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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • I have been having the same thoughts about whether or not I should invest in snow tires. I have heard that the Blizzak snow tire is the way to go, especially for snow and ice. I'm counting on other 530 owners to chime in with some input on snow tires. I have also considered buying a used SUV as a backup.
  • I would like to ask if owners find the Stock Stereo system, for the 530i, good enough or should I spend the $1200 for the Premium version.

    I haven't been able to find a model with the Premium sound system on a dealers lot to audition. Largely because most of the 2001 5's have been sold and the 2002 will not be in until October.
  • I have a 2000 528 and do a lot of winter driving. I called Tirerack (it's an 800 number), and the person i talked to recommended a set of 4 Michelin Pilot Alpins. I bought them along with another set of wheels which is mandatory because you must undersize from your existing size in order to get the maximum effect. They worked beautifully and got me through some bad snowfalls. Without the snow tires, I think I would have to have been towed a few times. MG
  • chrism123- I have the premium sound system and feel it is worth the extra $1200. After all, consider how many hours you will be spending in your 5er over the life span of the car.

    michaelg5- Thank you for the feedback. I will be purchasing wheels and snow tires, now I need to decide what type.
  • chrism123 - I went the opposite way on my '01 530, opting for the std sound system.

    You may well have to listen to one to decide.

    Since that may be difficult, you could ask yourself whether you consider yourself to be an "audiophile" (i.e., big bucks into other stereo equipment at home).

    If so, go for it... if not, I think you'll find the base system more than adequate.
  • I,too, went with the standard 10 speaker sound system and I find it more than adequate.
    In fact, it is a superlative sound system. I am sure that like any other option if you get it
    you'll be very, very happy with it. The sound from a CD source is so good that I am very pleased with it.
  • IMO, I feel that sport suspension is more important than premium stereo, heated seats, and other options. I am really impressed at the improved handling over the standard suspension without sacraficing ride quality. It has a firm ride that is not harsh. It really makes it a true sports sedan.
  • I am looking at a gorgeous Pearl White
    535i (1985) with 65k. Very leary about
    driving in the snow in Northern IL.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If I remember correctly, that vintage 535i had a "Limited Slip Differential" as standard equipment. Assuming that is correct, a set of good snow tires would be about all you would need for safe operation. I lived in the Chicago area back then and my lady friend had a 1986 535i 5-Speed, that car dealt with the snow quite well assuming no steep hills (we took my Audi when we went skiing).

    Best Regards,

    Starting in second gear with the 5-Speed helped a lot when it was real slippery.
  • One word: AWESOME.
  • I went to a college football game Saturday, and just by chance,cruised with a pack of BMWs.They all were late models and were cruising at about 75 m.p.h. on a rural four-lane highway. They were as follows: 750, 540, 528, 330, 328. The weather was perfect for football, and a drive through the country. Bonus was hooking up with the other BMWs and cruising the last 50 miles to the game. The only negative for the entire day was the home team losing!
  • jls21jls21 Posts: 40
    If your car is part of the recall for the fan unit, should you automatically be notified, or do you have to inquire through your dealer? I have not been notified, but I think my car has a build date that is within the range of the recall.
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    I did not receive a letter about the recall and contacted BMW through the Owner's Circle at They said cars built between Jan. and June of 2001 were in the recall. Mine was built in March. They said I did not have to wait for the letter to have the recall work done. I will be taking my car in this Thursday for the 2 1/2 hour job. According to BMW, the recall letters are being sent now, but you don't need to wait. I thought I'd beat the rush and not wait for the letter.
  • I REALLY want to buy a new 530i, but need to be able to tow a 700 pound boat and trailer a couple of times a year. Local salesman checked with BMW "technical staff"(?) and was informed that it would be no problem and would not void the warranty. Just got a call-back from an e-mail question to BMW's support guys on their North American web site. They said definitely not recommended, with no technical data to the contrary. He also commented something about wrong gear ratios, suspension, etc. Anyone know what the real story is?
  • The contradictory comments that you received matched my experience about 18 months ago. My inquiry was regarding towing a 1,000 lb utility trailer with a probable 100 lb tonque weight.

    My sales rep and the service manager at the large local bmw center in Santa Monica responded with very positive comments with references to how bmw's are commonly seen in Europe towing 'caravans' (i.e. small camping trailers) for weekend outings.

    Since those two individuals had provided wildly incorrect technical advise on another matter, and since I've never seen any bmw sedan towing a trailer of material size, I double checked with New Jersey. Opposite response: don't tow anything otherwise the warranty will be voided. This was curious, since the sales brochure indicates that towing 1,000 lbs is ok. I didn't pursue the matter, since I have other vehicles more suited to towing on which I've installed hitch recepticles.

    On the same topic, Trailer Life magazine provided comments on a number of candidate sedan tow vehciles for small utility trailers / jet ski trailers / etc. a while ago, and recommended avoiding using fwd cars and avoiding any vehicles with the Toyota/Lexus V-8, any bmw v-8 (the old missing cylinder lining and ZF auto trans issues again), or the Nissan V-8 engined Q45, for that purpose. They did indicate that the bmw sixes would be ok in their experience, either with the six speed or the GM 5 speed auto transmission. In the case of the automatics, they provided their usual suggestion of adding an auxillary transmission oil radiator.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I have spent a fair amount of time in Europe and have seen any number of 5-Series cars towing the ubiquitous "Caravan" around the countryside. While I do not remember ever seeing one of the V8 models, I have seen everything from a 520i four-banger through the larger six cylinder equipped cars. Were I inclined to tow with a 5-Series, I would get a 530i with a manual gearbox.

    Best Regards,
  • Just saw a TV ad saying new 5-series "from $37,..." Has ANYONE actually purchased one for 37 and change???
  • cmr530icmr530i Posts: 278
    To get a 5 series for that price I would think it would have to be the 525 model with few if any options. My brother bought a 525 with sport package and manual trans. only and paid a bit more than $37K.
  • Gearman, Shipo,

    Thanks for the towing advice. You've confirmed my gut feel, but I am still not sure what direction I'll go.

    Gearman, which sales brochure were you reading which indicated the 1000 lbs?
  • john01john01 Posts: 246
    I am posted in Germany and thinking of 5 series, along with MB E320. I am leaning towards 5 because despite roomier interior, the E is more expensive, comparable to 540i.

    What sort of problems, if any, are you seeing with high mileage M62 engines in 540i? I have heard there are a few potnetial problems with this engine. I love the performance of 540, but maintenance cost may swing it to 530. I do plan on keeping the car for at least 5 to 6 years, or ~100,000 miles. Any issues with the transmission or the clutch, both of them seem to be quite expensive to replace. I am planning on manual.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    One of the things that BMW did to their latest six cylinder engines for the North American market was to sleeve the block. Apparently the cylinder walls of the all aluminum block used in Europe degrade or "Pit" due to the high sulfur content of some fuel sold on this side of the pond (I know Texaco used to have this problem, I do not know if they still do).

    Just a couple of days ago, when some folks here were discussing towing with a 5-Series, Gearman posted that "Trailer Life magazine provided comments on a number of candidate sedan tow vehciles (sic) for small utility trailers / jet ski trailers / etc. a while ago, and recommended avoiding using fwd cars and avoiding any vehicles with the Toyota/Lexus V-8, any bmw v-8 (the old missing cylinder lining and ZF auto trans issues again), or the Nissan V-8 engined Q45, for that purpose." I must say that that post gave me pause regarding the North American version of the BMW V8, does the block use a different alloy than the I6? If not, why does it not have the same problem with fuel with high sulfur content?

    Since I have not heard about any problems, I assume that BMW did indeed use a different alloy in the block; however, this is mere speculation at this point. Does anybody out there have any more information on the issue?

    Best Regards,
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    The v8 uses an aluminum block with alusil treatment on the cyl walls. The i-6 uses an aluminum block with iron sleeves.

    The alusil used in the v-engines seems to be holding up fine, curently, but there's obviously more room for trouble there.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Thanks for the info.

    Best Regards,
  • I am in a position to get a 97 540i with 32K miles on ot for 32 K. Is this a good deal? The car is in pristine condition. was this a good year for this car or there were multiple issues with the model this year. Any help will be appreciated.
  • I would appreciate input on the following issue. I have the ability to purchase a 525 01'model at $1000 over invoice. It is the color that I want and has all of the options I want including premium, HiFi premium, electric rear-sunshade,xenon,cold weather, & fold down seats. Great deal at that price. However, I've been able to negotiate a great deal on an 02'530 with the same package for the same price with ED ($1200 over invoice). The downside to the 525 is it's a 525 vs a 530, it's an 01' vs an 02' and there is no CD despite the upgraded sound system. To add the CD will cost about $600.00. The downside to ED deal is obviously the wait, the cost of going to Europe will effectively add about $2500 to the cost of the car. Anyone's rec's would be appreciated. BTW, a great primer on car negotiating is For the $26 fee there is a wealth of information and it saved me at least $700 compared to other posts on this board.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    Are you indicating that you will be getting the 2002 530i at $1,200 over ED invoice which actually works out to about $1,400 UNDER U.S. Invoice? Good for you - I've been promoting that ED prices are not non-negotiable as some dealers try to claim.

    I am contemplating the same type of deal. As for the $2,500 trip cost, you can certainly do it for less, if saving money is your objective. One of my business associates did his 4-day trip for under $1,000 (by himself). I would probably turn it into a 10 day family vacation (wife & 2 kids) but, thanks to frequent flyer milage, will still probably budget no more than $2,500.

    As for a 2001 525i vs. 2002 530i, I am sure the resale value would be at least $2,500 more for the 530i in 3-4 years. The added value of a one year newer model year (2002 vs 2001) would likely be worth almost that much alone, not counting the value of a 530 over 525.

    My humble recommendation: If you (1) are fully satisfied with the 525i (i.e. power/performance), (2) intend to own it for 6-7+ years (3) consider the trip to Europe a hassle; then go for the 525i. Your deal at $1,000 over invoice sounds pretty good. If, on the other hand, you can live with the wait and might actually enjoy going to Europe, the deal on a 2002 530i is great.

    Good luck - I'm still not sure what I will end up doing in a couple of months.
  • My '02 530i invoice was $1350 LESS than an '01 (same options). So the '02 price may be less than you expect. Also, the $600 CD is a trunk mounted 6 disk changer. You should be able to get a dash mounted single CD for $200 from the dealer unless you also have the navigation system, then dash mount is not available.
  • I have posted several times raving about how great European Delivery is...

    The cost is lower to the dealer by the same amount as MSRP (i.e., margin is the same), AND the price is negotiable. Many dealers will lie through their teeth about these facts.

    The upshot: I paid $38,900 for a new '01 530i 5-speed with Sport/Prem that had an MSRP of $44,500. My dealer sold me the car for something like $1800 over ED invoice. That invoice price is almost $3K less than for U.S. delivery. lists this info and his #'s matched my info.

    You will LOVE having your car in Europe. It's like one big performance-driving theme park over there. Sweeping turns at 100+ m.p.h., mini-drag races with all manner of cars as you decide who passes whom on the autobahn...

    I'm sure many of us have taken brief high-speed runs in our cars in the States, but it's a whole different ball game when you can do it all day long without looking out for cops.

    And another thing: I have driven the autobahns at lot, but never in a car as powerful as my 530. That makes all the difference when you're running more than 100 m.p.h., versus doing it in some rental car with a 1.8-litre.

    OK, I'll shut up now, but you really ought to look into ED.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Funny thing about running the Autobahn in a 1.8 litre rental car.

    Back in 1996, I was consulting to Mercedes-Benz here in New Jersey, they sent me to Stuttgart several times on a project and because I was not an employee of MBUSA, they got me a rental car. The rental car usually turned out to be a BMW 318i, needless to say, it felt kind of strange driving into the MB parking lot in a BMW.

    Anyway, a friend of mine and I drove down to Lago di Garda in northern Italy over a long weekend. On the return trip, heading north just before dawn, between the Austrian border and Ulm, I was pushing the 318i flat out up a long grade at around 180-190kph and saw that I had been "Flashed" by a faster moving vehicle about a kilometer back. I promptly moved over and was stunned to see that the vehicle passing me was none other than a long wheel base Chrysler Minivan! How embarrasing!

    Best Regards,
  • Good question; I think it was the sale brochure for either the 2000 or 1999. I'll check the far corners of my file cabinent and see if I still have it, or if got tossed when the 2001 version arrived.

    On the issue of towing/drivetrain durability, I'll echo dhanley's comment regarding the probable durability advantages of the I-6 with its sleeved cylinders. Ford does the same thing with their aluminum engine used in the DEW-98 platform. It's sleeved for its Lincoln LS-8 application and not in the Jaguar S-type because Ford expects that the Lincoln buyers will appreciate the durability advantages of the sleeved block, and that the Jag buyers perfer having the extra power that the slightly larger displacement (plus some other important tweaks) provides in the Jag. Plus, Ford's marketing info indicates that proportionally more Jag buyers rent/lease their cars for 3/4 years and stay within the mechanical warranty period. Lincolns are generally expected to have longer mileage usage by either single or multiple owners. Differing demographics, I suppose. But what about the buyers of off lease jags? Perhaps a case of buyer beware.

    Anyway, the bmw I-6 is one of the best engines out there these days, along with the Nissan v-6, the northstar, and the Chevrolet small blocks. And unlike those others, it has the excellent double vanos.

    For towing applications, experienced drivers, as evidenced by consistent comments in Trailer Life and other similar publications, generally go with automatics due their advantages when conducting multi-minute trailer parking manuevers on slanted surfaces. I guess they don't like the smell of fried clutch in the morning. And the newer automatics, such as the excellent GM unit in the bmw six cylinder cars, with their lockup torque converters, are not subject to the same degree of fluid heat stress as the older autoboxes without lockup cluches in the top 2 or 3 gears.
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