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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,665
    Get the 911.. I miss mine every day, even though it was a pain.. It was my dream car. Then, stuff happened.. You know, marriage, baby.



    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    M5 and 911. We’re talkin’ about the ultimate two-car garage here.

    “…I am torn between keeping the 530i and finding a 1998-2000 911, or going for an 2003 M5. Decisions, decisions........”

    Sounds like decision 1 is whether to spend the money. If it’s a go, decision 2 is whether you want a sedan or true sports car. I hope you make the right decision for yourself, because if you do you’ll be in heaven either way.

    In the 911 category I would caution you to stay away from the 99. It is the first of the new water-cooled 996 platform and enthusiasts report certain issues. 95-98 is the air-cooled 993 platform and is the most desired. All varieties of 98s are probably the most sought after cars on the planet and it is reflected in their price. When I was searching they were coming into dealers off leases and disappearing the same day. You will never see them on a lot and are tough to find even if you do a national search.

    That said there are a many other great 911 possibilities. The $65k - $75k that 03 M5s command will get you a lot of Porsche. And by the way, I wouldn’t worry about premature clutch failure in the M5 if you decide to go that route. Just absorb it as the cost of doing thrills, but of course, only if you can afford it. Both of these cars are not for the faint of heart or pocket book as I am sure you are aware. You can count on 911 maintenance to be costlier though.

    From the follow-up posts of diver110 it seems like the sedan format fits his scheme of things and the M5 could be right for him. Either way, make sure your sedan vs sports car decision is right for YOU. You don’t want to be spending this kind of money only to be lusting for the car you DIDN’T get.

    Good luck!
  • Sounds OK to me. Not audiophile sound, but more than adequate.

    The thing really seems to shine when you tap on classic rock. Quadraphenia, etc. But throw in some Metallica or Jay Z and the thing sounds like it's falling apart.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    To make the matters worse, Elise is now available in the US! I thought I'd never say this, but I actually find some of the American cars quite attractive, Corvette, Solstice to name a few. Granted, these are still not as refined as BMW or Porsche, but for the money it is hard to beat Z06.
  • Continuing with my prior thread, the more I think about it, the more I think I would not be happy with a car the size of the M3. As designman pointed out, it is not a sports car and also not a sedan. I need a car that works for trips, so an M5 makes more sense, and I will have to learn to get used to a stick again. I have another car I can use for commuting.

    Does anyone have a sense of how much more maintenance is involved in a M5 versus a 540i? How often do the clutches go on average?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Check out the March 2004 issue of C&D. Their report on the Cadillac CTS-V ends with:

    "Yet the CTS-V and the M5 are directly comparable in everything BUT but price. Given even money, our test crew favored the M5. Then we asked ourselves the key question: Is the M5 almost $23,000 better than the Cadillac? We got a resounding NO to that one." (emphasis in the original)

    Their as-tested price for the CTS-V was a mere $51,195. Noted they compared the CTS-V to the M3 in the article and in their performance chart comparisons.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Is the M5 almost $23,000 better than the Cadillac? We got a resounding NO to that one."

    Hold on a second. We all ask ourselves that question daily. Some questions along that line:

    1. Is a $40K 3 series, $30K better than an Elantra?
    2. Is an M3 coupe $30K better than a G35.
    3. Is a G35 coupe $24K better than an Elantra?
    4. Is a G35 coupe $20K better than a stripper Mazda 6?

    I would say the answer to all of these is no. However, just like there is some reason one would want an M5 over a CTS-V, there are some reasons one would want an M3, 3series, G35 over a stripper Mazda 6 and Elantra. Yet is the same $21K. So if we would spend the $21K, why wouldn't CD. Seems they are a bit two-faced.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    kdshapiro... Don't shoot the messenger. I just pointed out an interesting article that has a lot of discussion about both the M3 and M5. You'll have to read the article and look over the data. Unlike the differences, say, between a G35 and an Elantra, the performance differences were not very significant. Just compare their lap time results.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    "Don't shoot the messenger"

    I'm not shooting the messenger, I'm questioning the stupidity of a magazine promoting that line of thought. When I want to find the value side of the equation I turn to CR. When I want to find out how two cars compare, I go to the mags, give it to me straight without this value stuff laden in. It's almost as if they were afraid to say, the big engine in the CTS-V, so what?

    Is item B = item A (times/or plus) some factor. Is a steak at the Palm 3000% or $200 better than a steak at Outback? Hey they're both beef.

    When you put it like that, no it really isn't. However, there are people who can afford them. Leave the value side out. Heck, an EVO for $30K is about as close as you come to an M5. Why even go for $50K. See the trap here? I don't have an additional $40K for leather, therefore I might as well get the speed for $30K. After all the cars are equivalent in every way.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    I don't see where CR has a monopoly on critiquing value.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    They've had a monopoly. It's only recently that due to the Sherman-Lawson act, other publications have been allowed to publish views that they believe might be relevant to the buying public.
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Hello, we are talking about the BMW 5-Series here, not the magazines. :)

    Check out the News & Views board - if there is not a current discussion on the car mags, it's probably time to start another one.
  • ..Can you go over to Roadfly and whip some discipline into that Board ;>? They could use the help.....
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Heh, well why don't you just stay here instead? ;->
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    kdshapiro... Don't forget that BMW is the most profitable "major" car manufacturer in the world on a per unit basis. (Believe Porsche leads in the "non-major" manufacturer category.) So much of that $23,000 difference is pure profit to BMW's shareholders (e.g., the Quandt family). They can charge a premium that Cadillac can't. Certainly nothin' wrong with BMW making a profit. Too bad Detroit can't do even half as well profit wise. But people need to keep in mind that that is where much of the BMW price premium goes, right back to the shareholders. [What value do you get out of the Quandts' being billionaires?] :)
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    BMWs beat Windoze all to heck!
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    joatmon... What is more problematic: iDrive or Windows?
  • aggie76aggie76 Posts: 266
    Auto News is reporting that Bangle has been reassigned to other duties to reduce criticism of the lines styling.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "What is more problematic: iDrive or Windows?"

    I smell a loaded question and "invalid" comparison. But I love "invalid" comparisons so here's my answer:

    They both suck.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    If Bangle's tenure has indeed ended, I'm sure BMW is thinking it behooves them to parachute him gently so as not to jeopardize sales. I don't think it will work though. The horse is out of the barn.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I find myself wondering if an "Emergency Facelift" has already been ordered for the E60 5-Series, which could at least deal with the exterior of the car. The interior is yet another matter. :-/

    I also find myself wondering if the tooling for the E39 is still in existence. Ohhhh, an E39 545i with all of the technology and the Rack and Pinion steering of the E60, sans I-Drive of course would be just too much to ask for.

    Best Regards,
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    I don't have any real experience with I-drive. I know several people with it, and it seems as thought most adjust to it. I tend to get the "settings" right and leave them alone. I have taken exit 74 on the XM highway and tend to stay there.

    Windoze is another matter. I'm on a computer most of the day, and I can't seem to escape Windoze. I'm a self-employed software developer and the misbehavior of Windoze has cost me plenty of time and money. But, if that's what the customer has, I need to work with it.

    My initial comment was because I don't begrudge someone making money. I do think BMWs have started skipping to the wrong beat (luxury vs. sport), but I'm VERY glad they are a player. Seems to me you can't out lexus Lexus. I'd focus on sport.

    Happy Trails,

  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    I am not sure exactly how BMW has arranged the production line at Dingolfing, but E39 is still produced, at least in the Touring form at the Dingolfing plant, along with E60 sedans. This is said to continue until this summer, when it will finally change over to complete E60 production with the introduction of the Touring model in the fall.

    Similar to what MB did when w211 sedan was introduced, they kept w210 wagon along with w211 sedans. The only difference is that they sold both models in the US, and BMW chose not to.
  • savorasavora Posts: 25
    I am looking at the 2004 530i, I have a couple of questions

    1)Is getting premium sound worth it?
    2)Is Xenon upgrade worth it?
    3) does anyone have silver/grey metallic color? How do they like it?

    Thanks in advance
  • sdg380sdg380 Posts: 109
    Savora, I recently opined (#8367) that I didn't think premium sound was worth the upgrade from the very good 10-speaker base system, but others differed.

    I would say that xenons are definitely worth it (I think this may eventually be standard on all cars).

    My '02 530i is Titanium Silver, very light colored. Statistically, I think silver is the most popular car color, with one principal virtue being it greatly masks dirt. But I debated getting Sterling Gray metallic at the time (I call it sort a "pewter" color), and I think if buying today, that's what I'd get. To my eye, it has an understated elegance.

    Designman, at the risk of Pat/host booting me, Consumer Reports has every right to act like it has a monopoly on critiquing value, especially compared to the "buff books" we all read, in view of its "no advertising" policy. Last time I checked R&T and C&D (I admit I subscibe to both) they were LOADED with ads from all of the manufacturers--and it shows, they NEVER say anything BAD about any car! Ever! Oh sure, we all know how to read between the lines, but unvarnished criticism is a very rare bird. And if my livelihood depended on ad revenue, I doubt I'd be any more inclined to be critical on the record.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Savora, my answers to your questions:

    1 – Is getting premium sound worth it?
    Biggest waste of money IMO. Premium sound may be worth it if you are into bass-thumping reggae, hip hop etc. as are the kids who rattle your brains from 1/4 mile away with their subwoofers. Good music is about good mid-range speakers and the sound system that comes with the 5-series has them. Most instrumentation including voice falls within the mid-range spectrum. Subwoofers and tweeters are for detail at the extremes, and the extremes are for SUPPORTING instruments such as stand-up bass, bass guitar, contra bassoon, snare drums, cymbals, etc. Premium sound adds extreme speaker capabilities. In your house this will add great subtle color and presence to the sound, but in a car, this subtlety is drowned out by road noise and speaker positioning. The way these kids use subwoofers is ridiculous. I wonder if either Beethoven, the Beach Boys or Bill Evans ever rang a bell with them. I also find that most people don’t balance their sound properly anyway, compounded by the issue that it not easy to balance sound in a car correctly. Save your money, or put it toward the sound in your home.

    2 – Is Xenon upgrade worth it?
    I love the Xenons, but can live without them and can see someone not wanting to spend the money. I have three cars and only my 530 has them. I don’t miss the Xenons when I drive the other two.

    3 - Does anyone have silver/grey metallic color? How do they like it?
    I have silver with black interior. I do not like the grey interior at all. But color is strictly your choice. I guess there is also an argument for resale but if you lease it’s a non-issue. Silver is the most popular color and I like it also, but I also like others. Just get what YOU like even if you buy.

    Sdg380… I don’t think Pat will boot us because we have relevant 5-series talk within our posts. Personally, I believe the more opinions from the media the better, regardless of the quality. In the end I will determine this for myself. Also, just because CR is not financed by advertising doesn’t mean they are always right. As far as I am concerned they missed the mark with my Subaru. I had a feeling about this and so far after 51k trouble-free miles I was right. Also many people fail to realize that past performance of a car manufacturer does not guarantee the future. They call the 530 the best sedan they ever tested? Yeah I love it, but I also have a nice list of things that piss me off about it… things they never mentioned in their evaluations. CR is OK, but not as good as some people think they are.
  • dabimmerdabimmer Posts: 165
    I also concur that the premium sound is not worth the extra money, but the xenons are definitely. I also highly recommend the sport package with the 17" wheels. My car is an '01 and is Anthracite ( which is a gray-blue) and I love the color. It's a color that requires some attention but is nice when all clean and shiny. If I were to get a new car I would opt for the Sterling Gray, I think it has a lot of elegance. My favorite color is black but I'm not thrilled about the upkeep and therefore wouldn't get black. My interior is black which is wonderful, I really enjoy it. Just my $.02.
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    I must differ with you on your analysis of car audio. Good sound is about balance, in which highs, lows, and mid range are all cared for. While I suppose that someone who only listened to talk on AM would be satisfied with a couple of mid-range speakers placed on the rear deck, many others listen to a variety of music. Great audio is not really about volume - anyone can do loud. Clarity, presence, staging, are all part of the equation, and in my opinion, are way more important than volume. You say that extreme speakers (subwoofers and tweeters) are for supporting instruments, and it appears that you are saying that those "supporting" instruments don't really need to be heard. I beg to differ. As to the house/car issue - Almost any listening environment is a compromise, and a significant amount of work has been done to try to compensate for the deficiencies of the rolling sound room. I can name a couple of cars with truly outstanding audio. I guess my answer to the original question is a big "that depends" - If audio is not important, then no, it is not worth it. If a compromise between the best of the aftermarket, upgraded sound, and keeping the car as stock as possible, is important, then it is worth it, but I would still look at upgrading the speaker quality.

    And by the way, I listen to music ranging from classical, through African, through reggae, rock and jazz Add some swing, a little Sinatra and you have a great road trip. No country, no opera.
  • savorasavora Posts: 25
    Thanks for your input, I am leaning toward getting the xenon and adding the rear shades. Together, they are cheaper than the upgrade for premium sound. I think premium sound is for the audiophile, the "regular" system is still very nice. For 'designman', I meant Silver Gray Metallic with beige leatherette interior. Unfortunately due to the leatherette interior, can't get sports package. (not sure why)
  • ny540i6ny540i6 Posts: 518
    I amend my post slightly...I have not listened to the audio in the '04. I have seen reports that indicate that there is a big gap between the new PS package and the old PS package. I'd probable want to listen to both systems before I made a choice, however based on your posts, I would suggest staying with the base system, which, as you said, is pretty good.
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