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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Why not just buy the bumper kit without the front license plate, which is actually three pieces (right, left, and for the center strip which replaces the license plate bracket)?
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    I looked at the kits without the front license plate and with PDS. The center piece for front bumper kit does not provide full coverage of the area next to the license plate. The piece below is one solid section and does not accommodate the gap for the front license plate.


  • jbf5jbf5 Posts: 32
    Has anyone had experience buying a former service loaner as a CPO? The one I have in mind is a 5 speed, so I'm a little concerned that the clutch and related components may have taken more abuse than is healthy.

    The warranty apparently only covers "normal wear and tear," so I wonder if the dealer wouldn't hesitate to replace a future clutch failure under warranty on the grounds that the car had been abused.

    Appreciate any advice.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    jbf5... 11/01 bought my '98 540i6 CPO at about 52,000 miles. This was a lease return. She now has 73,000 miles. Few problems. Highly satisfied.

    12/01 wife bought her '00 323ia CPO. Dealer's loaner car with 18,000 miles. She now has 43,000 miles on it. A few more problems than mine, but she is highly satisfied. Hard to say if any of the problems are loaner-related ones. At about 35,000 miles the CD player had problems ejecting CDs so they replaced it under warranty. She had intermittent sunroof problems: the manual sliding cover unit wouldn't stay on tracks. They worked on it a couple times. Finally fixed. The passenger seat heater unit worked intermittently, so replaced at about 38,000 miles. About this time the battery stopped holding a charge. Replaced. The brake sensor told her to replace pads and front rotors at about 34,000 miles. Only problem she had within first few thousand miles was the high beam lever's switch stopped working. All above fixed under warranty or handled by free maintenance agreement.

    If you can get a low mile CPO unit, you get:

    1. Remainder of factory 4/50 b-to-b warranty.
    2. Remainder of factory free maintenance.
    3. Additional 2/50 CPO warranty (not quite as comprehensive as b-to-b and has a $50 deductible, but still quite good).

    A win-win.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I'm obviously generalizing and speculating, but I tend to think most people would be far less careful (i.e. abusive) with a one-day service rental than a 2/3 year leased car. I generally don't like used cars at all, but ones which have had literally hundreds of drivers would make me very nervous, regardless of the warranty's promises (especially for a manual). I wouldn't consider it, but if you do, be sure to understand fully the warranty's coverage period and limitations.
  • tusstuss Posts: 11
    I dunno---I'd avoid it. Here's why. My dad purchased an XJ8 jaguar a couple of years ago used---it was a "hertz" rental vehicle, but still had the warranty etc, and it only had 15,000 miles on it, and he got a good deal. The car has been reliable, but it's always had little "niggling" problems since the day we got it. Stuff like rattles, cd players breaking, etc. We have a couple of friends with xj8's, bought new, and they've had no troubles at all with theirs, so I tend to think we have problems with ours(my dads) b/c of the 100's? of people that drove the jag as a rental. Same thing with the loaners---when you get one, you drive it hard. I rarely use the steptronic in my 3 series b/c I'm always afraid if I'm going to break something, but in the dealer loaner--I always drive it really hard, accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake---and I'd imagine that I'm not the only one that drives like this. I'd avoid it and get an off lease vehicle.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Problem for this analysis is limited sample size. Anecdotes from one person or your own personal experience (mine included) aren't sufficient to provide any conclusive results.

    I've also read horror stories on this board and elsewhere about people mistreating their 2 or 3-year lease cars. Within past week read something somewhere on Edmunds about a leasee who hadn't changed her oil in the first 24 months. What do they care, they won't own 'em. Esp. if they grew to dislike the car and feel they are stuck with it. Notice how many people can't wait to get out of their leases?

    As I said, key is to find a low-mile service car. (And I might be different. When I drive service loaners, I treat them like I do my own car. Maybe a bit better since I want to stay friendly with the dealer.)

    As with any used car, you should have it inspected and pull the service, repair, recall, and warranty records.

    tuss... Given what Consumer Reports and others have written over the years about Jaguar reliability, including XJ8, maybe your friends are the exception?
  • daswolfdaswolf Posts: 43
    One area of concern would be that it is very unlikely that the break-in period recommendations were followed on a loaner.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    daswolf... Your comment had me thinking about the test drive I took in 1996 in a brand new MY96 318tia. Wife and I both drove. She wonder how much pick-up it had in city, to pass, and interstate on-ramp situations. Only way for her to find out was for her to really do it during the test drive. First time she does, check engine light and some other warning lights come on and she limps back into dealer. Someone ended up buying that car new.

    Wonder how many cars that come onto a dealer's lot and are then test driven before someone eventually buys them also see a lot of hard use (i.e., in excess of the break-in period recommendations) before someone actually buys it? Might be just as problematic for new cars taken on hard test drives?

    Maybe only way to guarantee is to special order the car and take delivery right after it is off-loaded into the dealer's lot?

    But leased cars, service loaners, and cars taken for hard test drives while on dealer's lot all could equally suffer in this regard.

  • Can anyone tell me anything negative as to why I should not buy a 2003 BMW 530ia. I do not want a 540 because I don't want a v-8
  • I had a similar problem (I think) to yours on my '01 530. The climate control system became "possessed", with the unit functioning randomly no matter where I set the controls. The dealer knew what the problem was just from my description: there was a bad resistor somewhere in there causing the computer to get varying feedback about what to do with fan speed, etc.

    The dealer replaced the part and all has been well since then.

    Regarding the break-in and how new cars are treated: Another little plug for Euro delivery. You get your car at the factory with less than a mile on the clock. (Of course, it's torture to follow the break-in rules yourself when you have those wonderful autobahns...)
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 262
    Nothing is wrong with 530 except it is somewhat short in the power department when compared to the newcomers from Infiniti (G35) and Acura (TL-S).
  • ksqrdksqrd Posts: 21
    My wife and I just had triplets. While we have an Acura MDX which will serve well as our primary people mover, we're in the market for a second car that I would use for commuting. We would like to purchase a second car that could also be used, if needed, to transport the triplets. Thus, we'd need three car seats to fit in the back. Has anyone tried this in a recent 5-series?

    While a used 740i (or iL) would probably be ideal, I'm a little wary of the extra cost now and potential for added expenses down the road. A new or lo mi CPO 530i would probably be my ideal commute car and fit our budget, so I'm hoping that the back seats would accomodate this need, even if it's a bit snug.

    Thanks in advance for the feedback.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    The 530ia is fine, including in the power area. It's down right quick when equiped with a 5-speed manual, but the automatic is still potent and a noticable improvement over the 528ia. I too have decided that I would opt for the 530i (5-speed) over the 540i (6-speed). The cost savings, better fuel economy, and likely lower maintenance and repair costs make the 530i a better choice for me. If I hit the big one and was hungry for more power, I'd go all the way with an M5.

    Regarding the comparison to the Infinity G35 and Acura TLS, I think the 530ia stands above both. The G35, with it's purported 270 hp, is at most only marginally more powerful. For whatever reasons, Infiniti horsepower is simply not equivalent to BMW horsepower in terms of real world performance. As for the 260 hp Acura TL-S, IMO it's not even in the same league as the BMW. Better compared to an Accord. It's reasonably quick, but it's handling is, at best, average for a FWD sedan. A business associate has a 2001 model and my 1995 Maxima SE (5-speed) is quicker, corners flatter and feels more nimble than his TL-S. The 530i, on the other hand, is IMO the pinnacle of handling in its class.

    The 530ia is a fine choice. I suspect the new 5-series will add more power to the "545i" or whatever they call it. But for now, I think the 530i is a prudent choice over the 540i unless you absolutely must drag race at stop lights and can't afford an M5.


    Congratulations on your triplets!

    Unfortunately, I think you'll find the 5-series nearly impossible to get three car seats in the back. The 5-series is about 1" narrower than our (1995) Maxima and it can only accomodate two car seats. Any attempt to squeeze a third seat in the middle would cause the outboard ones not to sit flat. I don't know if car seats come in different widths, ours are not particularly "streamlined". But I suspect the best you are going to do is 2 seats in the 5-series.

    The good news is that I've noticed very good prices on used 740i's in our area (DC) often less than what a 540i of similar vintage goes for. Also, not to steer you to Mercedes, but the E-class may be just enough wider to accomodate your needs. I think the 1996-2002 generation was about 1" wider than our Maxima in rear seat hip / shoulder width.

    It's a nice problem that you have, accomodating triplets.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    ksqrd... Congrats. Finding the "right" vehicle is probably down on the list of things most important right now. But... Seems like there are a ton of nice 1999, 2000, and 2001 CPO 7 Series out there. Prices reasonable. Wonder if a CPO X5 might work for you? X5 3.0 is nice. Not sure if it is any wider in back. Can't say I remember if the 5 Series wagon has a 3rd seat or not.
  • brauebraue Posts: 1
    I am in the process of buying a 98 528i. The dealer is offering to upgrade the wheels of the car from the original 15 inch ones to the 17in wheels normally found on the 540i. Of course, the dealer wants to increase the cost by $1400 if I go for the bigger wheels. Any thoughts on the increase in performance of the bigger wheels?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    braue... Only use a size proper to your specific car.

    I'd look into buying from an aftermarket source. Places like Tire Rack, etc. You'll likely get cheaper and you can keep what is already on it as winter tires or just for spares for when you sell.

    You might consider getting whatever combination came with the '98 528i Sport Package. Stick with the size and type from that specific Sport Package. Forget if that is staggered as is with my '98 540i6.

    There is always a trade off when it comes to using different and bigger tires/wheels. What you might gain in handling might be offset in ride quality or steering response. That is why I say stick with sizes and tires used by BMW. They tend to be "right" for the platform. But that doesn't mean there aren't a ton of other sizes and tires that might be equally "right".
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    In my opinion you'd be MUCH better off using the $1400 to take the stock 5er to several BMW CCA drivers schools. My wife drives a 1997 528iA with 15" wheels and I'd bet the farm that less than 5% of US drivers can drive that car at anywhere near the handling limits of the E39 non-sport suspension. You should also be aware that BMW calibrates the stock suspension to work with 60 series aspect ratio tires. Spring rates, damping, and roll stiffness will no doubt have to be modified in order to extract the maximum performance from a Plus One or Plus Two tire package.
  • mumikemumike Posts: 4
    I am in the market for a 5 series, and because I LOVE the current style, I am not going to wait for the new model (judging by the pictures I've seen, it reinforces my decision).

    So, from what I gather, the end of ordering 2003 5 series will probably be March or April, correct?

    My wife and I just had a baby so I would like to avoid paying in excess of $45,000. Therefore, I am deciding between the 525 and 530.

    But here is the real reason I am posting. Is it stupid/wrong/irrational to want to buy the 525 sport package just because of the way the wheels look? Please don't laugh, but I just can't get over the looks of the standard 525 or 530 wheels, they look ugly to me. And with the 530 sport, I don't like the blackout or shadow effect around the windows, I prefer the chrome.

    My choice, then, is between the 525 sport and the 530 non-sport (with different wheels). Both would be in 5 speed, no automatic for me. I know the 530 has significantly more power (from what I have read) so it sure would be nice if I could put the 525 sport wheels on the 530 non-sport, but from what I understand BMW frowns on this?

    I looked at a site someone referenced ( to look at different wheel options, but none of those appealed to me either.

    I know, it sounds weird but I guess I just have my little peculiarities that I prefer.

    Anyone have any suggestions? Or recommendations on a shrink?
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Hey, it's your money, so don't let anyone else tell you what to do. To get a 530i at rock-bottom pricing, look into the Euro Delivery option, which can save a couple thousand.

    The chrome/matte finish around the windows is noticeable only if you look at it, otherwise it just blends away, IMO. In other words, it makes almost no difference.

    As for wheels, visit the wheel & tire forum on and you'll realize you're not the only one concerned about how wheels look. It's a subjective call. But, I suggest you drive both the sport and non-sport models to see the handling and peripheral (e.g. better steering wheel and seats) benefits. You can worry about the wheels last.

    I'm sure many dealers would be willing (perhaps for a small charge) to swap out a 525's wheels with a 530's. Or, you could probably arrange the swap through the classifieds. I don't think BMW really frowns on the practice; only true BMW enthusiasts would notice the anachronistic wheels.
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