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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • sirtigersirtiger Posts: 38
    I noted that I climbed conservatively to a tad >115 not flooring to >115. I couldn't believe at first but I am certain w/o a doubt that I saw around 3K RPMS. It appears that SergeyM experience 3500 RPMs at that speed. I give the opportunity that my tach is off but I know what I saw. I am sure the people who bought the 530i via Euro del. would have some input to this as well.

    Though I was driving that fast, I don't condone others to drive recklessly. I was driving my car 6am on a Sunday on dry pavement with good visibility of the road. Its nice to freely drive and see what this car was capable of once in a blue moon.
  • sirtigersirtiger Posts: 38
    I noted that I climbed conservatively to a tad >115 not flooring to >115. I couldn't believe at first but I am certain w/o a doubt that I saw around 3K RPMS. It appears that SergeyM experience 3500 RPMs at that speed. I give the opportunity that my tach is off but I know what I saw. I am sure the people who bought the 530i via Euro del. would have some input to this as well.

    Though I was driving that fast, I don't condone others to drive recklessly. I was driving my car 6am on a Sunday on dry pavement with good visibility of the road. Its nice to freely drive and see what this car was capable of once in a blue moon.
  • hicairahicaira Posts: 276
    If so, it's not apples to apples.

    Manual 5th gear is a 1.00/1 ratio and final drive is 2.93.

    Auto (top gear) is a 0.75/1 with a final drive of 3.46.

    530i, anyway.

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    hicaira is correct. The automatics have an overdrive 5th gear. A key advantage of an overdrive gear is that it allows for sustained high speed cruising at much lower RPMs. The automatics will turn over a lot fewer RPMs at 85 mph or 115 mph.

    Key is the overall ration, which is the final drive multipled by the individual top gear's ratio. Selecting the "right" final drive is important (since it impacts every gear) as is choosing each individual ratio. Engineer wants to achieve synergy with the engine's power band. Using BMW's's numbers:

    525i manual: 3.15 x 1.00 = 3.15 overall
    EPA= 20/29 mpg

    530i manual: 2.93 x 1.00 = 2.93
    EPA= 21/30 mpg

    Notice that the larger 530i motor gets better mileage than the 525i? Gearing is a big factor for the highway mileage figure.

    540i6 manual: 2.81 x 0.83 = 2.33
    EPA= 15/23 mpg

    M5 manual: 3.15 x 0.83 = 2.61
    EPA= 13/21 mpg

    525i automatic: 3.46 x 0.75 = 2.60
    EPA= 19/27

    530i automatic: 3.46 x 0.75 = 2.60
    EPA= 18/26

    540i automatic: 2.81 x 0.80 = 2.25
    EPA= 18/24 mpg

    540ia Sport: 3.15 x 0.80 = 2.52
    EPA= 15/21 mpg

    I'm a huge fan of overdrives, esp. overdrive 6 speeds. My '98 540i6 gets over 26 mpg cruising at 74 mph. If I need to accelerate quickly (say to pass), I just downshift to 4th or 3rd gear.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    Well, my 2 cents is that my Seville will do 72 MPH at an engine speed of 2000 RPM's. It has the following gears/tires. Axle ratio is 3.11:1 with an overdrive of 0.68:1. Tires are 225R60 on 16 inch wheels. Final gear ratio here is 2.11:1 and at 3000 RPM's it should do about 108 MPH.

    Is 115 @3000 (or less) real? It depends on your final drive ratio and tire size. Figure it out.

    Checking Goodyears site for tire diameters:
    225/60R-16's = 26.6 inches
    225/55R-16's = 25.7 inches
    235/45R-17's = 25.3 inches

    Bigger around means the engine will turn slower in case your wondering.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    August 2003 issue of Bimmer arrived in mail today. In the Tech Q&A section a doctor says he intends to keep his '00 540i6 for the long haul and asks questions related to properly maintaining it. Tech editor Mike Miller has some interesting info on possible problem areas and service recommendations. For example, he recommends 30,000 mile service interval for gearbox and differential oil. He also recommends replacing water pump, thermostat, and intake manifold oil separator every 60,000. Thankfully, he writes, "your drivetrain problems will be minimized by the fact you have the durable Getrag S6S 420G manual transmission."
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    riez, thanks for the info, but after doing the math, it still seems like a 530ia should be turning something like on the order of 3800 rpm at 115 mph, not about 3000.

    I'm envious of your 6-spd. box, >finally< BMW is making the 6-spd. manual standard with the inline-6's.
  • jbf5jbf5 Posts: 32
    Sirtiger, one of the best things I brought back from my ED vacation (uh, other than the car) is a photo of the instrument cluster with the speedo at 130mph. The top of the tach is obscured in the photo, but it looks like we were spinning a little below 5k rpm. It's a 530i 5speed w/SP.
  • kchanuskchanus Posts: 26
    I own a 2001 330ia, and i believe it has the same trans as in a 530ia. The final drive ratio is the only difference where the 330ia's final drive ratio is 3.38 and for the 530ia, I believe it is 3.46. My car turns about 2750 rpm at 80mph where the gear locks up which will translate a little under 4000 rpm at 115 mph. So, I think there must be a mistake somewhere that no way a 530ia turns around 3000 rpm at 115mph. Hope this help.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    The 530ia with sport pkg has the 235/45R-17 tires with a diameter of 25.3 inches before the weight of the car is put on them. Final drive ratio is 2.6:1. A mile is 5280 ft or 63,360 inches; divide by the circumference of the tire, which is 797. This number is the number of times the tire rotates in 1 mile. The engine must turn 2.6 times more in a mile or 2073 times. This is the tricky part, a mile per minute is the same thing as 60 MPH, so at 2073 RPM's we are doing 60 MPH. 3000 should be somewhere near 87 MPH (probably less).
  • kchanuskchanus Posts: 26
    That means no way a 530ia turn about 3000 rpm at 115mph.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    If it has not been modified from the factory specs.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Modified or not, if a 530ia was running 3,000 rpm at 115 mph, that would translate into about 1,500 rpm at 60 mph. Which would give it roughly the acceleration capability of my Isuzu Trooper driving up a steep hill.

    Ideally, a car geared for performance would reach it's top speed at the RPM coinciding with it's peak horsepower (typically about 1,000 rpm below redline). Fopr example, in 6th gear at 75 mph, my Honda S2000 is turning 4,000 rpm - equating to 8,000 rpm at its top speed of 150 mph (not that I've verified this personally).

    Many of today's cars - 530ia included - have high "overdrive" gears for fuel economy. But 3,000 rpm at 115 mph would make the 530ia's 5th gear virtually useless at under 80-90 mph for either performance or fuel economy, since it would be "lugging" below a minimum useable threshold RPM (i.e. at least 2,000 rpm).
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    will cruise at 41 MPH in overdrive with the torque converter locked at just over 1100 RPM's. This engine is tuned to have good lowend torque though.
  • fjk57702fjk57702 Posts: 539
    I will add that the transmission quickly down shifts at engine speeds of 1500 RPM's or less when any load is put on it.

    Comments on habitat1's post: Yes, ideally the top speed will be at the peak horsepower and will counter the drag forces. This does not have to be in top gear though. Overdrive can be for cruising and top speed is in the next lower gear. To max out performance though, top gear would be top speed and the rest of the gears are spaced to optimize acceleration to top speed. Planetary gearsets are a bit tricky though.
  • tbrown12tbrown12 Posts: 18
    I am looking for a new car as my lease is up in July. I was going to get a new '03 Acura TLS for the value when a friend suggested looking at the wholesale operations that shop the auctions.

    My choice now is a new Acura through a lease,a slightly used '03 or '02 TLS wholesale or a 20k mile '01 530i. I like the BMW best but have concerns about repairs and routine maintenance for the BMW. Most say the wholesale Acura for the "prudent" choice. What's you take as I like the feel of the BMW.

  • sirtigersirtiger Posts: 38
    That is what I saw with my own two eyes. I give the opportunity that I could be wrong. I will look at it again if I make another run at that speed.

    Hey, plans for the new M5 slated for 2005!!!...
    Interesting V10 500HP going upwards of 9K RPMs - _code=carnews&loc_code=index&content_code=07407679
  • karmikankarmikan Posts: 116
    I'd suggest you go with your heart and get the BMW, you won't regret it. Great car as opposed to a "reliable" appliance.
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 273
    New vs. new Acura is a much better deal. Very fast. Noticeably Faster than 530 auto or manual but only up to 100mph or as long as it is in the 3rd gear. The 4th and 5th gears are very tall. Both are ODs (0.65 and 0.45). BTW if any car can go 115mph at 3000 RPM it would be Acura TL-S. Hence a very good gas mileage. The engine is a lot of fun, does not lose much power at or above the read-line (6900 RPM). Not much power down there though, mid-range response is just OK. 540 is all about the mid-range. Not much up there. 530 is kind of equally powerless across the RPMs. Compared to Acura's navigation system BMW's is a joke. Acura's handling is not that good. Feels heavy and soft and at the same time the ride can be pretty punishing. Never happens in 540. Acura is a much bigger and more comfortable car that 5-series but not playful at all. You can mod it but it still will be a front-driver. Good in snow. No need for winter tires. The weakest point is the auto tranny. Numerous failures. Check board for more info. My track numbers for TL-S were 14.8/97mph for 540 14.3/94mph. 0-60 Acura - 6.3sec BMW 5.7sec. Both calculated from 1/8 mile time. May by off by 0.2 sec. BMW has much more prestige no question about it. BMW is also much better build and feels like it will last forever. Leather on the drivers seat was already worn after 1 year and 15K miles on the Acura.
  • sergeymsergeym Posts: 273
    and is not very reliable either.
  • sdg380sdg380 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 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 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 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 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 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 Posts: 273
    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 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 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 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.
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