E39 M5 Touring Corrects BMW’s Oversight

I know I’m going to ruffle a few feathers with this one, Yuppies, but occasionally BMW gets it wrong. But please, put down your pitchforks and improvised torches for a moment and hear me out.

Ever since BMW introduced the 5 Series Touring late in the E34’s life cycle, they’ve produced an M5 Touring that allows performance enthusiasts to cart around dogs, antiques, drum-sets, or whatever else one might need to move addition to hauling…well, you know.

One misstep, though, was the E39. Arguably the most beloved 5 Series Touring of all time, BMW inexplicably neglected to shove the S62 V8, six-speed, performance-tuned suspension, and big brakes into the wagon body.

Several folks have attempted to rectify this misstep over the years. In fact, Ms. Low Class Yuppie’s E39 540i Touring has a full complement of M5 aero parts, as well as staggered Style 37 wheels and M5 door sills. It’s still missing the important stuff, though: suspension, brakes, and, of course, that wonderful S62 V8, which features VANOS on all four camshafts and a throttle body for each combustion chamber.

Yes, that’s a modern CIC NBT-generation iDrive infotainment system that’s been seamlessly integrated.

But now, a certain Tarheel Chapter member accepted the challenge, and responded by putting together one of the best conversions we’ve ever seen. The car on Bring a Trailer is as complete of an M5 Touring swap as you will ever find. In the final year of E39 production, just 182 M-Sport wagons found their way to our shores, and this is one of them.

Now, years after it was originally produced, this wagon finally has the horsepower to back up its muscular good looks. The entire drivetrain was swapped from a contemporary M5, end-to-end, from the S62 V8 and six-speed manual transmission to the limited-slip differential out back.

So thorough and complete was the swap, that the M5’s steering box and sport button panel made their way into the Touring, too. The suspension and brakes were also upgraded, but the builder wisely looked to the aftermarket for these components, fitting a Stoptech big brake kit up front and Koni-based Ground Control coilovers all around.

BMWs of this era can more or less be taken apart and put back together with a ratchet, a 10mm socket and a flathead screwdriver. Plus, the vast interchangeability of parts makes swaps like this (and the S62 E38 7 Series swap from a few weeks back) feasible and relatively straightforward. Still, the workmanship that went into this car is downright impressive, and clearly exceeds that which most other swaps and conversions benefit from. As of this writing, the bidding is up to $37,000, and we expect it to go much, much higher before the hammer falls.—Cam VanDerHorst

[Photos via Bring a Trailer Media LLC.]

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