The BMW 5 Series is a large family, or ‘executive’ car. It has been manufactured by BMW since 1972 and is currently (as at 2019) in its seventh generation.
The E39 is the fourth generation of the 5 Series. It was available between 1995 and 2004. At launch, it was only available as a sedan, and a wagon (branded as ‘Touring’) was launched in 1996, superceding the wagon of the previous model.
The E39 was the first 5 Series to significantly introduce aluminium components into the front suspension and chassis, accomplishing the intention of reducing the vehicle’s weight.
The steering system for the V8 model used the recirculating ball system of previous models, however the 4 and 6 cylinder models used a rack and pinion steering system for the first time.
The E39 was, the first 5 Series where a four-cylinder diesel engine was available, but unlike its E34 predecessor and E60 successor, the E39 was not available with all-wheel drive.