Sports package is definately the way to go.
The last year is typically the best, 2003.
2001 or newer gets you halos (angel eyes).
1999 is a good year too.
If I were to buy a used e39s (which I know I'd probably get after I graduate college).....would be the following:
1. 2001-2003 M5 (specifically 2003)
2. 2001-2003 540i Sport (2003)
3. 2001-2003 530i Sport
4. 2001-2003 525i Sport
5. 1999-2001 540i
6. 1999-2001 530i
7. 1999-2001 525i
Remember, lower mileage....higher price. Latest year gets you a higher price too. So a combination of both....including packages....sports, premium, cold weather.....gets you the highest price.
Right now, we have a loaded 2003 M5 with 18K miles and it is going for $58K.
We have a loaded (all packages) 2003 540i Sport with 28,418 miles for $39K.
Coincidentally, we also have a loaded 2003 530i Sport with 48,220 miles for $32K.
And, I love the 525i Sports as well.....
But remember with the 540i you get a V8 engine.
Something to think about.