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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • bdevilbdevil Posts: 3
    This fall I tried to negotiate discounts off ED list pricing for a 530I from two north shore dealers. Neither would budge off ED list. I was ready to buy that day at $1500 over ED invoice, which I let them know, and both let me walk without even an attempt at negotiations. My sense is the Chicago market dealers sell the bulk of their allocations without the need for aggressive discounting and they are worried that discounting off of ED list would cause some erosion in both the overall market pricing for new as well as pre-owned product. Just look at the asking prices for recent model used 530i's in the Chicago market. Having said all that, I haven't tested the market beyond those two dealers who were closest to me. Keep us informed of your results.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Sorry about the delayed response, but I just returned from a weekend break...

    I selected XPel as well and have been pleased with it. The installation is fairly straightforward, but as I said it requires both practice and patience in perfecting the art of applying the film. When ordering, be sure to ask for the free video that demonstrates how to install. They make it look easy, but view it over and over (and read the printed directions) until you know them well. Start with easier pieces like the headlight, fender, and side mirror pieces, and leave the hood piece until last. Set aside PLENTY of time--probably 6-8 hours total for the full kit--since you don't want to rush it. Don't be afraid to use too much of the water-alcohol solution: you can't get the stuff "too wet." Keep it wet, and you'll have enough time to ensure it's positioned correctly and no air bubbles are trapped. Also, do not install in direct sunlight, since that will dry the water-alcohol solution very quickly, but be sure there's sufficient light to easily spot air bubbles, since they can hide easily in shady conditions.

    Good luck. Email me if you have other questions.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Dent Wizard ( is a national chain, and I was extremely impressed with their operation here in Atlanta last year when I suffered a minor ding in one of my doors. I'm not certain how accessible the C-pillars are, but they did a great job with my car and had an immaculately impressive and upscale waiting area (although the finished the job in less than 15 minutes). The quick and professional job came at a price: $99 (up to 3 dings in a single panel). But I definitely recommend them.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    If it's true that Chicago dealers won't discount off ED list, I can make a recommendation for a western Pennsylvania dealer that will. I believe they can even arrange for "courtesy delivery" to a Chicago dealer when the car comes in from Europe. Then again, if the Chicago dealers are that nasty, you may not want to rub it in their face.

    Although small, the Pennsylvania dealer in my former home town is of high integrity. They refused to mark up M5's when they were selling for $25k+ premiums on E-Bay. When I stopped in their showroom a year ago, they were preparing an M5 for pick-up by a surgeon from Phoenix. Even if a local dealer in the DC area matches their price, I'd consider buying from them just to reward their professionalism.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    As I learned a long time, under my state's automobile dealer franchise laws, the selling dealer is responsible for warranty work. A non-selling dealer of the same brand doesn't even have to legally work on your car. Most dealers aren't as ruthless as that. But they could exercise ways to make your life a bit less pleasant. For example, my local BMW dealer will only "give" you a service loaner if you buy the car from him. I've heard stories about dealers who postpone service work or just otherwise make it a bit less convenient for people who didn't buy from them, by giving priority to those people who bought from them. My situation could be worse. Only one local dealer but there is another about 65 miles away. Next nearest ones are about 145 and 190 miles away.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    There's a difference between rewarding your loyal customers (giving them a service loaner) and punishing others (e.g. recommending unnecessary work).

    But, since many dealerships make a huge chunk (if not majority) of their profits from service work, why turn customers away? It's in the dealer's interest to make work covered by warranty, since they get paid either way and the customer is always more pleased when BMW has to pick up the tab.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I think I recall that you are from New York and if so, next to California, they have some of the strangest state laws...but:

    In my researching the same issue, it is a "manufacturers" warranty, not a "dealer" warranty. Unless you leave the U.S., you are entitled to warranty work at ANY BMW dealership. That doesn't mean the dealer is legally bound to be polite or prompt, but they must perform the work. And, according to a BMW North America representative I contacted several months ago, they would be more than happy to intervene, if necessary. He even sent me a letter confirming this policy. Dealers are a mixed lot, but BMW NA impressed me as customer service oriented.

    Too bad you don't have more competition in your area.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    I was only merely trying to comment on why sometimes bypassing your local dealer might not be such a good thing. Esp. if your dealer isn't one of the "good guys". They know where you bought your car. They know you didn't buy it from them. They might not presume you'll ever buy anything from them. Too bad it seems like so few dealers are interested in taking care of valued, loyal customers. But the flip side to that is there are so few loyal buyers. Look at all the talk above about travelling the country to find the lowest price. No wonder car dealers and car buyers have such a love-hate relationship.

    Yesterday, for about the 7th time since 1996, I've seriously tried to buy a new BMW from my local BMW dealer. Was going to trade in her 2000 323ia. Wife wanted a 2003 325xia. Right color, right options. They had two identical units on lot. Dealer even quickly discounted the car $1,500 off MSRP (essentially splitting the differnce off published invoice). But, as has foiled me every other time, the trade value just doesn't seem right. He wants to buy low to sell high. So yet again we went away empty handed. I kidded the salesperson that maybe sometime in 2003 we'll break the curse and consumate a deal. If not, there is always 2004.

    snagiel... (1) The way Infiniti and Lexus handle loaner cars and customer service is far superior to BMW's requirements with their dealers. (2) Warranty work isn't overly profitable. If you do it right, you'll cover variable expenses. Keep in mind it is not done on a cost plus basis where the manufacturer just trusts the dealer. But due to the way these activities are reimbursed (e.g., the dealer will only get paid so much for a particular type of work, so it doesn't pay to spend more than the alloted time on it), no dealer makes a lot of money off warranty work. Most dealers make more profit off their used cars. Just try to get the "invoice" for the dealer's used cars. You won't ever know what he paid for it. And he won't and doesn't have to tell you. Dealers buy low (e.g., give as little it trade, buy at auctions, etc.) and sell as high as they can. They love to sell used cars.

    habitat1... I live in the great midwest. Part of flyover country. Chicago is about 8 hours of interstate driving away. In my state only the selling dealer has to service the car. I had problems with a local Chrysler dealer back in '95. He was horrid. One day he wouldn't service it any more. Called State's AG's office. They confirmed he didn't have to. Called Chrysler. They can't force him to. (In most state's, dealers are a very powerful lobby.) But Zone Rep. hooked me up with a better dealer in the next-door state. I quickly sold the car. But I learned my lesson.
  • I have had a very good experience with Dent wizard as well. If the paint has not come off the body,talk to them for an estimate. Their price was about 60% of the most competitive body shop. The car I was repairing was about 7 years old,I just wanted it to look presentable without spending a lot of dough...I was very impressed and even when I pinpointed where the damage had been to others, it was not apparent. This was not a "ding", but a dent from a hit and run Home Depot parking lot shopping cart...I had to leave the car there all day,but I was a happy camper at day's end.
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    Don't forget that dealers make a lot of money on servicing a car. You are right in that warranty work doesn't get them any real profit, but maintenance and service work does. I would even wager that dealers make more money on service work than used car sales. They charge far more for regular services such as oil changes and brake jobs. It use to be that you always took you car to the dealer for service. But not with the advent of quicky oil places and precision tunes, people don't take there car to the dealer as much any more. This lack of customers has caused them to raise prices to make up for loss of business. The truth is that the dealer is probably better trained than just about any where else to work on your car though. Especially if it is foreign, such as European or Japanese. Most times these discount places can't even do an oil change on these cars.
  • jdbtensaijdbtensai Posts: 122
    a decrease in the demand led to an increase in price?
    or is it that those who still go to the dealer are willing to pay more? so they really did raise the price, after giving up on the other customers.
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    The average number of people who take there car in to the dealer for oil changes now compared to 30 years ago is much lower. I would probably even say it is about a 60-70 percent drop. That being said, I called the local dealership and they told me that an oil change with regular BMW oil is $63. I called a local reputable European shop and they said it would cost $68. The dealership was actually cheaper!! But if you take my last car, a 2000 Honda Civic Si and call the Honda dealership and ask how much an oil change is, they told me $28. I can take that car to Precision Tune, where they do a complete full service oil change, top off fluids, rotate tires, and do a general car inspection for $25. Now I can't verify if the Honda dealership would do all the other things that go along with Precision Tunes price but I highly doubt it. Honda, like BMW, make more of an effort for there cars to have the scheduled maintenance done. Most people now a days don't do preventive maintenance, they do reactive maintenance. They only take it in when something is broke. This of course excludes oil change, FOR MOST PEOPLE!! There is a lady at my job who leased a taurus becuase her husband works for Ford. She said she should probably get an oil change before she turned it in after her two year lease. I asked her when was the last time she had an oil change, she said she never had one done. I was floored, after 28k miles she had never had an oil change, the car still had the original oil in it. To make things worse, she was complaining that she only got 12-15 miles to the gallon on a V-6.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    mseals... What you wrote reminded me the real, if not so obvious, value to BMW's "free" maintanence program. I wouldn't buy a used BMW pre-1998 MY unless I knew the owner personally AND had the service records. Remember reading C&D's long-term wrap up for their MY 1997 540i6. They carped about how expensive it had been to maintain over 40,000 miles and were pleased that in MY 1998 BMW went to the 3/36 "free" maintenance plan. Made me wonder how many BMW owners and leasees were sacrificing required maintenance to save money before they unloaded their cars.

    Thankfully BMW has gone to 4/50 "free" plan for MY2003. Was kind of iritating to contemplate whether to buy the extra time or not. Was a gamble. This way now you are fully covered by b-to-b warranty and maintenance agreement during 4/50 period.

    With the MY 1998 and newer BMWs, I have few concerns with purchasing the CPO units I did as regards whether they were maintained.

    BUT does seem like the minute BMW or MB started "paying" for "free" maintenance that the service intervals were lengthened. Getting new oil and filter change about every 15,000 miles still bugs me a bit. Even with big sumps and synthetic oil. Think they should change the oil filter every 6 months or 7,500 miles, which comes first.
  • tusstuss Posts: 11
    any thoughts on what the pricing is going to be on the new 5 series when they come out? One more thing, with all the "opinions" about the new five, do you think that there will be a sudden increase in demand for the "old body" 5 series as soon as the new shape comes out---I remember this happened with the old 7 series, my dad was considering a 7 series with the sport package, and couldn't decide if he was getting a good deal, and as soon as the new shape came out, the prices actually went up and dealers were less apt to negotatiate on the old ones b/c people were so turned off by the new design and decided to go for the old shape instead. I'm thinking of getting a 530i, but don't know if I should wait until the new shape comes out, or if I should just pull the trigger now . . .
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    It is funny you said that about pre-1997 MY. When looking for a used 5 series, I took a lot of things into account. One of the main ones was that I wanted a 1998 MY or newer and preferably CPO'd. I ended up getting a 1998 MY 528i 5sp. I did a Carafax on it and found out that it had two previous owners. A woman who had it for a 2 year lease, and a lawyer who had it for 2 years as well. The woman put 15k a year on it, had all the recall and maintenance down at the dealership and turned it in with 30k miles on it. The lawyer, bought the car as a CPO, had it for 2 years, did all the maintenance on it at the dealership, new tires, new brakes, and inspections I and II done on it as well as oil changes. The only thing he had fixed was the mirror cover had been broken off in a car wash. He put 50k miles on the car in two years because he basically lived an hour and a half from where he worked. It was literally all freeway so the miles were relatively easy miles. I bought the car with 80k miles on it and the remaining 2 years and 20k miles of the CPO warranty. I have driven the car 5k miles so far with not a single problem other than the passenger door lock freezing. That was my fault though, I just had to get it washed and it was about 8 degrees outside. I drove the car a mile and put it in the garage, the next day the passenger door was frozen shut. That was two days ago.
  • Anyone know when production of the current E39 5 series will cease- the last time you can place an order for the current 5?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    tuss... We won't know till it happens. But given all the gizmos and enhancements reported for the next platform and given rise in value of Euro (or the fall in the vallue of the Dollar), likely you'll see a decent price increase.

    Real price of MY2003 E39 5 Series has fallen. Wife and I test drove an '03 525ia the other day. With PP, CWP, and Xenon. While the base list rose a bit, you have to keep in mind that some good things more than offset the small increase:

    1. Free maintenance is now for 4 years or 50,000 miles. Up from 3/36. That upgrade used to cost about $400 and up depending on the dealer.

    2. Rear head airbags are now standard.

    3. Sunroof is now standard.

    4. Some items have been added to the 525i Premium Package (e.g., auto headlights and rain-sensing windshield wipers).

    When I compared MY2003 price to MY2002 price, there was only about a $600 difference. But the above, to me at least, more than offset that.
  • mod62mod62 Posts: 38
    I have a '02 525iT 5spd Premium, cold weather with 7K miles.
    My car was running and all of a sudden my Climate control LED goes out at about 8:00 pm and the blower goes on high. All display was out and I could not shut of the blower. Even when I turned the car off, there was no change in the situation. I called Roadside Assistance and there were useless. (What a joke this service is if the local dealer is closed when you call).

    I decided to find the fuse and pull it so I could shut off heat. Either my brain was frozen with the 7 degree temparuture or the fuse schematic is dumb put I decided to go fuse by fuse and see what worked.

    Luckily I only had to reach #4 and it shut the blower off. I replaced it and everything works fine.
    Three questions:

    1. #4 fuse is for Trunk and Compartment lighting. How does that affect the Automatic Climate Control?
    2. What happened. Did a relay get stuck because of the frigid weather?
    3. Should I get it checked out by the dealer. I drove today and no problems.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I've heard seasoned electrical engineers puzzle in shock and wonder about some of the electrical snafus that snake their way through the E39's circuit boards, so who knows. If the problem has worked itself out (even temporarily), I guarantee the dealer won't find anything. Too bad the "reboot" didn't do the trick.

    If it's any consolation, during the same cold night my upstair neighbors' pipes froze, exploded, and subsequently gushed about fifty gallons of water into our bathroom and bedroom today. Fortunately I was home to get it stopped so quickly.
  • sel3sel3 Posts: 33
    Thanks for your comments, they are very helpful.

    I am currently working with XPel to see if they will modify the kit so I can install two pieces of film once I remove the front license plate.

    Thanks again,

  • 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
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