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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    One of the things that BMW did to their latest six cylinder engines for the North American market was to sleeve the block. Apparently the cylinder walls of the all aluminum block used in Europe degrade or "Pit" due to the high sulfur content of some fuel sold on this side of the pond (I know Texaco used to have this problem, I do not know if they still do).

    Just a couple of days ago, when some folks here were discussing towing with a 5-Series, Gearman posted that "Trailer Life magazine provided comments on a number of candidate sedan tow vehciles (sic) for small utility trailers / jet ski trailers / etc. a while ago, and recommended avoiding using fwd cars and avoiding any vehicles with the Toyota/Lexus V-8, any bmw v-8 (the old missing cylinder lining and ZF auto trans issues again), or the Nissan V-8 engined Q45, for that purpose." I must say that that post gave me pause regarding the North American version of the BMW V8, does the block use a different alloy than the I6? If not, why does it not have the same problem with fuel with high sulfur content?

    Since I have not heard about any problems, I assume that BMW did indeed use a different alloy in the block; however, this is mere speculation at this point. Does anybody out there have any more information on the issue?

    Best Regards,
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    The v8 uses an aluminum block with alusil treatment on the cyl walls. The i-6 uses an aluminum block with iron sleeves.

    The alusil used in the v-engines seems to be holding up fine, curently, but there's obviously more room for trouble there.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Thanks for the info.

    Best Regards,
  • I am in a position to get a 97 540i with 32K miles on ot for 32 K. Is this a good deal? The car is in pristine condition. was this a good year for this car or there were multiple issues with the model this year. Any help will be appreciated.
  • I would appreciate input on the following issue. I have the ability to purchase a 525 01'model at $1000 over invoice. It is the color that I want and has all of the options I want including premium, HiFi premium, electric rear-sunshade,xenon,cold weather, & fold down seats. Great deal at that price. However, I've been able to negotiate a great deal on an 02'530 with the same package for the same price with ED ($1200 over invoice). The downside to the 525 is it's a 525 vs a 530, it's an 01' vs an 02' and there is no CD despite the upgraded sound system. To add the CD will cost about $600.00. The downside to ED deal is obviously the wait, the cost of going to Europe will effectively add about $2500 to the cost of the car. Anyone's rec's would be appreciated. BTW, a great primer on car negotiating is For the $26 fee there is a wealth of information and it saved me at least $700 compared to other posts on this board.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Are you indicating that you will be getting the 2002 530i at $1,200 over ED invoice which actually works out to about $1,400 UNDER U.S. Invoice? Good for you - I've been promoting that ED prices are not non-negotiable as some dealers try to claim.

    I am contemplating the same type of deal. As for the $2,500 trip cost, you can certainly do it for less, if saving money is your objective. One of my business associates did his 4-day trip for under $1,000 (by himself). I would probably turn it into a 10 day family vacation (wife & 2 kids) but, thanks to frequent flyer milage, will still probably budget no more than $2,500.

    As for a 2001 525i vs. 2002 530i, I am sure the resale value would be at least $2,500 more for the 530i in 3-4 years. The added value of a one year newer model year (2002 vs 2001) would likely be worth almost that much alone, not counting the value of a 530 over 525.

    My humble recommendation: If you (1) are fully satisfied with the 525i (i.e. power/performance), (2) intend to own it for 6-7+ years (3) consider the trip to Europe a hassle; then go for the 525i. Your deal at $1,000 over invoice sounds pretty good. If, on the other hand, you can live with the wait and might actually enjoy going to Europe, the deal on a 2002 530i is great.

    Good luck - I'm still not sure what I will end up doing in a couple of months.
  • My '02 530i invoice was $1350 LESS than an '01 (same options). So the '02 price may be less than you expect. Also, the $600 CD is a trunk mounted 6 disk changer. You should be able to get a dash mounted single CD for $200 from the dealer unless you also have the navigation system, then dash mount is not available.
  • I have posted several times raving about how great European Delivery is...

    The cost is lower to the dealer by the same amount as MSRP (i.e., margin is the same), AND the price is negotiable. Many dealers will lie through their teeth about these facts.

    The upshot: I paid $38,900 for a new '01 530i 5-speed with Sport/Prem that had an MSRP of $44,500. My dealer sold me the car for something like $1800 over ED invoice. That invoice price is almost $3K less than for U.S. delivery. lists this info and his #'s matched my info.

    You will LOVE having your car in Europe. It's like one big performance-driving theme park over there. Sweeping turns at 100+ m.p.h., mini-drag races with all manner of cars as you decide who passes whom on the autobahn...

    I'm sure many of us have taken brief high-speed runs in our cars in the States, but it's a whole different ball game when you can do it all day long without looking out for cops.

    And another thing: I have driven the autobahns at lot, but never in a car as powerful as my 530. That makes all the difference when you're running more than 100 m.p.h., versus doing it in some rental car with a 1.8-litre.

    OK, I'll shut up now, but you really ought to look into ED.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Funny thing about running the Autobahn in a 1.8 litre rental car.

    Back in 1996, I was consulting to Mercedes-Benz here in New Jersey, they sent me to Stuttgart several times on a project and because I was not an employee of MBUSA, they got me a rental car. The rental car usually turned out to be a BMW 318i, needless to say, it felt kind of strange driving into the MB parking lot in a BMW.

    Anyway, a friend of mine and I drove down to Lago di Garda in northern Italy over a long weekend. On the return trip, heading north just before dawn, between the Austrian border and Ulm, I was pushing the 318i flat out up a long grade at around 180-190kph and saw that I had been "Flashed" by a faster moving vehicle about a kilometer back. I promptly moved over and was stunned to see that the vehicle passing me was none other than a long wheel base Chrysler Minivan! How embarrasing!

    Best Regards,
  • Good question; I think it was the sale brochure for either the 2000 or 1999. I'll check the far corners of my file cabinent and see if I still have it, or if got tossed when the 2001 version arrived.

    On the issue of towing/drivetrain durability, I'll echo dhanley's comment regarding the probable durability advantages of the I-6 with its sleeved cylinders. Ford does the same thing with their aluminum engine used in the DEW-98 platform. It's sleeved for its Lincoln LS-8 application and not in the Jaguar S-type because Ford expects that the Lincoln buyers will appreciate the durability advantages of the sleeved block, and that the Jag buyers perfer having the extra power that the slightly larger displacement (plus some other important tweaks) provides in the Jag. Plus, Ford's marketing info indicates that proportionally more Jag buyers rent/lease their cars for 3/4 years and stay within the mechanical warranty period. Lincolns are generally expected to have longer mileage usage by either single or multiple owners. Differing demographics, I suppose. But what about the buyers of off lease jags? Perhaps a case of buyer beware.

    Anyway, the bmw I-6 is one of the best engines out there these days, along with the Nissan v-6, the northstar, and the Chevrolet small blocks. And unlike those others, it has the excellent double vanos.

    For towing applications, experienced drivers, as evidenced by consistent comments in Trailer Life and other similar publications, generally go with automatics due their advantages when conducting multi-minute trailer parking manuevers on slanted surfaces. I guess they don't like the smell of fried clutch in the morning. And the newer automatics, such as the excellent GM unit in the bmw six cylinder cars, with their lockup torque converters, are not subject to the same degree of fluid heat stress as the older autoboxes without lockup cluches in the top 2 or 3 gears.
  • Yes, shipo, I had at least one experience similar to yours when I was dutifully staying below 100 m.p.h. during break-in. I had to pull over to let a VW van pass.

    He must have wondered if I was having engine trouble or something...!
  • john01john01 Posts: 246
    I've been in Germany for a few months now and had chances to drive on the autobahn, albeit without the BMW, which we will fix soon, but in my 95 Integra I brought from the states. I cruise around 90 to 100, but these Germans bring a new meaning to the phrase "pedal to the metal". MB, Audi and VW are the most frequent residents of the fast lane with some Opel thrown in, but not so many BMW's, at least where I have been. Getting passed by a tiny beat up econoboxes doing 120 or better, you learn to move over real quick.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    I believe the fan replacement has fixed my A/C problem! I had it replaced yesterday(as per recall) and after being in the sun all day today at work at temps above 90, the air was cool from the start of the engine and remained so even in stop and go. I hope your experience is the same. Let me know.
  • Regarding post#1163. It was stated that a dealer could make a $2000 profit selling $3500 below invoice. I thought there was no holdback on BMW. Isn't the invoice the actual dealer cost? If not, does anyone know the actual dealer cost of a 530i or 540iA?

    I currently can buy a 540i for about $1500 over invoice from a relative in the business. Is this a great deal or just so-so? What have people been paying for this car recently?

    Also, regarding A/C problems, I guess all new models are fixed. I test drove a 530 and a 540 yesterday. Both were like an ice box (however the 540 did take about 20 seconds to start cooling whereas the 530 was immediate).
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    ..if that's $1,500 over invoice for a 2001 540i,

    I have been calling around DC area dealerships trying to find a 530i 5-speed to test drive to no avail, but they all have several leftover 540i 6-speed and automatics and have encouraged me to come in for a "great deal". My best guess is in this area you could negotiate down to $1,000-$1,200 over invoice, but inasmuch as I don't want a 2001 now, I didn't try. Also, I think deals are very geographically sensitive, so $1,500 over invoice may indeed be a great deal in your area. Also, if that's the deal on ordering a 2002 model to your exact specifications, it probably within $300 of the very best you can do anywhere.

    Out of curiosity, did you debate between the 530 and 540 and, if so, what was your evaluation of each that led you to decide on the 540. I am considering both (with manual transmissions and sport packages). Thanks.
  • john01john01 Posts: 246
    Thanks for the reply in the MB list. I am actually considering the same. E320 or 530i/540i. However, I am leaning towards 530i because of the widely accepted reliability of the inline-6 and the 5 spd. I even asked the same question to a well known BMW magazine and it seems there are indeed problems cropping up with the V-8 as more and more high mileage cars are making its way. Also, according to the advice, the steptronics will last about 80,000 to 100,000, maybe a bit more before it will need major work. Being a car nut, I would love to have the 540 to have fun on the autobahn, but I do plan on keeping the car for a long time and it just seems like 530i is the better choice, or the new E320 next year.

    Price wise, I have no way to deal, but to take 12-13% they offer to US personnel for US spec BMW or 15% for Mercedes. Curious, what is the invoice price you are seeing over there.

    P.S.: Where in the DC area are you from? I lived in Tyson's and Reston area until June, but now in Berlin.
  • jls21jls21 Posts: 40
    Thanks for your input on the fan recall correcting the a/c problem. That provides definite motivation for me to make an appointment to have it taken care of. Unfortunately at this time of year in Boston, I think I've seen the end of summer like heat and humidity. Unless we catch an unusual day, I may not be able to verify the disappearance of the a/c problem until next year. That's ok - I trust that you are correct. Someone else reported similar results. Thanks.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282

    My current information for a 2002 BMW 530i shows (base price + shipping): US invoice = $36,310. European Delivery invoice = $33,620. I got these figures from "", as they are not yet posted on Edmunds. Base invoice prices changed nominally from 2001 (up $45), so I am assuming the US MSRP for 2002 is going to be about $40,100 including shipping. If you can get a 12% discount on US MSRP over there, that works out to about $35,300 or $1,000 under US invoice. That's about what I expect to do by getting the car through discounted ED (i.e. $1,200-$1,500 over ED invoice), but I will obviously have offsetting trip expenses. I would say you're getting a heck of a deal. Want to get two and send one back to me?

    P.S. I have heard things that tend to confirm your analysis of the 530 vs. 540 tradeoff. However, regarding the E320 vs. 530i, I have become very suspect of Mercedes quality control. The new "C" class board lists numerous problems from small to significant. I would hope they do better with the new "E", but I still doubt that it will match the driving/handling experience of a 5-series. They just don't seem to make that a priority, even with their AMG cars (only automatics). Also, in response to your question, I live in upper northwest DC.


    You posted that your invoice price on a 2002 530i was $1,300 less than 2001 model with same options. I am curious as to how that can be? I am looking at a 530i 5-speed w/ sport/premium package and other assorted options. According to my figures, base invoice on 2001 & 2002 is almost identical $35,620 vs. $35,665. However, in 2001, sport/premium package was $3,655 whereas in 2002, they are only priced separately at $1,955 + $2,805 for a $4,760 total. The 2002 price appears to include the sport seats ($405 in 2001) and the convenice package ($510 in 2001), but even considering these additions, the 2002 still has an invoice that's up $200 from a 2001. What am I missing??
  • Getting ready to purchase a '01 530iA. Will the Motorola Timeport I have in my '01 S500 work in this car? Does BMW use the Timeport, and if so, does it share the same circuitry as the Benz?

    Also, how long wil it take to order a car these days and have it built to spec (assuming it can't be found available today?)

    Thanks in Advance
  • I miscalculated '01 ED and was therefore off, but there is still a savings depending on options. You are correct about the base price difference. My invoice savings over 2001 comes to $465. I didn't get the sport package which seems to be priced higher in 2002. My savings came from standard CD (-$170) and standard convenience (-$510) offset by increased premium (+$170) and increased base (+$45).
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