Satisfying that bucket list dream

The BMW E39 540i ManualMany enthusiasts’ debate and stand true to what they believe forms part of the best model variations produced and sold by a manufacturer.

At Evolution 2 Motorsport our allegiance sways towards the blue and white roundel of Bavarian car-maker BMW. With over 40 years of Service Passion and Excellence, predominately on BMW's, we have been an extensive list of favourite vehicles released by the German manufacturer.

The core basis of what all BMW's should represent is exuding copious amounts of Sheer Driving Pleasure. This statements evokes competencies of sportiness, whilst traveling in extreme comfort, thus satisfying all senses.
“The BMW vehicles on offer today are very refined and well executed, encompassing speed, sporty handling and comfort in a well put together package,” explains Gavin Ceprnich. “As a brand one needs to look back at the models that brought BMW to where they are today, and which stands out as the ultimate driving machine of its time, a model which would challenge BMW with forthcoming generations.”

For the Ceprnich family, the model range which, for its time, and even today, took BMW to the next level was the E39 5 Series Range. Rated as the best car in the world during its manufacturer run, this vehicle was seen as the ultimate sports saloon for the discerning owner. From the supreme 528i to the all-conquering throaty M5 with its lunatic 5 litre V8 producing 294kW and 500Nm of torque. This was the ultimate and fastest production saloon of its time, a vehicle you could take to your nearest race track to show other more sports biased club time trial drivers a thing or to, and then settle down for a relaxing cruise home on the open road.

Of all the ultimate BMW's to own, the E39 M5 is at the top of the pecking order, however BMW always has this tendency to bring out a car that is just as good as an M car, and critically a little more complete and affordable to run.

“Described as the thinking man’s M5 by BMW Car Club Gauteng Chairman Colin Van Son, the brand released a variant that was still dressed in the M athletic wear, but was positioned to be more liveable with daily,” describes Bruce Ceprnich. “In South Africa only five were ever imported, this example being the last that BMW brought into the country in face-lifted guise, which formed part of Head Offices Executive company car fleet. The silver 2003 M540i, with its bullet proof, refined, powerful and muscular 4.4 litre V8, flexing a satisfying 217kW and 460Nm of torque, mated to the same drivetrain, most notable the six speed manual transmission, of the M5, possess the performance abilities of its M cousin, road presence through its pronounced and assertive look, yet was more economical to maintain and run.”

With these characteristics in mind, and Evolution 2 Motorsport being made responsible for servicing this example, when it was put up for sale the notion of fulfilling a bucket list dream was too great and the silver beast was purchased by the Ceprnich family.

The thinking man's M5Alec Ceprnich has always lusted over this 5 series range and describes this example as, “An absolute machine! This is BMW at its finest hour, even in today’s age of motor vehicle. The M540i may not be an M5, but it doesn’t need to be, it has the performance, involving drive, yet is one of the most comfortable and luxurious vehicles on the road. When cruising the ride is silent, slot the manual gearbox into sixth, rely on the impressive torque and you glide along easily at the national highway speed limit, sipping 95 octane at an impressive 6.9 litres per 100km. However with a few down changes and a plod on the accelerator pedal, this beast launches an attack with immediacy, the engine note develops from a purr into an angry grumble, V8 primarily with an acoustically glorious sporty undertone. However the real party trick of this vehicle is the bullet proof engine, the cost effectiveness of parts, in comparison to the M5 and its 17 inch rims, which leads to affordability when replacing tyres, compared to the 18 inch M versions.”

The Ceprnich family will concede that their silver M540i is not an M5, however it doesn’t need to or want to be. The car brings a different proposition to the fore, it offers similar capabilities to the M5, however BMW has wrapped it together in a more sensible, yet striking package. Finding an example in the condition this example is, plus factoring in that only three can be accounted for in the country, the car has all the right qualities in making it a future classic.

“We were very fortunate to have come across this vehicle, especially seeing it was serviced and maintained by Evolution 2 Motorsport, which gives peace of mind in terms of its mechanical quality and long-term reliability,” explains Bruce. “This is a special car and we are lucky to have obtained it in the condition it is, full credit to the previous owner. However we are known for being meticulous on many levels and the M540i will undergo a minor restoration plan (keep an eye out on our Facebook Page), in order to bridge the gap between it looking great to being in supreme condition.”

Fast forward to Sunday 4th September 2016 at Nelson Mandela Square, Sandton City where Bruce takes top honors at the BMW Car Club Gauteng Concourse in the Show 'n Shine category.

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