives power increase.
  • 520d introduced, powered by a four-cylinder diesel engine.
  • Revised "angel eye" headlights.[49]
  • Revised tail lights with LED brake lights.
  • Navigation screen updated from 4:3 to larger 16:9 widescreen.[50]


  • Automatic transmission cars had the manual shift direction switched (to forwards for downshifts, backwards for upshifts).
  • Automatic headlights introduced.
  • 540i power increased from 210 kW (282 hp) to 216 kW (290 hp) in the American market.[48]:page 12
  • In-dash CD player becomes standard equipment on all models.[48]:page 12
  • Power passenger seat becomes standard on 6 cylinder models and automatic climate control becomes standard on 525i.[51]


  • Consumer Reports declared the 2002 530i the best car they had ever reviewed.[52]
  • Navigation upgraded from CD-ROM format (8 CDs to cover the United States and Canada) to a single DVD-ROM.[53]


  • 540i M-sport limited edition model produced.
  • Additional chrome trim added on the trunk (boot) and on the sides of the body.


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