The BMW 540i E39 is the closest the world ever got to a V8 powered wagon. For reasons that we still don’t fully understand an official M5 E39 Touring never made it past the prototype phase with the one car produced sitting in a dusty BMW basement to this day.
For one E39 Touring owner though, the 286bhp 4.4-litre V8 motor simply wasn’t enough with M5’s everywhere laughing at it. To remedy this situation, they decided there was only one solution, to give the old barge more power with an LS motor swap.
This is a 540i E39 with an all American heart in the form of an LS2 V8 motor sourced from a donor Pontiac GTO. This 6.0-litre motor is good for 400hp in stock form and gets all that power to the rear wheels via a T56 six-speed manual gearbox and a beefy Monster LT1-S twin-disc clutch.
One obstacle on a build like this is that BMW never intended anyone to give an E39 an American heart transplant. Step forward JE Import Performance of Baltimore who used a specially designed prototype kit to drop the LS2 motor into the car.
The coolest thing about this swap is the way it sounds, to make sure all those exhaust gases go to the correct place, the build required a custom exhaust with ceramic-coated long-tube headers and 2.5” duel pipe setup to a to 3” exhaust.
This LS2 powered 540i sold for $26,000, the auction listing can be found here.
All photos credit to bringatrailer.com
So, is this E39 wagon a family hauler of greatness or the American/German mash-up of your nightmares? Join the discussion in the #performance-cars Live Chat.