The Winning Bid

Just how high will this E39 M5 go?

by Joshua Bernstein
24 June 2021 2 min read
Photo by Bring a Trailer

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that we at Insider spend an inordinate amount of time watching online auctions and predicting the results. We thought, Why not bring you in on the fun? We’re calling the guessing game The Winning Bid.

It’s pretty simple: Let us know how much you think the car will go for in the comments. The person who estimates closest—without going over—wins.

The car: 2003 BMW M5, offered on Bring a Trailer

Hagerty Price Guide Value: Condition #1: $108,000 / Condition #2: $73,700 / Condition #3: $39,000 / Condition #4: $19,800

Our take: Produced from 1998 to 2003, the E39 M5 packs many of the attributes that BMW enthusiasts cherish from the hallowed M department. When the car was unveiled, its atmospheric 4.9-liter V-8 engine produced an almost unbelievable 394 hp at a time when Mustangs with similar engine displacements were pumping out just 260. That S62 engine, paired with a Getrag six-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip differential, left drivers with the impression that they were in control of a machine derived from motorsport.

The contradiction between the unhinged performance of its mechanical components and its purposeful-but-restrained aesthetic presence was the most “M5-like” feature of all; here was a car that looked like a German taxicab, with a fully appointed interior, and yet capable of blitzing you up the Autobahn at a steady 186 mph on your way to work.

There was a time where these cars could be had for (relatively) little money, but the secret is out, and we have seen their prices rise sharply since the mid-2010s. Enthusiast Auto Group (EAG) sold a 3,000-mile example for just under $200,000 dollars this year – nearly twice the value of a similar #1 condition car in the Hagerty Price Guide. While EAG has a reputation for selling top-notch BMWs at a premium, all E39 M5s are on the rise.

This example, offered on Bring A Trailer, is a final-year, one-owner car with 24,044 miles on the odometer. The car appears to be all original apart from the, uhm, interesting aftermarket chrome wheels. While the keyboard warriors of Bring A Trailer have raised arms over the seller’s choice of rims, collectors have been busy bidding. Currently sitting at $59,000 dollars with four days of bidding left, where do you see the hammer falling on this M5?

Ground rules:

  • The commenter who guesses closest to the hammer price—without going over—wins. (Hammer price excludes auction house fees).
  • One guess per commenter.
  • Commenters must provide first and last name in addition to email address.
  • We will close the guessing on Saturday, June 26 at 3 pm. (That’s right, no sniping.)
  • Have fun!
A story about


  • Mike Pait says:


  • Vinny Murphy - the owner says:

    Joshua, Thanks for highlighting my auction and for everything Hagerty does for the hobby. It’s a great car which deserves collector car status , and I think I have a beautifully preserved example. All the best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More on this topic

Hagerty Insider Newsletter

Your weekly dose of auction reports, market analysis, and more.

Thank You!
Your request will be handled as soon as possible
Hagerty Insider Newsletter
Your weekly dose of auction reports, market analysis, and more.