Simply the best car I have ever owned! I have enjoyed this car for over five years; the longest by far that I have ever kept a car. The handling/ride compromise is just perfect with sharp steering but with supple ride quality as well. Everything is ergonomically perfect with most controls falling to hand almost automatically. Mate all of that to the creamiest straight six engine and beautifully smooth auto box and you can see why most roadtesters voted the e39 five out of five and celebrated it as 'one of the best cars ever made!' Servicing is actually very good value and it only come sup every 18k miles. Also there are lots of independent workshops which supply excellent service, like bmWorx etc. If you see a good clean mid-sized engine model then buy it!
I have a BMW 530d touring, 2000 X (e39).
It's a great car to drive, but not that economical (although I didn't expect it to be).
Nor did I expect the injectors to need replacing at 80k miles (not cheap!) I picked up some dirty fuel last year - and it cost a fortune to put right, although that's not really the car's fault.
Also, I've just had a water pump fail, another expensive job.
Now I've had the car three years and it's done 104k. Not sure whether to keep or get rid/ I've spent so much on it that I want my money's worth!
Oh yes, BMW stereos are feeble and useless. Use a good independent for servicing - main dealer labour rates are silly.
I've had a 53-reg 525d SE Touring automatic for two years, eight months and 65,000 miles (bought with 13,000 on the clock - an ex-customer service car).
Mostly, I'm very pleased with it - it's smooth, quiet and comfy, with a reasonable turn of speed when you ask it (although it feels like it needs persuading sometimes). It copes well with towing. It's difficult to know whether or not 34mpg is good economy (it gets up to 38mpg on long motorway tripa, and less than 30mpg round town) but BMW diesel autos seem pretty poor on fuel economy. It's feeling a little tired now at nearly 80,000 miles.
I'm very pleased the company has been paying the bills - it needed a new turbo just outside its warranty costing £2300 (plus car hire for a week), less £800 BMW goodwill payment; tyre cost total something like £1500, but services were free until 60,000 miles.
I'm not happy with dealer - they lied to me and missed something on virtually every service. This (and a pathetic stereo) has pushed me into getting an Audi A6 next - a 2.7 TDi Avant.
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