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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508

    Thanks for the commentary. Now I can understand what your original comment meant. I haven't tried a Miata yet, but in the past I did own 2 Fiat Spyders (a 124 and a 2000) and can relate to the Miata. Except the Fiat's were very civilized and were not very noisy but were also not very reliable.. But also tons of fun as are the Miata and the Mazda MX-6 I owned some years ago.

    When you say the 5 has "great grip", are you saying it will outperform the Miata on cornering g-force? That certainly could be possible since my MX-6 would out-corner the Fiat spyders.
  • I have not heard that name in while. Reliabilty? Didn't FIAT stand for Fix It Again Tony...? I know, I know... datsa no nice! Sorry pisano's.
    Ciao or "Harry Vaderchie" (from I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners...)
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    According to my BMW Magazine, the trunk of the E60 has gained more than two cubic feet of cargo space compared to the E39's 16.2 cubic ft(got this figure from my car manual's data info page.) Says it "will fit two full-sized suitcases, one on top of the other, with additional room for three smaller cases. Alternately,it can accomodate four 46-inch golfbags." Sounds like a lot of space.
  • Hi all - I'm in need of some advice about an older BMW. An old friend of mine in 1987 bought a new 535i 5 speed - gray with red leather interior. Soon after he bought it he made it big and started buying other cars, but he always kept the BMW. For the past 16 years it has been kept in storage, and has only 41,000 miles on it. The paint is near perfect and the interior literally looks like it hasn't been sat in. I had it inspected and except for a new set of rear tires and some fluidsm along with an A/C charge, it's ready to go. My concern is that I have heard the older BMW engines tend to need a little more TLC than the newer ones. Can anyone tell me what I may be in for in the near future when it comes to maintennance? I only plan on driving it in the dry months. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    The useable trunk size will be smaller if you have a DSP option on the E39. I am not sure if that will be the case with the E60, though. My 530i has the DSP subwoofers, which hangs from the rear shelf and cuts into the trunk space. I can barely fit an Igloo cooler under it.
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    Well, about 3 months ago, I ended 17 years of ownership of an 86 528e. These engines are near bullet-proof. Keep fresh oil in them and they're indestructable. My old 528e had 197k and used little if any oil. This is a comfortable car built using high quality components, great brakes and a pleasure to drive.

    My Advice? Well, these cars were built with maintenance in mind. Find a good BMW mechanic to assist you. They will advise you to keep the fluids fresh: engine, trans., diff., coolant, and brake fluid. Also, seals are prone to leaking. Main and cam seals last 40 - 60k and 4 - 6 years IIRC. Fuses and the ground on the rear lights can be problamatic. Learn to troubleshoot these items yourself. Buy a little box of every fuse size used. Learn which circuits are grouped together to help troubleshooting. Use OEM or equivalent parts for any engine, trans, driveline, cooling, or braking system repair.

    Maintained properly, your 87 will handle and stop better than all the brand new "sport sedan" pretendors.

    Happy Motoring,


    PS: Miss that ole 86.
  • the trunk space on the new 5 series is 14 cubic feet. It's a more useable space because the trunk hinges are not intrusive upon the cargo space. It's 28% larger than before and although the lexus has more measureable space the hinges will smash objects that would otherwise fit into the 'bimmer. The new 5 series is amazing and will be a home run for BMW. woody
  • I just bought a 2003 525i a month ago. I recently noticed significant increase of the noise level from the exhaust system. There is a low noise from the muffler when the car is idling. Also, when the engine is about 1500 rpm, there is a obvious noise from the exhaust system too.

    Has anyone had the same problem? Any fixes?
  • feverhartfeverhart Posts: 144
    Concerning the trunk space on the Lexus, it is true that the trunk hinge entered the trunk on the LS 400 prior to 2001. It does not on the LS430 which replaced the LS400 in 2001. Thus there is still more space in this model Lexus and it is not impacted by the hinge entering the trunk.
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    The LS400 or LS430 is not comparable to a 5 series. Probably should be talking 7 series. The GS is really more what I was referring to. If you want a big trunk the Impala is a great pick over the fancy toyota. Just kidding, but the new 5 has better trunk space and overall roominess. It destroyed the lexus GS at the Mid-Ohio Speedway in every driving test.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I agree with joatman. Yes the E28s do require a bit more maintenance then the newer Bimmers, but they are incredibly durable. The 535is I bought in 1990 is now on its fourth owner. At 300K miles it finally needed a head gasket... The added maintenance consists of valve adjustments(easy to do yourself-you check lash on a cold engine) as well as more frequent fluid lubricant changes. Yours sounds like a keeper. Let me know if you don't want it ;)
  • pap5pap5 Posts: 144
    Re relative weights of Miata, 530i -- Off the top of my head, I thought I remembered the 530i as being closer to 3800 lbs. Thanks for the correction - although with automatic, I believe it comes in heavier than 3500 lbs. Regarding "great grip" -- Comparing the 530i (esp. w/SP) to other sedans, not necessarily to the Miata. I don't know how they would stack up head-to-head. The BMW feels solid, planted - the Miata reacts more to road irregularities in a turn. BTW microrepair, the Fiat 124 Spider's easy-to-use top served as a model for the Miata. For me, the forerunners were a couple of Triumphs owned in the '60s and '70s, whose tops were models of complexity.

    Simon16 -- The 535i sounds like a find. I've always liked the E28. One caveat: Determine how it was stored. Was it taken out and exercised regularly? Or, if kept in cold storage, was it put up properly? An improperly stored car put back into service can experience more failures than a car of similar vintage, but higher miles, that has been driven and cared for.
  • bmwcjbmwcj Posts: 3
    A little over 1.5 years ago, I bought a 1998 540i. The AM portion of the radio had terrible reception, particularly around tall trees, buildings and other such obstacles. (The FM seems fine.) The BMW dealer of course found nothing wrong with it. A letter to BMW USA yielded only that yes indeed, it was a problem that BMW engineers were still puzzled about. It acts just like a Porsche I once owned when it was discover that the antenna was not connected. Any ideas?
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    You dodn't have a trunk mounted CD changer, do you? For some reason, mine interferes with AM reception.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    bmwcj... This issue seems to afflict a lot of BMWs. My '98 540i6 had poor AM reception. It had the 6-disc trunk-mounted CD changer. My wife's '00 323ia had horrible AM reception. Just had the basic 1-disc in-dash CD player. While I could only get in the strongest local signals, she couldn't get in hardly any stations; too much electrical interference. We repeately brought this to dealer's attention. They were never able to resolve. (We now have IS300s that have better AM reception.)

    I think the key is not having an exterior standing antenna. BMW using less effective in-glass antenna. May look nice not having an antenna flying, but they don't capture radio signals at all well. (Remember a friend of mine long time ago had a '70 Chevelle. GM used in-glass antenna. You couldn't get hardly anything.)
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    I have the same problem on my 96 E320 Mercedes. It's the antenna in the glass that sucks.. Fortunately, I much prefer the FM stations around here anyway..
  • not the issue. My new 325i has horrible reception. Really frustrating during playoff season. My Accord and Subaru both had in-glass and AM reception was fine.

    But don't worry, AM radio will be barren after the WS as Rush will be indicted soon! :)
  • Does AM reception really deserve all of this attention? Not since George Michael left 770 WABC in NY have I given a rip.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    I listen to AM a lot more than FM. Don't want to waste time listening to pop music and the plethora of commercials on FM. If I'm going to listen to radio, I'd rather get news, weather, sports, and talk.
  • bmwcjbmwcj Posts: 3
    There is only one AM station I like to listen to, and it is an all news station. Of course I could survive without it, but one would think that a car that stickers over 50K could provide a radio that works. And yes, I have a 6 CD changer in the trunk. That seems to be a common theme in the responses. Thanks....sort of.
  • microrepairmicrorepair Eastern MassachusettsPosts: 508
    In-glass antennas are inherently less sensitive than the metal mast antennas. Whether one brand of car has an AM system that works or not with an in-glass antenna has a lot to do with how well that radio chassis manufacturer designed the circuitry to match that particular auto manufacturer's antenna design.
    MB failed badly as ALL E-class, with and without a CD player in the trunk, give almost non-existent AM reception. I didn't have a CD player for the first year I had my E320 and the AM was just as bad then as it is now with the CD player.
    I suspect that BMW had the same problem with the 5 series. Maybe they use the same or similar radio chassis??
    In any event, here in NE, the only AM stations worth listening to are the news and talk stations. I do miss the news stations, but otherwise FM is for me..
  • dabimmerdabimmer Posts: 165
    I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and my AM reception is wonderful. Maybe it has to do with the area you live in and radio reception there. Also, the FM reception is equally good and in fact better than AM. The stations here do not flood you with commercials, again maybe itdepends on where you live.
  • bmwcjbmwcj Posts: 3
    Naw. It is not the area. It is the car, car/radio. I've driven Toyota's, Honda's, Volvo's and Porche's with far superior AM reception. It is a BMW shortcoming that BMW ought to rectify.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    Here in L.A. I get fine AM reception except when under a bridge or close to a dense area of voltage wires (which only happens on a few streets that I travel on). I can get a nice range of channels too with no problem.
  • davivdaviv Posts: 2
    I just bought a new 525. The manuel said the bmw should be fueled with premium gasoline. Otherwise, it would do damage to the car. Is it true?
  • bmwsellerbmwseller Posts: 200
    put cheap gas in your bimmer.
  • I heard the same, but Consumer's and various other publications state that there is virtually no difference (between reg. unlead. and prem. unlead) in the quality of the fuel for your engine. Save the $$ for maintanence.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Read the manual and look at the fuel filler sticker. If it says use 89 or 91 octane, then use that grade of fuel. Do NOT routinely use fuel with a lower-than-minimum-specified octane. Using a higher octane than specified will normally not improve engine output or fuel economy, but using a lower-than-specified octane normally will reduce engine output and reduce fuel economy. Most modern engines have knock sensors that can ajust to lower octane. You won't knock (which is very bad for engines), but your engine will not be running at optimum efficiency.

    Within past year or two, Car & Driver ran a test on about 4 or 5 cars. Used various octanes. In most cases, they found that using a lower-than-specified octane led to decreased engine output and lower fuel economy and the decline more than offset the lower price of the fuel. You might save 10% at the pump but lose 15% fuel economy.

    But octane is a different issue than detergents. Most modern fuels bought from reputable chains (e.g., Shell, BP/Amoco, etc.) are high quality and contain sufficient detergents. Not sure about independents. I avoid the el-cheapo gas at run down stations. I religiously run BP/Amoco Ultimate (the "clear" gasoline) in my cars that require premium fuel.

    Here in midwest we are fortunate to have the additional option of 10% ethanol-blended fuels. Often cheaper than regular but with a higher octane. Most in my area are 89, 89.5 or 90 octane and are plus or minus a couple pennies of regular 87 octane. Even though manuals say it is OK to run ethanol, I don't. (Mainly for tax reasons. I'd rather the tax money go to DOT to build and improve roads than the tax subsidy money go to Archer Daniels Midland and other ethanol producers. But that is just me.)
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,935
    Drove (and abused) one thoroughly today at Road Atlanta.

    If this sort of event is scheduled near / convenient to where you lice, I would suggest that you look into it.
    (see: )
    - Ray
    Go Red Sox . . .
    2016 BMW 340i
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Abusive road test. Love it. Would like to hear your opinion either way.

    Red Sox/Cubs would do it for me.
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