It’s certainly not hard to find E39 5 Series’ for under $5,000. In fact, there are countless examples on the internet of cheap, relatively high-mileage E39s, in all manner of conditions, for even quite a bit less than that. However, it is more difficult to find Touring (wagon) models. It’s not impossible but the selection is far more limited.
If you can find one in budget, the E39 5 Series Touring is a pretty great car; it’s good looking, spacious, has room for friends (or kids and their stuff), handles well, and comes with great engine options. When it works…
That’s the caveat — E39s aren’t the most reliable of BMWs from that era, especially when you buy one with as many miles as the ones you’ll find under $5,000. For a young person, that might not be a great idea, as it will likely eat up quite a bit of their funds (I learned that lesson the hard way with an E36 3 Series). However, if you can find a nice example, in really good mechanical condition, and it does work out, the E39 5 Series Touring is definitely a great car for the money.
[Source: Car and Driver]