E39 540i

I'm thinking of getting a 540, probably a Touring. What sort of things should I look out for? I've seen mention of pre- and post-facelift models, piston ring modifications re excessive oil burning. Obviously the earlier
cars are cheaper. I will probably go for an automatic. Are they always Steptronic or was there a conventional autobox offered?
I've had trouble getting accurate specs from the web. The handbook for my E34 lists the weights, top speeds, claimed mpg and 0-60 acceleration for all the models. Would an E39 owner mind posting these details if the book has them? In particular I'm interested in the weight of the Touring compared to the saloon, and the performance penalty.
In case international models vary, I would be getting a UK spec car because that's where I live.
By the way, I was looking at M5s and, although they are not too expensive, they're twice a 540 in price and more than twice as much to ensure, so the 540 looks much more practical.
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Dan Buchan wrote:

You may want to check out John Burn's site:
http://www.unixnerd.demon.co.uk/e39.html
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Cornish leather pixies. Right bastards to get rid of, too.
--
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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Dan Buchan wrote:

I have a 740i and the performance is still pretty good so I wouldn't worry about the fact that it's a touring. E38s had a problem I think with the oil pump bolts coming loose but I don't know if that effects the E39s too.
The steptronic is good, if only so you can lock it in a high gear on a cruise. Fuel comsumption varies considerably depending on whether you are doing city or motorway driving. In the 740 I get about 16mpg around town but high 20s on runs. I even saw 30 on a long trip once!
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