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BMW 5 Series Sport Wagons



  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Was it being driven by a BMW mechanic? If so, I'd fork over the money to the dealer and expect them to come up with something similar or better. If not, I might try to argue with the insurance company a little more (not sure if it's moot by now), and/or apply some pressure on the mechanic's garage to assist (since it was their fault). Good luck.
  • Folks,

    I'm looking at a Pre-Owned 99 540 Wagon with 78,359 miles, titanium Gray, automatic, in absolutely beautiful condition. Asking price is $28,777. Any advise as to whether or not this is an adequately priced vehicle. I'm in California and the dealer is Weatherford of BMW.

    Thanks in advance -

    Cipo -
  • revkarevka Posts: 1,750
    Have you had a chance to check out Edmunds' Used Vehicle appraiser? This will give you the average cost others are paying for the same wagon in your region. Good luck, and please keep us posted on your purchase.


    Hatchbacks & Wagons Host

  • mod62mod62 Posts: 38
    I have had my new '02 525iT titanium silver and gray leather with PP and CWP. I had to sacrifice from the wagon I was going to order (5speed, titanium grey with black leather, SP, PP, CWP, Xenon's) because the dealer really want to move the car and I ended up paying three grand under invoice.

    I am very impressed with the car over the last two weeks. I hope I do not miss the SP!

    Any idea if the new platform will include a wagon.
    It would be great timing when my lease is up. I hate sedans and Automatics!
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    There's obviously no official information, but rumors have it there'll be sedan, wagon, and even hatchback (according to the 12/02 Automobile) variations of the next 5-series. 4WD may be an option on all of them.
  • I just saw (did not test drive as it was late) a 2002 525T Sport Wagon with auto, premium and sport package. List is $46K and dealer will sell for $40.9K. Three questions for you who own or have driven this vehicle:(i)is it underpowered?,(ii) how does it handle inclement weather, i.e., rain and snow (I don't live in Canada but we do get snow/wet conditions from time to time (Midwest)), and (iii) what do you think about the price and the vehicle? Thanks! Ciao, Jon.
  • I too am considering this wagon when our lease expires on our current vehicle in 5 months. I do live in Canada and the points you raise are identical to the concerns I have. I have spoken to a few people here in Toronto who do drive BMW's and they have told me that the winter driving is a none issue in anything but the most severe snow storms. Based on my past experience with rear wheel drive,I would have to agree providing you install some quality snow tires. As for the engine,I have also read many good reviews stating that although 183 hp seems low on paper,it translates quite well on the road. In fact,it probably out performs cars that are rated much higher. I think this car is more about balance and handling than raw speed anyway. I'm looking forward to a test drive soon.
    Just as a side note,the other two wagons that I am considering are th Saab 9-5 Aero and the Volvo XC70. The Audi A4 Avant is stunning but a little small for my lifestyle.
    Good luck!
  • Thanks for your comments. If you test drive the BMW, I would appreciate it if you posted your thoughts on the car. I like the looks of the Audi but agree, too small, the Volvo I find too boxy and to suburbanite (I live in the city, no kids, nothing wrong with the burbs if you have kids!), and the SAAB looks great but colleagues have had a lot of problems with them and say repairs are expensive... Ciao, Jon.
  • Also considering 525 wagon. My choice is between 525 and Passat W8. Any thoughts?
  • I can't seem to get a good reading on what the auto critics are saying about the W8. I have read many rave reviews as well as some that are not as flattering. The 1.8T and the v6 are constantly praised for their excellent qualities and good value but the W8 seems to get criticized for having too much technology in such a small package. Go Figure..
    Anyway,getting to the comparison,I think the VW will definitely be much faster and the AWD is a definite bonus. All in all,it's very interesting package that I personally think deserves a serious look.
    The 525 speaks for itself so I don't think I would be saying anything that has not already been said. One point however which you may want to consider is that this is the last year for this model. I look at this as an opportunity to grab what may be one of the finest sedans/Wagons on the planet. Although the technology and designs are advancing,I think the auto manufactures are making their new models less interesting and as a result,they are loosing their identity.
    Loss of quality is also an issue on some of these newer models.
    Just my 2 cents on this.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Hmm...that's a tough one. My previous car was a '98 Passat 1.8T. My 530i is a big step up in most every way. But the 525 and the W8 are much closer. I've driven a 525i manual (sedan), and I found its engine peppy but--for me--lacking power. Encumbered with the extra weight of the wagon and the slower automatic, it does 0-60 in nearly 9 seconds, which is decent but uninspiring. I'm sure the W8 wagon--with an extra pair of cylinders and 100 additional ponies under the hood--will be much livelier. As for handling, the BMW would get the nod for crisper and more sporty responsiveness. Otherwise, the BMW build quality and feature list may slightly edge out the W8, but as the top-drawer model in the VW line, the W8 is equipped well and built solidly. I recommend you drive both extensively and judge for yourself. You may also want to consider the Audi A6 3.0 Avant.
  • Hi,
    A friend of mine is a Saab mechanic. He says that the 9-5 is the best one they've built, BUT he says there have always been problems with the plugs because they have a coil for each plug. The high temps of the turbos make these fail and he says it's very expensive to fix it. It is a flaw, he feels in the design. I read that for 2003 they have changed it (I imagine lots of angry drivers got them to fix this problem that wasn't an "if" problem, but a "when" problem.) That took the Saab out of the running for me. The Volvos have a reputation for AWD troubles from what I've read. The Passat is one I'm interested in but the AWD drops the gas mileage a lot. For Audis, if you want a fast one, look at the S6 wagon. It's very fast and sporty. My brother has an A6 3.3 with sport package and loves it.
    I've always wanted a bimmer wagon. I'm looking at two 99 528 sedans, but today saw a 99 528t. It's an automatic, with 67km on it, no packages though. It has had a fender bender in the back quarter panel fixed by BMW. They want 33,900.00 for it which seems a bit high since it's had an accident and doesn't have any sprot or premium package. They have had it for a month and say they want to move it. It might be something I could get them to drop the price a bit more on. I don't know if there's much advantage to this wagon vs. a 528i with sport, or one with the premium package, both for 36,900.00 All of them would be pushing my budget. My brother says for that money I could get a brand new A4, or a decked out Subaru, or late model Passat. But they don't have the style of the BMWs for me.
    my 2 cents,
    cdn driver
  • mod62mod62 Posts: 38
    I have just finished putting 2,000 miles on my '02 525iT with PP and CWP.

    Here is my two cents on the various topics I have seen recently.
    1. The competition that I test drove as compared to my purchase:
    525iT - great handling even without the SP (which I thought would have been a deal breaker). Power - Another concern. Almost went with 530 but I hate sedans. With the 5 speed, this car is great at the lower gears. Lack of torque is noticeable above 80 mph but not enough to sacrifice stick or wagon. If I had to get an automatic and could not afford the 540, I would be really perplexed. I agree that the power would probably be under whelming and a deal breaker. I would probably have to go with the W8 or the A6 3.0.The Future 5 series - I've heard mixed info on survival of wagon ranging from production stopping on '03 in 3/03 and no more wagons ever to hatchback and wagon in next generation.
    Snow Handling - You know I never had a problem in upstate NY with my college car which was a 4 speed '78 RWD Buick SkyHawk with snow tires so I doubt I will have a problem with my BMW with stability and traction control plus snow tires when I go to my ski house every weekend. Hell, I would do it without snows. As a matter of fact, I did it this past weekend with a couple of inches without snows and it never wavered.
    a. A4 3.0 5speed - Excellent power. No room to haul things. Right knee rubbed against center console. Concern about quality. Did not handle as well as the BMW. The right knee thing really bothers me and it perplexed C&D in a recent review. If they can't get this right, what about other areas.
    b. A6 3.0 -no stick
    c. S6 - too much money
    d. Allroad - too much money and not great handling
    e. Volvo T6 - good power. terrible handling and the worse shocks. My '92 Integra with 160,000 miles and original shocks felt better!
    f. W8 - did not test drive but drove the V6 extensively. Concerned about reliabilty and bad handling
    g. SAAB 95 - The worst of the lot. The car is on a really old platform and it felt it.
  • I'm seriously considering ordering a 525i wagon that I'd pick up in Munich in July 2003. Two questions:

    1. I've had cars in which including something like a performance package made the ride fairly harsh! They weren't BMWs. How much effect on the ride quality does the PP have? Is getting this worth it on a 184 hp vehicle?

    2. From some of the notes it appears that BMW may quit producing the 2003 525i wagons well before I'd pick one up in July in Munich. Is this the case? What is likely to happen if I order one in, say, January 2003 to be picked up in Munich in July 2003? Will they produce it and just let is sit for a few months?
  • mod62mod62 Posts: 38
    It definitely has an effect. Was it worth it for me to order an '03 and lose out on the $3,0000 under invoice that I saved getting an '02? NO, but if I was to order one I would get the SP, plus you get the better steering wheel, shifter and seats.
    The dealer told me that the last production month is 3/03. I would ask the dealer about waiting around until July to pick it up.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I haven't driven the 525i wagon per se, but I will say that on the sedans (and the 540 wagon sport I've driven), the sport package makes a big difference, and I strongly recommend it above all other packages or options. The ride harshness barely increases, but the overal grip and body control improvements are dramatic and make the car much more capable and confidence-inspiring.
  • I've never owned a BMW. As a previous note indicated (and thanks very much to those who responed to it!) I am seriously exploring European deliver of a BMW wagon in July 2003. Other than the increase in size, what really is the difference between the 325i and 525i? Are their serious mechanical/engineering differences that make the latter worth about $8,000 more? Consumer Reports certainly rates the 5 higher--but both seem highly rated by auto magazines.

    Two final questions:
    1. I have not been happy with home-version of Harmon Kardon products. Is this upgrade really worth it? (Or are the good ways to improve the sound otherwise).

    2. I know nothing about Xenon headlight systems. Are they worth the $500?

    Thanks very much to whomever replies. Please let me know the background of your BMW experience with your responses.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    The 5-series is BMW's "midsize" sedan, the 3-series its "compact" sedan (although they're compact and subcompact, respectively, by EPA standards, if memory serves). While the 5 offers slightly more interior volume, it feels much roomier, since it's wider. The 5 is built on a slightly older, but still exceptional, platform that has earned it countless accolades as the benchmark in its class. The overall fit and finish, luxury amenities, and feature list is a notch higher in the 5-series than the 3. The 3, however, is cheaper, lighter, and more nimble. I definitely think the price difference is justified between the two, but you should test drive both and decide for yourself.

    As for your other questions: I think the HK system is standard on 3-series now, although it used to be an option. Nevertheless, I think it's a worthwhile upgrade. On the 5-series, the only audio option is a DSP Premium system, which has attracted much debate over its value. I personally like it and have opted for it, but you should listen to it yourself and decide. The xenon lights are awesome and well worth the price. Their light output is far superior to standard halogens, so I consider them an important safety feature.
  • I just drove a 2002 525 with PP and CWP - sticker was $42,295. Does anyone have a feel as to what a good price on this would be in the Chicago area? I get conflicting reports in the media as to what is available incentive-wise (2.9% vs. 1.9%) and $3,000 dealer cash (according to Chicago Tribune but not Edmund's).

  • hayemhayem Posts: 8
    I am thinking of purchasing a 2000 5 series wagon and giving up the suv life, however I'm concerned that I will not get used of driving back in a car atmosphere (low to the ground) I have had bmers before and my love will always be with the BMW,s and I found this great certified one with only 20,000 miles should I take the pliunge back to car style driving
  • We have a 525 wagon, a K3500 Chevy (full-size
    pickup), and a VW Cabrio . Neither my wife nor I seem to have a problem switching back and forth
    among them. BUT you're certainly correct, it is
    nice to be able to OVER what's in front of you.
  • the 5 series wagon just isn't all that functional. We have an '01 525iT, and just sold our spare car, an '02 Explorer; we're already missing the 4WD, 7 seats and enormous cargo room. The 5 barely holds the four of us (with my 15 year old and myself both 6 footers), and heading off for a ski weekend was a challenge in packaging. Although BMW considers it a midsize, it's really not-check out the EPA figures which show the 5 wagon has less room inside than a Ford Focus wagon.
    On build quality, I'm not quite sure what people mean by that expression , but after owning four BMW's, I don't think they're all that strong in that department. Our current wagon has no squeaks or rattles (or at least it doesn't now that I've removed the luggage cover from the back), but neither did the Explorer, or any of the last several new cars we've owned over the past few years from a variety of foreign and domestic manufacturers. What the 5 has had though are a series of niggling problems, like plastic interior parts falling off (the kind of thing reviewers always freak over when it happens in a GM vehicle), warning lights going on for no reason, climate control acting funky, etc. etc. Nothing major, but a lot of trips to the dealer where we had to leave the car because they were so busy fixing niggling problems on other beemers.
    And speaking of the climate conrol system,let me be the first (and doubtless only) voice in favor of opting for the manual system, and avoiding the optional CC. This system is a complete pain in the neck, and as far as I am concerned offers no real benefit (except possibly for resale value, since everyone expects a car in this price range to have one).
    As to how to configure a potential purchase, I'd likewise disagree with just about everthing written above. The stock suspension is superb-unless you live on Hwy. 1, the "improvement" in handling provided by the SP is hardly worth the tradeoff in ride quality. The Xenon lights are not just inconsiderate to other drivers (not usually a consideration for BMW drivers but I thought I'd mention it), but worthless on steep hills (like the one I live on) since the self leveling feature keeps the lights from pointing up on an uphill, thereby rendering them ineffectual.
    Don't opt for the upgraded stereo either. It's not as bad as the standard model (which is shockingly terrible), but an aftermarket upgrade to an ADS amp is a much less expensive and far superior solution.
    And lastly, for those thinking of moving out of their SUV's into something that will be a little less harsh on the environment, our 5 wagon's mileage is stunningly poor. Our best mileage ever is barely 20 mpg (cruising down dead flat Hwy 5),and the car averages 17-18 mpg; this from a 2.5 litre engine with just over 180 hp. And using premium. (The car does, however, feel much faster than the official hp rating would suggest). Every time I rent a bigger more powerful domestic and get in the mid to high 20's on regular gas I'm reminded at how simply awful the 5's mileage really is.
    So, with all of this griping, why am i still driving a 5 wagon with a big fat smile on my face, after having owned three other BMW's with similar limitations?
    Like I said at the beginning, it's fun.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    fastbuck... Guess you should be glad BMW doesn't sell the 520i wagon in America like it does in Europe? (Bimmer magazine had an interesting review of this odd bird about a year ago.) But then why doesn't BMW sell the 530i wagon in America? The 5 Series wagon would shine with the 3.0L engine. And it would gets you the equivalent of the automotive Holy Grail: more power, improved acceleration, and better fuel economy. The 2.5L engine is underpowered in the heavy wagon. Heck, my 540i6 gets 26 mpg on highway cruising at 74 mph.

    I tend to agree with much, though not all, of what you said. Think you are wrong about the Sport Package. But the 5 Series BMW sound systems are mediocrity incarnate. And paying a king's ransom for a mediocre upgrade isn't worth it. I, too, would prefer decent, simple manual climate control system. But a test drive with the family before you bought it would have quickly confirmed all that you have said regarding its lack of interior space, both for passengers and cargo. That is so obviously self evident, even with the Mark 1 eyeball (let alone with the assistance of the Federal EPA data). Maybe it proves the point that driving is more than just getting from Point A to Point B. It should be fun and rewarding. Something few SUVs or other wagons have going for them.

    I spent a few days in a 2002 525i wagon when my wife's 2000 323i was being worked on. She loved it. I did, too. Would make a nice second car some day. But with the 4.4L V-8 over the 2.5L I-6.
  • mod62mod62 Posts: 38
    In just went up to my ski house for the first time this season. I do have a roof carrier, but with four people (two over 6 ft) and skis, boots, linens, food, clothing, Christmas presents, etc we traveled comfortably.

    I agreee that a 3.0 L in this wagon would be great but with my 5 speed I am able to make it hum. Unfortunately, the 4.4 does not come in stick version.

    Any further updates on what skin, the E60 will be in? Sedan, Hatchback, Wagon (please!). Will 5 speed remain?

    One final question. 91 Octane is required. Many companies (Exxon, Gulf) do not offer 91, only 93. An engineer friend of mine said that 93 does not allow ultimate performance. Is this true?
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I can't imagine an E60 hatchback, but sedan and (probably several months later) a wagon are good bets, and rumors have swirled about AWD versions as well. My guess is they'll continue to offer the stick on the 6-inline, but the numbers would be too small to offer it for the V8 wagons.

    As for the fuel question, I take it your friend is not a chemical/mechanical engineer. While it's true that these cars are configured to delivery optimum performance at around 91 octane, anything higher (to an extent) will simply add greater engine knock protection (but will not add HP). Going LOWER than 91, however, and the engine will retard ignition timing and adjust the valvetrain to prevent knocks, which WILL reduce power output somewhat.
  • mod62mod62 Posts: 38
    Thanks Snagiel. Your input is always appreciated. The "friend" is more of an acquantinance, so I will have to approach him with the facts!
  • mod62mod62 Posts: 38
    There is quite a range in tire pressure requirements in the manual and the B-pillar of my '02 525iT 5-speed.
    I have Michelin 225/55 R16 95H M+S and Michelin Alpin Snow Tires with the same configuration as the M+S.
    1. Should the presure be different for the snows in each of the questions below? If so, please respond with both answers.
    2. The maximum psi with four people is 30psi in the front and 36psi in the rear with four occupants. 80% of my driving is just me. What is the optimal pressure for driving alone? If I do have four passengers should the pressure be at the max of 30/36?
    3. Same questions as 2, but the manual shows 36 (front) and 44 (rear) with 5 passengers and luggage. Why is their such a jump in pressure. Are the amounts in quotes pound limits. That is, 36(250).
    4. Is there a weight guideline I can go by because I also have a luggage carrier I need to factor in, especially during ski season.

  • I have a 99 540iTa and I run 36/44. I have tried the lower pressures and I keep going back to the higher ones. The mileage is better, the steering is a bit easier, and the cornering seems a bit tighter with the higher pressures. On the minus side, the ride is harsher and I notice little rattles or noises more.
  • I'm considering buying a 5 series wagon. My husband has the BMW convertible and doesn't like how it drives in the snow. Recognizing that his sports car and a wagon will drive quite differently, I think we'll be ok with a rear wheel drive wagon. Can people who have driven the wagon in the snow let me know how its been? THANKS
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Aside from the X5's and AWD 3-series iX models, BMW's are sport-oriented RWD cars. To significantly improve winter traction with either the wagon or the convertible, invest in a quality set of winter tires. If you also buy a set of wheels for the winter, you'll be able to easily swap them out yourself without having to get them mounted and balanced at the beginning and end of the winter season. Check out the wheel and tire packages at, which can quickly suggest well-reviewed tires that will fit your wagon (or his convertible).
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