Black Sapphire Metallic
Black
4.4 Liter V8
6 Speed Manual

I think it’s probably fair to say that Steve Dinan as done for BMW what Steve Saleen has done for the Mustang or Reeves Calloway has done for the Corvette. With a complete range of performance-enhancing parts and software, the Dinan BMWs retain all their civility and OEM-levels of luxury while delivering a substantial performance boost. No compromises? That'’s the way Dinan does business.

This 1999 Dinan 5 started out as a top-of-the-line 540i with a $54,000 sticker price. The Dinan modifications total an additional $28,000, essentially adding 50% to the price of the car. Worth it? You'd better believe it.

The big BMW sedans never look better than when they're dressed in black, and this 1999 E39 5-series wears its original coat of Black Sapphire Metallic paint that has been babied and protected since it was new. The original shape is conservative, designed to appeal to a wide range of buyers, so to match its performance, this one received an M-Tech M5-style body kit that adds a more aggressive front air dam and a deeper rear bumper that includes cutouts for the dual exhaust pipes (dual pipes on the same side are standard equipment). Slightly deeper side skirts were added, which visually lengthen and lower the body, while an ever-so-subtle M5 spoiler was perched on the rear deck lid. Working in concert with that trunk spoiler, there's a separate AC Schnitzer roof spoiler perched at the trailing edge of the roof just above the rear window that helps channel air smoothly over the car and improves high-speed stability. Does it work? With Dinan removing BMW’s 155 MPH speed limiter, it's easy enough to find out (not that we recommend it).

The only other tipoffs that this car is something special are the DINAN 5 badge on the trunk and the clear parking light lenses, side marker lights, and tail lights. This car also carries HID Xenon headlights, which light up the road like flamethrowers on a dark night. Glass is good all around, and I'm pleased that this car didn't get a goofy Florida-style tint job that never quite looks right on a high-end piece such as this. If subtlety and stealth is your thing, this car should fit the bill just right.

Dinans work is most noticeable under the hood, although you'd probably need to be an expert to see it. Most of their technical wizardry takes place in the BMW’s ECU code, where revisions allow the 32-valve V8 to run a little better. Hardware modifications include a Dinan cold air intake, a Dinan throttle body and high-flow mass-air meter, as well as the Stage 4 software package. None of it changes the silky smoothness or tractability of the BMW V8, but it is transformed into a snarling street machine that rips to 60 MPH several ticks faster than a stock 540. Owned by a meticulous enthusiast, the engine bay is spotless, and it's highly unlikely that this car has ever been used in the snow. The new aluminum Dinan strut tower brace is the most visible change, although decals warning that the software has been changed can be found in appropriate places. The BMW engine covers are bright and crisp with no signs of heat damage, and everything is 100% functional.

The list of Dinan upgrades continues underneath as well. The 540i included a slick-shifting 6-speed manual transmission, but Dinan upgraded the rear end to one lifted from an M5 with heavy duty axles and 3.15 gears on a limited slip differential. The fully independent suspension features a Dinan Stage 3 upgrade that includes new springs and shocks, and a pair of beefier sway bars front and rear. And if you're going to use that new rear bumper with provisions for a dual exhaust system, you'd better install one this car uses a stainless setup also from an M5. The final piece of the performance upgrade package is a set of positively gorgeous Hamman wheels measuring 19x9.5 up front and 19x10 in back wearing 245/35/19 front and 255/30/19 rear Michelin Pilot Sport radials.

Inside it's all about BMW luxury, with black leather buckets, acres of burled walnut trim, and every luxury option BMW could come up with in 1999. Fortunately, this was before the days of the dreaded I-Drive system, so everything is wonderfully intuitive and available without fumbling through screen after screen of computer instructions. The seats remain in excellent condition, with wear appropriate for a car with half as many miles someone definitely loved this car. The gauges are crisp and easy to read, with an information screen just below the main dials. There's dual automatic climate control and a 2004 BMW CD player with 6-disc changer provides the entertainment. In back, the trunk is spotless, and you'll note that the battery lives back there as well part of BMWs dedication to perfect weight distribution and razor-sharp handling.

Documentation includes the original BMW owner's manuals, warranty booklet, and a Dinan owner's manual that supplements the factory book. We also have a stack of receipts for much of the recent work.

Highly civilized and extremely potent, the Dinan cars are no-compromises exercises in high-end German performance. If you've admired the M5 but haven't found one that fits you, perhaps this 540i might be a better choice. Still luxurious where it matters, with serious performance upgrades underneath, it will surprise many cars on the road without degrading ride quality. It is also extremely handsome, and the E39 shape has aged quite well, still looking contemporary even 12 years later. Reliable, streetable performance is Dinans motto, and the only proof you need is behind the wheel of this black sedan. Call today!

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