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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • sdg380sdg380 Member Posts: 109
    tbrown, this was where I was at years ago before I bought my '91 525. While there may be practical and prudent reasons to go with the Acura, there is one outstanding aspect of the BMW's that can't be said for many cars: they are simply a pleasure to drive. On the open road, to the grocery store, on the perfect back road, to the office, there really is something to that "ultimate" stuff. Well, it's not free. Acura's are great bargains, good reliability, respectable resale, but they just cannot stir the blood like a BMW. I just always figured any extra $$ for maintenance, etc., was the price of poker. As I say, if I want to economize, I'll buy a Corolla. If optimized value is no.1 to you, think about the Acura, but otherwise, you will not regret the BMW (plus, you will avoid the inevitable "car envy" you will have if you don't get it.)
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Member Posts: 539
    You don't have to make another run at that speed. All you have to do is check your RPM's in your highest gear at normal cruising speed. My guess is that at 2000 RPM's in overdrive you will be doing somewhere near 70 MPH, or assuming that you have the factory 530 with sport pkg and automatic, 60 MPH. OK?
  • dabimmerdabimmer Member Posts: 165
    Does any one out there know if the 2003 540i utilizes the rack and pinion or does it still use the recirculating ball? If it does use the recirc-ball will this change for MY 2004? Thanx.
  • diver110diver110 Member Posts: 67
    I agree with sdg380 that BMWs are just plain fun to drive. I used to be into sports cars, had a series of Z's and even a 911 once that I dropped a 3 liter into. I test drove a BMW once along the way, but found it underpowered. The 911 kind of burned me out. It got too expensive and needed a lot of repairs. For about ten years I drove Accords and a Volvo 850. Recently I got a good deal on a 2000 BMW 540i so I went for it. I kept the Volvo for the snow. Driving the Volvo feels like driving a truck in comparison. And of course, a 540 is anything but underpowered (though I still think many of the cars in the BMW line could use some extra zip--may explain why the Infinity G35 is doing so well). I may be seriously falling off the wagon and going back to my old sports car ways. Now I am thinking about making the car a little hotter with upgrade tires and wheels (though I worry about rim damage as I live in Baltimore, a city with bad roads). Probably just a late mid-life crisis (for it to be mid-life, I would have to live to be 102).
  • diver110diver110 Member Posts: 67
    The 540i I just bought has fairly low mileage, 26,000, so I assume I will not have near-term reliability problems, but as they get into the 50,000-100,000 mile territory, how do BMWs do in terms or reliability and repair expenses?
  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    From what I have read hear and other BMW newsgroups, there are some known weak spots in the 540i line. Those being mainly the radiator and the crank position sensor which there might be a recall on I am not sure. Other than that, it seems to me that the reliability is not the issue if proper maintenance is maintained. That being said, I own a 1998 528i 5sp with 93k miles on it. I bought it with 80k miles on it and had the maintenance history check before I purchased. Everthing was up to par and the car was babied. I have have a few minor problems that I haven't had time to take it to the dealer to get fixed, but nothing ground breaking. The biggest things the remote trunk buttons stopped working. After reading some posts I think it might be the lever in the trunk was pushed up too hard by my kids and is in the stuck position. I need to take 30 mins. on a Saturday and peal the cover off and investigate. If it is something big then I will take it to the dealer, I still have a CPO warranty until 100k. Other than that, there is a rattle in my driver side door due to a collision shop breaking the lower rear pocket on the door. I plan on fixing that myself, it just seems that it is glued onto the door trim. There is nothing else wrong with the car. It performs flawlessly, and soon I will be getting an oil change. I had an inspection II shortly after I bought the car to the tune of $500. Not cheap, but considering what they covered it really wasn't that bad. All fluids(brake, trans, power steering) except the coolant were replaced I believe, as well as sparkplugs, cabin filters, visual inspection of suspension and brakes. It all looks good so I am ready to go another 15k miles. I plan on having the brakes done at the end of the year. I am probably getting new tires next month.
  • sergeymsergeym Member Posts: 283
    I have to take my previous statement back. At 3500 RPM my car (540ia/3.15 rear) would only do 100 mph. Checked today. Had to accelerate quickly but kept in in the 5th gear all the time. Did not risk to go 115 mph. To many cars and cops were around.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Member Posts: 539
    Close to what my calculations would suggest assuming that your car is geared like riez's table - 3.15 axle ratio 0.8 overdrive - final drive ratio 2.5:1. not sure about tires. I hope you guys are not thinking that the engine will start to run slower as you go faster??? Engine speed and MPH are linearly linked except for torque converter slippage, which is zero if the converter is locked up.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    diver110... See my recent post at #6603. Both Roundel (BMW CCA) and Bimmer magazines are a great source of info on reliability, service, maintenance, etc. issues. Consumer Reports publishes their info annual. Intellichoice and some others look at long-term ownership costs (e.g., over 5 years). This web site and others with forums are also a good source of info.

    Five keys to long-term reliability: (1) Luck. Hope they assembled your car right the first time and there aren't any ticking time bombs. (2) Maintenance. Follow the schedule religiously. Keep your fluids clean and at proper levels. And as #6603 points out, go beyond. Changing transmission and differential fluids is an overlooked area. Do a periodic 4-wheel alignment. Best thing you can do for you tires, esp. if you have staggered wheel. (3) Treat your car properly. Doing lots of high RPM drop-clutch smoky tire burnouts won't help reliability or longevity. Avoid potholes and curbs. Avoid bird excrement and bright sunlight. Wash & wax. (4) Use modern synthetic fluids. Synthetic oil highly recommended. Don't skimp on fluids! (5) Pray.

    The Tech Q&A editor I mentioned at #6603 says that electronic gremlins are the likeliest problems for the E39 540i. There are a ton of complex electronic components. Everything seems to have an electronic control module these days. Along with some engine-related issues.

    I bought my '98 540i6 CPO when she had 52K. She now has 75K. I haven't had any major problems. All the minor ones covered by CPO warranty. Biggest expense was a new set of ContiSportContract2 tires. There are some squeaks and rattles, but she is a blast to drive!
  • diver110diver110 Member Posts: 67
    Thanks for the feeback riez. The original warranty on the 2000 BMW 540i I just bought runs out in October (it officially started life in 10/99). I can buy a 7 year/70,000 mile extended warranty from BMW that will cover most things for $1681 with a $250 deductible. Since I kept my older Volvo for the snow, I don't anticipate putting more than 10,000 miles on this car each year, if that. It now has 26,000. Say I get to 30,000 by October (maybe a bit more), in 3 more years (end of 7 year warranty) I would be around 60,000, perhaps a bit more. I would appreciate feedback on whether the extended warranty is worth it. Also, I would like to express my thanks to board members who have been very helpful with feedback to this BMW newbie.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 236,477
    Are you sure thats a warranty from BMW, or just from your BMW dealer? I've never heard of BMW offering an extended warranty other than the CPO warranty. I doubt I would spend that much for a third party warranty.


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  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    And has he seen the welcome page recently? Have the rest of you seen it?

  • fjk57702fjk57702 Member Posts: 539
  • TSchrammTSchramm Member Posts: 106
    My comments from the '4 redesign topic as to why I bought now instead of waiting for the '04...

    ..."After finally deciding that the '04 5-series looks like a collision between an '04 Pontiac Grand Prix and a Toyota Camry, I went down to the BMW dealer and traded my '98 528 for an '03 530. The '03 design is familiar and classic. Looks like BMW decided to create a new look just for the sake of looking new. Mechanical improvements, no doubt, but the '04 is a Japanese-inspired aesthetic mistake, IMO. "
  • dabimmerdabimmer Member Posts: 165
    What is it? Went to Home page and didn't see anything ... tried Welcome page but there isn't
  • dabimmerdabimmer Member Posts: 165
    Great , congrats and very well deserved.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    diver110... Your post points out the value of the CPO program. That adds 2 yr/50K of coverage on top of the original 4yr/50K. If your car had been CPO, it would be under a BMW warranty thru 10/05. CPO is only way to go when buying a recent vintage used BMW.

    I concur with kyfdx. Haven't heard BMW NA offering any extended warranties. Their only program is CPO. All the other extended warranties I've seen or read about were 3rd party warranties. I'm not a big fan of these. Expensive and usually limited coverage. Might have hassles getting them to pay and BMW dealer might want payment up front from you or the company.
  • srfastsrfast Member Posts: 138
    Only the 525/530i use rack & pinion. Don't know about the new E60 5 series.

    Hope this helps...JL
  • cmr530icmr530i Member Posts: 278
    Now everyone knows what we all know (about you, of course)!
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,409
    congrats my man!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    Sales data issue came up in the E60 Redesign board. Thought the latest data interesting. Not good for BMW NA. Very good for MB NA.

    Check out AutoSite's data in their Market Research Section. Here is the latest on SEDANS as of end of April:

    Model 4/03 4/02 YTD 03 YTD 02

    BMW 3 6394 6546 23597 21432
    BMW 5 4240 3929 12827 13518
    BMW 7 1753 2125 ..6385 ..6679

    So total YTD sales of both 5 and 7 Series are down. Only 3 Series sedans up YTD. 5 Series sales up for month of April. But April sales down for both 3 and 7.

    MB data much better.

    MB C 4277 4133 15135 14568
    MB E 4228 2614 16789 11057
    MB S 2042 2002 ..7292 ..6640

    April sales of C, E, and S classes up. Notice the huge increase in E Class, both in April and YTD. E Class Outselling C class YTD! MB E and S class outsell BMW 5 and 7, but 3 outsells C.
  • dabimmerdabimmer Member Posts: 165
    Thanks and I'll try to find out about the E60.
  • tbrown12tbrown12 Member Posts: 18
    I am looking at 2000 528i sports with under 26k miles. I was told from several dealers (not BMW though) that as long as the car has under 50k miles you can purchase up to 100k total mile warranty through/from BMW not a third party insurer. If it has over 50k you can only purchase third party warranties.

    Is this true?

  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    tbrown12... I haven't heard of such a thing. CPO program is only thru BMW dealers. Think these non-BMW dealers selling you a line in order to sell you one of their non-CPO units. Non-CPO used car has the original warranty and free maintenance agreements but nothing beyond that. To get that, you'd have to go 3rd party extended warranty.

    You should (1) check out BMW NA web site (which has info on the original factory 4/50 b-to-b warranty and the additional 2/50 CPO program (which is different in coverage than the 4/50 warranty) and (2) ask you local BMW dealer.

    Check out posts 6628 & 6635 above.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    Coming home from church the Spirit possessed me. :)

    At 100 mph in 6th gear (overdrive) my 540i6 turns over at about 3,000 RPMs. Since BMW speedometers are notoriously fast, she was likely only doing 95 mph or thereabouts. She rides on 235/45-17s up front and 255/40-17s in back, ContiSportContact2s.

    I'd be amazed if a 530i5 can do 115 mph at or under 3000 RPMs. I doubt a 530i5 can that at or under 3500 RPMs. Maybe closer to 4K?
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Member Posts: 5,751
    Congrats on your acknowledgment on the welcome page.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Member Posts: 16,409
    Since autoweek reviewed the new 5 a week or 2 ago, look for the monthly mags to do it in the upcoming issue. I may have to fork over the $8 or so to see what CAR says. CAR is usually nothing less than BRUTRALLY honest.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe, 2023 Toyota Tacoma SR 4WD

  • tbrown12tbrown12 Member Posts: 18
    Thanks I will check into it. What I heard/was told was that as long as the car had under 50k you could purchase the additional 2yr 50k warranty directly from BMW. It's not CPO as it did not go through the detailed inspection. Not sure on the loan car either. I will check with the local BMW dealer.

    Source was a sales person who had worked for quite some time at a large Dallas BMW dealership.

    I had also heard this might work with other car companies pushing CPO's like Lexus too.
  • fielding_yostfielding_yost Member Posts: 17
    I'm new to the Town Hall, and I'm sorry I didn't find this sooner. I've already learned so much thanks to everyone here.

    Has anyone heard when BMW will stop taking orders for the '03 5ers. I'm desperately looking for a 5 speed with no sport package b/c I understand that the SP makes it significantly harder to drive in snow, even with snow tires. No dealership seems interested in letting me order a 525 or 530 with the manual tranny and no SP. Are they just trying to avoid placing the order or has BMW really stopped manufacturing the '03 MY already?

    If production has in fact switched over to the '04 MY, has anyone heard any info on potential pricing? I ask b/c I fear that the '04 5er will be priced out of my reach, given the inclusion of this seemingly maddening iDrive boondoggle.

  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    Someone is feeding you a line regarding the SP and snow. True, the OEM SP tires are useless in the white stuff, but a set of dedicated winter tires/wheels will allow a SP car to handle winter weather just fine.
  • pap5pap5 Member Posts: 144
    And how does one find it?
  • jb_shinjb_shin Member Posts: 357
    is this month. The last date to order one was 4/7 in Germany, but in the states one could find a dealer with allocations that may have not been built yet. If you can still find one, you can "order" it the way you want. Good luck
  • joatmonjoatmon Member Posts: 315
    Yes, but I understand that 525i and 540i w/ manual transmissions are still possible, but that all 530i w/manuals have been built.

  • diver110diver110 Member Posts: 67
    I was finally able to reach the person at the BMW dealership to whom I talked about the extended warranty. As several people on the board have pointed out, BMW does not offer an extended warranty program outside of the certified car one. This warranty in question is offered by Car Care Connection. For what it is worth, the guy at the BMW dealer says you do not pay first for the repair, they do all their extended warranty business through Car Care, and they are a reputable company. They give the repair facility a credit card for the work. I assume I would have no trouble if the BMW dealership that sells the warranty does the work. Outside of that, I suppose it might get more challenging, though I doubt a BMW dealership would deal with them if they were not reasonably reputable.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    diver110... Check the fine print. Pore over all the details. What is covered? Not covered? Is there a deductible? Is it transferable if you sell the car? What happens if you are traveling?

    You might ask BMW dealer to compare this 3rd party warranty to BMW CPO warranty.

    You wrote: "I doubt a BMW dealership would deal with them if they were not reasonably reputable." If a dealer sells 3rd party extended warranties, they do so to make money. Often these sorts of products can be very high profit for dealers. More likely they choose the carrier by how much profit they can make.
  • patpat Member Posts: 10,421
    Click on the "Town Hall" link that follows the You are here note at the top and bottom of the list of messages on this page.

    My question is WHERE IS SHIPO?? Maybe he is traveling...
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Member Posts: 5,504
    the people who know the most don't always post here.

    I agree, Shipo is probably traveling. I've been to Taiwan 22 times -- perhaps he's back there.
    '08 Acura TSX, '17 Subaru Forester
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Member Posts: 539
    He's in Europe - London and perhaps elsewhere. Look back for the keyword "pond".
  • tbrown12tbrown12 Member Posts: 18
    I have driven both and prefer the feel of the 528i sport even though the 330ci has faster 0-60mph time. Would like a 530i or 540i but just out of my car budget. The 2000 528i sport and 2001 330ci at low miles are around the same wholesale prices of 26-28k.
    The 330ci would be newer and faster. Any upside or downside to the 528i sport over the 330ci besides room. Resale, ride, handling, repairs, maintenance, etc.

  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    tbrown12... You won't go wrong either way. Both are great cars. How important are the 4/50 b-to-b warranty and 3/36 free maintenance time/miles to you? Do you drive a lot of miles each year? Warranty and free maintenance considerations might favor the '01. (I'm assuming you are going CPO.)
  • 530ia2003530ia2003 Member Posts: 4
    I'm planning to buy a 2003 530i with titanium gray metallic color. I would appreciate input/thought from anybody regarding this color.
  • jbf5jbf5 Member Posts: 32
    530ia2003, I bought an 03 530i a few months back and was planning to go with Titanium Gray based on the colors in the catalog. But when I spent some time on a dealer lot (on a sunny day) looking at colors, I ended up liking Sterling Gray much more. It seems to have more luster and almost glows. Titanium Gray seemed sort of flat. I have a few coats of Zaino Z-5 and Z-2 on the car now, and have gotten quite a few compliments on the color. Bottom line is, be sure you see the colors live on the cars, outside if possible.
  • dzubadzuba Member Posts: 159
    Have to say 4 weeks into this ride and it is awesome. Should have made this purchase a year ago. Oh well.....

    I need some help on what wax to use? Is Zaino Z-5 and Z-2 a BMW wax, or are there special BMW waxes out there?

    How often do you guys/gals really wax your car?
  • cmr530icmr530i Member Posts: 278
    I now wax my 5 when the water no longer beads up nicely on the car. I was doing it more often, but realized that it was not necessary. I also do it in sections. Maybe the hood, roof and trunk one time, then the sides another. That way I am not spending hour upon hour waxing. I use the BMW auto wax sold at the dealer. It is an easy to use liquid that requires little effort. Congrats on your 5.
  • karmikankarmikan Member Posts: 116
    Absolutely agree that you need to see the color on the car. Sterling Gray didn't really appeal to me in the catalog but when I saw it on a car I really liked it. Don't see many 5's in this color but it seems to show off the car's lines nicely.
  • srfastsrfast Member Posts: 138
    I had a difficult time deciding what color to order and picked Sterling Gray. No regrets. Click the link to see pictures of my car.

    Hope this helps.....JL

  • jbf5jbf5 Member Posts: 32
    Dzuba, Zaino is a third-party line of car care products (www.zainobros.com). Z-2 and Z-5 are polishes. There's an Edmunds board devoted to Zaino and another devoted to competing products. I've been very pleased with Zaino's results, but the process is effort-intensive. You may need to enjoy the journey as much as the destination to find it worthwhile.
  • tbrown12tbrown12 Member Posts: 18
    I can either buy a used 528i sport with under 30k miles and waranty with no money down on a 5 year purchase or get an 18k mile per year lease for 4 years on an '03 Acura TLS fully loaded. I like the BMW better as far as ride and fit for me.

    Concern: First time ever looking at a German car.

    The BMW folks say as long as I start with low miles and get the extended warranty I should be OK maintenance wise. Just stick to the schedule.

    The Acura lease people say the 528i will depreciate later this summer when the new 5 series comes out. Plus the annual maintenance for tires at 15k-20k miles, brakes (at 30k), rotors at (30k),inspection I and II, oil, hoses, belts, etc will add another $100 month to the 528i each year. Then in 5 years once I own it I'll be upside down. Even if I try to move it earlier I will be hit.

    I like the BMW but since I have never owned one, I am concerned with these potential additional costs.
    I don't want to spend another 1-2k year to drive the car, if the Acura people are correct.

    Who is telling the truth and who is B.S.'ing.
  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    In response to your questions, it sounds like the Acura dealer is trying to blow smoke up somewhere to make a sale. Yes Acura's and Honda's for that matter have resale values of gold. I should know, I just sold my 2000 Honda Civic Si back in December of last year for $9500 with 60k miles on it just because I wanted to get rid of it fast. I made about $2000 on the sale so that was cool. I had a 5 yr loan on that car and had paid about 3 yrs of it. Now I have a 1998 528i and I love it. There really is no comparison to the Civic of course. But I got a great deal on the 5er. Now my question is, how will you be upside down after the car is paid off? If you don't owe money, how can you have negative equity in the car. I believe the BMW might depreciate faster initially on the car. But I think that after about 2-3 years it will equal out. I do know that BMW's and all luxury brand cars really take a hit with higher miles. Acura's and Honda's don't because of the perception of them being bulletproof. Truth is, that Acura and Honda have scheduled Maintenance plans (just like every car) that you should follow. And don't be fooled, Acura and Honda parts aren't cheap. The difference in price will come with the labor costs if you go to the dealership. Of course Acura's and Honda's have mechanics more readily able to work on them. But with the BMW if you go to the dealership you will get robbed for regular maintenance if it is not covered under the maintenance program they have. Once that expires you can do what many people do and find either a very reputable BMW mechanic, or do it yourself if you are mechanically inclined. Most of the Inspection stuff can be done by a shade tree mechanic if you have the right tools and parts. There really isn't anything that is excessively hard, it might take time though. As for breaks and rotors, Acura's and Honda's tend to warp rather quickly. The pads last, but the rotors can't take the heat and warp. And like I said before, Acura and Honda parts are not cheap! In the end, if you follow both brands scheduled maintenance plans, I would say it is a wash in costs. The only factor might be tires if you have the sports package. But then again, my Michielin's that were stock on my Civic were $144 a piece and they were crappy in the rain and snow. In contrast my BMW's Dunlop Sport A2's cost about $67 apiece and were great in the snow, rain and had better grip on dry surfaces as well.

    It is up to you, I use to valet cars for two years and have changed my personal car every 2 to 3 years and I can freely say that my 528i is the best car I have ever driven in terms of balancing everything someone might want in a car.

  • habitat1habitat1 Member Posts: 4,282
    Congrats on your 530i! I know you did a lot of research.

    Regarding waxing, I have continued my use of Maguire's Professional #26 on both my 1995 Maxima and 2002 Honda S2000. I washed and waxed both cars about a month ago in 2 1/2 hours total. I wax my cars about 3 times per year on average. Most of the time, the previous wax is still beading, but I prefer not to wait. My Maxima continues to get compliments that "it looks brand new" at 140,000 miles.

    I have not tried the Zaino and Zymol products. It is my understanding that they may provide a better "wet look" shine immediately after use, but do not last as long as Maguires and take considerably more time to apply (multiple steps, I believe). Perhaps if my Honda S2000 were a Ferrari 360...but for now I am extremely pleased with Maguires.

    Good luck with your 530i. That's still my top choice for my next sedan.
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