Economy: Very impressed. On long trips and around town. Seems to handle variable trips quite well in comparison with my last 1.6 4 cylinder car. On the two long trips I have been (500km one way) I have achieved 8.4 l/100km and 8.7 l/100km. I usually achieve between 11 l/100km around town if I do not push the car too much.
Comfort: The cabin is very quiet, very smooth and enjoyable to ride in. Quite possibly the most comfortable car I have ridden in, especially on open road and on the motorway.
Performance: When this car needs to be pushed it handles it extremely well. It is quick off the mark, and accelerating for overtaking is simple and very quick.
Handling: Handling is okay. I call this car a cruiser because that's what it is. I am not sure if it actually does, but when I am doing a lot of cornering, I put the car in sport mode because it feels like the suspension is firmer. It does hold its position very well in corners, yet does have a bit of roll. More a comfort thing. The traction control system works extremely well in the wet, and when the wheel may spin, very impressive for a RWD car.
Looks: I never really liked the E39 that much before, but now I own one, I feel that the car has an extremely classic look. More as time goes on. The side and back of the car is probably its best looking feature, and as mine is a 96 model with quite large authentic alloys, the car sits quite low in comparison with newer E39 models. The colour is metallic dark blue and looks amazing with a wax. Nothing has been modified.
Interior: Everything inside still works, except the cassette player. All materials have lasted very well with no fading, splits or stains. The car still has that fresh BMW smell, and the interior feels extremely classy and inviting.
Service costs about $260 NZD every 10,000kms.