I bought the M Reg 525tds auto saloon at 4 years old with 60k mls. it has now covered 230k mls and is serviced at a specialist garage. Driving is superb and towing my caravan is no problem. Comfort for long haul is excellent. Apart from consumables I have only needed 1 rear silencer box, 2 pairs of shocks, 2 front discs and two small steering arms. it is still going strong and I have just sold it to a family member. I am now looking for a 530d auto. This is my second BMW, the first was a red three wheeler Isetta in 1960 that gave me equally good satisfaction. Congrats to the Bavarian Motor Works.
I own a 1996 523i SE, I aquired this wonderfull car Feb 2000. I don't take it to BMW (too expensive), I go to an independant chappie who is more realistic with his costs. This makes the brand affordable to the ordinary man. The car is so quiet and comfortable, I would love an X5, but I am afraid of the running costs. My car had 73K on the clock with 1 previous when i got it. It now has 118K (45K in 7 years), and has proved most reliable. I have had to have a catalytic convertor about 4 years ago (ouch, dealer fit), and a boot release switch. The front drivers window sometimes doesn't work, but the next time you get in the car it does, and gives you trouble free operation there on in. The alarm sometimes goes off for no reason as soon as it sets or hours later, then it goes ok again for months (strange).
I keep thinking about swapping it, but its as good, if not better than newer inferior brands. I really want to stay loyal to the brand, i can't make up my mind whether i like the new 5 series?
Overall, an excellent car.
Excellent car. Handling very predictable and composed for such a heavy and long machine and feels controllable on the limit. Overall the build quality is excellent, engine very smooth and economy not at all bad given the engine size. The electrics however are awful! A quick search on e39 electric faults will bring up all manner of strange and seemingly unrelated issues with lights, dashboard and airbag. This seems to be down to the e39 designers using a series of 'control boxes' containing banks of transistors rather than solid state relays and switches. This makes faults much harder to trace. All the control boxes are coded to the individual car and even cars produced in the same month at the same factory cannot interchange their control boxes without a reprogramme at the main dealer. This makes seemingly minor headlight faults a minimum £300 fix. The other gripe with these cars is that BMW were still (and still are) doing their "poor base spec - add all the stuff you want at spectacular extra cost" game so it makes tracking second hand prices hard particularly tricky. Your e39 will have real electrical issues at some time or another which may or may not put you off enough to buy a Saab and dissolve into driving boredom or may be something you put up with just to enjoy the feeling of driving a very dynamic drivers car. Im just not sure which end of the spectrum Im at yet.
5 Series is quality motoring. I can't wait to get back into the driving seat every day.
Which model you should choose depends on how many miles you intend to put on it. If mileage is to be high, then a diesel should be your choice. If mileage is low, then go for the 530i. The 525i is good, but the difference in insurance and fuel economy is small enough to warrant the increased performance of the bigger engine (both do about 20mpg around town).
The things to look out for are as follows: a service history is a must. Check the size of the wheels (big tyres are very expensive); check the bodywork for stone chips - 5 Series have very soft paint; check the windscreen for stone chips - life in the outside lane takes its toll. Also check the rubber seals around the doors, as they perish easily.
You should also do an HPI check. The driver's seat wears on the outside. Try to get a facelift model (after 2001 - the angel eyes are beautiful). Buy a car with the extras you need because they are expensive to add afterwards. Leather seats and an automatic gearbox are a must for maximum resale value.
Suggested extras include heated seats, electric seats, and sat-nav. Find an independent dealer, because servicing won't be cheap, and it's a must for resale. Check 'Honest John's' website for what is likely to go wrong with a 5 Series.
If you do your homework, and take your time, you'll have one of the best driver's cars on the market.
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owned for 3 years Pro engine, performance, size, looks Cons Service cost (BMW in general), folding rear seats is an option - annoying, no spare…
Even after 8 months I still look forward to driving this car. The handling is superb, the 8 speed gearbox a dream. There is a bit of lag when you…