In Reply to: E39 Test Drive Impressions posted by tonka530i on October 15, 2001 at 08:34:20:
The new 3L six looks like a great motor on paper.
If it handles like a 528i but has the power of a 535i this could be a near perfect car.
Test drove a couple of E39s for the first time this weekend. First was a 2000 528i Sport Wagon w/ 5spd and Sport Package. 12000 mile lease return. Beautiful car, tons of space in this thing, and it has a manual! The clutch and shifting were perfect in this car, it could practically drive itself. Steering was superb as well, probably the rack and pinion. Handling was comparable to my current ride with a little less body roll and a much better ride. Felt much more isolated in every way. 6 cylinder was adequate, but no rocket, I guess I'm just used to V-8 thrust. Overall, an extremely fun and tight car.
Next, was a 1998 540i-6spd. What a rocket this thing is. I've driven E34 540-6s before and speed was comparable. Clutch and shifting a little balkier than the 528. The six speed is much easier to miss a shift, gears are closer together, overkill with this much torque. Drive around town all day in fourth gear. Again sport package so handling was almost identical to the sport wagon. Steering not as precise as the 528 though. Car had 62000 miles on it, interior leather and upholstery were showing some wear already and the car shimmied at 60 mph. Could it need new thrust arms already??? Fast and fun, but showing its age already.....
My E34 is still the benchmark I use when driving any car. In some areas, I believe that the E39 is definitely a far better car, but in others I don't see any improvement at all. Now if I could get a 540i 6-speed Sport Wagon w/ the rack and pinion steering of the 528i, now we're talking.......
'94 530iA w/ 95k, Nikasil, Bilstein HDs, Style 32 17"
Coming soon: M-technic Sport Springs, RD adjustable sways, Conforti chip