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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • sambeamsambeam Posts: 13
    [Bimmer12, got your response. Thanks]

    Hi Guys:

    NJ/NY area I saw some 1500 over invoice type
    ED prices. DOes anyone have experience
    with similar prices in San Jopse/San Francisco Bay area in Northern California?
    Would you be kind to share your experience in that respect?

  • spyderredspyderred Posts: 137
    Like I may have mentioned earlier, I am in Southern California (BMW capital) so I have been able to research these cars now for over a year. Test drove at least 40-50 BMW cars; manuals, autos, 325's, 330's, 525's, 528's, 530's, 540's, private party and dealers.
    Here is my take.
    First things first. I really wanted a 5 or 6 speed manual. I have driven many auto's and they are nice but I like to have more control(fun) with my car, eventhough I am sometimes stuck in Southern California Traffic. Call me crazy. The 3 series car are really nice but they are too small for my needs. I have two children in car seats and I needed the little extra room in the back seat. Also, the 5 series just seemed a little bit more solid and luxurious than the 3 series. So my search was narrowed to the 5 series. Now, which one, 525, 528, 530, or 540? Drove all varieties; manual, auto, and step. Didn't like the auto at all in any of them. Even in the 540, just didn't seem like it had the 282 hp rating. It was powerful, but to me just didn't seem as powerful as a car with a manual transmission. So the consideration was narrowed to manual and may be Steptronic. Drove the step in 528 and 530. I wasn't impressed and, when in Step/sport mode, it seemed that there was a 2-3 second lag from the instant you shift 'till it actually engaged the next gear. The Step would be much nicer in traffic be it didn't give me the control/feel that I was looking for. Call me old fashioned (I am only 35). So my decision was narrowed again. Manual. Drove at least 5 528 5 sp, 3 525 5 sp, 3 530 5 sp, and 2 540 6sp.
    The 540 6 speed is a really sweet car. If money was no object then it would be my first choice. The other thing with the 540 is that it would get me in too much trouble with our local police dept. and CHP and I really didn't want to get to know them that well. Also the additional cost of maintenance of the 540 was a drawback.
    I have a really good friend that works for BMW and he told me that the BMW inline 6 is much more durable and reliable than the V8. So based on all those factors the 540 was sadly eliminated from my list
    Now as for the 530 5 speed, It is probably the perfect car with appropraite power, handling, and cost. I drove, I think 3 of them, and was very impressed.
    Then I drove 525 and 530 both 5 speeds back to back on a couple of separate accassions and the 530 definetly seemed a little bit faster, but not substantially. Then I was confused. Do I go for the 530 for the extra ~30 HP and ~40 Ft.Lb of torque for an extra $4,000 or is the 525 plenty enough for me. Mulled it over for a couple of months went back again then I drove the another 525 and another 530 and the difference wasnot as noticeable between the two. To me, the 530 has a bit more pull in 2nd gear compared to the 525 but
    it wasn't that much of a difference. My mind was made a 525 5 speed with a sport package, xenons, DSP, leather, moonroof, and a beatiful sand interior is finally mine. I am loving life.
    Sorry to ramble on,
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    spyderred... Excellent analysis. I might disagree a bit on the 540i6 maintenance and durability issues and would've pointed out there appear to be some significant durability issues with all BMW automatic transmissions. But you are a textbook case supporting the need to do lots of research and thorough test drives, repeatedly, to find exactly what will and won't work for you. Enjoy! (Don't think anyone can go wrong with darn near any 5 Series!)
  • spyderredspyderred Posts: 137
    It took a lot of work and patience but it was a lot of fun. The best way to decide on what you want and not be sorry about your decision is research, research, research. I had the luxury of time and I also ended up with a great value. This is the best part for me.
  • bmwluverbmwluver Posts: 11
    Dollar is down by 10% in recent months relative to the Euro used by the Germans. How will this affect BMW prices? Should I be glad I took delivery on my 530 in April? Can we all expect to pay more for parts--perish the thought our cars should need them even at current prices.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Good question. The models' prices are set by BMW NA every year, and do not fluctuate based on currency exchanges. I'm not sure if parts' and accessories' prices are more fluid, but they've certainly appeared stable to me up until now. Over a longer term (5-10 years), though, continued currency disparities can certainly have a big effect on pricing. As the Japanese yen rose substantially in the early-mid 90's relative to the dollar, the Lexus LS400 went from a bargain $35k to a Mercedes-like $50k within several years.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Since BMW AG now does its accounting in euros, and BMW NA is a subsidiary of BMW AG, all other things constant, a decline in the relative value of the dollar to the euro means BMW's profits would fall. If BMW's shareholders are willing to see profits (and thus also dividends) fall, they can sit back and do nothing, for a while. Otherwise, to offset decline profitability, BMW has to raise prices (either directly or by holding the line on prices but "decontenting" the cars so you pay same amount for the car but get "less" car), cut costs (e.g., reducing marketing expenditures, reduce racing program, hold line on salaries, etc.), reduce dividends, or some combination. One other way is to go "up market" in your product line. Build higher margin items--seems like BMW is doing that with X5, 745i, and future 6 Series. (BMW also appears to be diversifying their product line at the lower end. Will be interesting to see what sort of per unit margins they can generate here. So far Audi and MB haven't produced many profits in the small, less expensive market. Tough competition and they have very, very high labor costs.)

    Sometimes companies will quietly "eat" the currency fluctuation, if they view it as short term. But if viewed as long term, they'll have to adjust. Shareholders won't accept declining profits and the market will lower share prices as it adjusts for declining profits.

    Often very hard to build market share if currency is working against you.

    Declining dollar could mean higher car prices, reduced features or more features (at much higher prices), higher part prices, etc.

    Regardless, BMW AG always seriously studies currency trends.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Sorry, let me clarify: I meant to say that model prices do not fluctuate within the model year; they may certainly fluctuate from one year to the next, but prices haven't ever (at least as far as I'm aware) been suddenly recalculated midway through a model year because of currency revaluations.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    snagiel... Manufacturers raise and lower prices at will anytime they want to. Was thinking that just earlier this year, BMW raised average wholesale prices by about $200. Don't forget that BMW's "price"--the one they receive and what is reflected on their bottom line--is what the dealer pays, not what you pay. So BMW only needs to raise wholesale prices to dealer. That either cuts into dealer's margin or is done by also increasing MSRP. Or both can be done.

    If dollar falls significantly during a short period and the fall is expected to last, BMW can and will raise prices quickly to attempt to offset. Same happens during inflationary periods. Prices have to be raised just to maintain their former relative value.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Hypothetically, sure. I'm just saying it's never happened, as far as I'm aware. As for the price increases, I was referring to MSRP costs, not invoice costs (which can be more elastic since it's not as visible to a consumer).
  • kirkd1kirkd1 Posts: 24
    I am happy with my purchase. It just freaks me out when I look at the payments and then the car. It has its little flaws, I’m sure you see them. For instance the steering wheel should be as nice as an up market Momo without any sharp edges, but if you feel around that nasty plastic horn button surround piece you feel sharp unmatched edges. This is what’s in my hands as I drive. The turn signal lever with its pushbutton for the computer readout has sharp edges. To me these are the finishing details that should be perfect in a $40k+ car. Damn.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    Thankfully, I can't relate to your "sharp edges" comments. I've had my 530 one year now and have no such issues. (I have the M sport steering wheel.) Contact your dealer and see what can be done.
  • add123add123 Posts: 28
    Does anyone have any sources for pics for the '04 5 series other than the ones here on Edmunds?

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,697
    And also don't forget that BMW prides itself on being one of the most profitable car companies (2nd to Porsche) in making a bit more than $3000 profit per vehicle.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I guess $3k ain't bad, but I think I've read Ford makes close to $10k on every Expedition/Excursion (since they're based on much-cheaper pickup trucks). No wonder Detroit loves SUV's (and keeps their lower-end sedans at a barely competitive level).
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,697
    BMW's $3000 Profit Per Vehicle Margin is across their entire model line. Yes Ford & GM make close to $10,000 profit on their monstrous SUVs which are based on less expensive pickups, but what if anything do they make on other cars like the Taurus or the Cavalier? GM & FORD make all their profit from the sheer volume of cars they sell. Their average profit per vehicle is somwhere between $150 & $300 I remember reading.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • rwolprwolp Posts: 11
    Don't forget that huge multinational corporations hedge their risk to currency fluctuations. This is a cost of doing business across the world. To not do so is risking profitability from currency swings and that is not a risk that corporate officers are typically willing to make.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Isn't the USA BMW AG's second largest single market for sales? I forget what percentage of revenue and unit sales USA market comprises, but it is significant. That is why a big dollar devaluation, which lasts for some time, will impact their bottom line. There is only so much hedging that can be done and so much that other markets, where currency fluctuations are working in the opposite direction, can do to offset.

    Will be interesting to see where the dollar ends up averaging versus the euro over the rest of CY 2002 and CY 2003. Seem like most analysts are predicting euro rise against dollar, one that should last. But who knows, USA's economy reportedly grew 6.1 percent so far in 2002. Now we just need corporate profits to rise. Fed holding constant on interest rates.
  • bmwluverbmwluver Posts: 11
    Riez, your analysis is tres profound. Our brokers should only be as good as you are and maybe we'd not have naked backs now (as in "lost our shirts in the market").
    Since driving my 530 in Europe, I've experienced how BIG this model is for the average street and parking lot. This is why many Europeans are not so keen on the 500 and 700 series cars--along with the astronomical price ($4.25 per gallon in Germany) of benzine. This keeps demand for these cars less in Europe which probably means BMW will continue to sell um to us for more reasonable prices despite the US dollars delcline.
  • kirkd1kirkd1 Posts: 24
    Well, I've only had mine for a few days and the steering wheel wasn't made well in the car I purchased. I'm glad for you that your wheel is comfortable. Is it without the plastic horn button surround? When I lay my hands on the seams I feel the plastic's edge. It doesn't fit, it overlaps the leather. It should actually be smaller and it should have a tight fit.

    Okay, I just took a file to the sharp edges on the turn signal stalk's button that accesses the computer.;o)
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