BMW 5-Series Wagon 2004 Redesign

SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
edited March 2014 in BMW
What's new in 2004 for the long-lived 5-Series?


  • whothemanwhotheman Member Posts: 169
    is accurate. The front end is better looking than the 7. The 225HP six carries over, as does the 7's 325HP V8. The V10 comes for 2005 in the new M5. More rear legroom and trunk space.
  • verozahlverozahl Member Posts: 574
    I still don't like the new look.
  • whothemanwhotheman Member Posts: 169
    The new 5 looks more aggressive. It's not a GS430, but it's better. It's more aggressive than the new E-Class. And hopefully a stick/V8 combo stay in the mix!
  • ascarissascariss Member Posts: 11

    Read that, and decide for yourself if the new 5 will be good or not. Has Chris Bangle and his group of designers created a bad car?? I hope when the car comes out it won't suck, if BMW screws up this car, bangle will for sure get fired. The 5 series is the money maker for BMW and one of its best cars. Maybe the E39 will be the last best 5 series, maybe. Read the article and judge it.

  • machiavellimachiavelli Member Posts: 260
    The 7 series was bad enough, but the new Z4 is really atrocious! If that is any indication of BMW's future styling direction, it probably won't be long until Bangle is fired.
  • ascarissascariss Member Posts: 11
    Bangle has been on with BMW for about almost 10 years now, and will be there a bit longer. Until the BMW owner's, some family, decide to fire him, he still will work there. The only reason BMW will fire him, is if next year's BMW sales begin to fall, the look of BMW cars might have something to do with it, Bangle's toast.
  • lacarolinelacaroline Member Posts: 11
    Was going to get a 2003 530i, now I'm wondering if it's better to just wait the 6 months or so for the new re-designed 2004, or is the pre-launch date just a guesstimate?
    I wonder if getting the 2003 will make my car "old" already. I would've gotten a 2002 but finding a 530i that is NOT black, white, or silver is difficult in SoCal. I plan on keeping my car for a long
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    If you plan on "keeping your car for a long time," resale value becomes less important as a consideration. I wouldn't expect any earth-shattering changes for the '04 5-series: new styling (which is already generating skepticism and concern based on the new 7-series), iDrive, lighter suspension components, and some new luxury features/amenities. As for the drivetrain, the 540i will probably become the 545i, adopting the new V8 from the 745i. Word has it there'll be two 6-cylinders; the base will be either the current 3.0 inline-6 or a valvetronic version thereof, perhaps raising output 10-20 horsepower. And, what is already raising eyebrows among BMW loyalists, is a 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged inline-6 producing an eye-watering 380 horsepower. If they can minimize the turbo lag and keep it as tractable and linear as possible, that will be one sweet (and fast) ride.

    It's expected the new 5-series will debut in Europe in late summer/early fall next year, and in the US later in the fall/early winter (hence more than the six months you indicate). That said, given all the new technology (especially with unproven things like iDrive), I'd recommend against buying the '04 5-series. 7-series boards are full of people who've had major electronics problems with the new 745i.
  • lacarolinelacaroline Member Posts: 11
    Thanks Shahak for the info!
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Member Posts: 5,751
    Brake by wire and steer by wire? EVT? Cars are we know them are going fast and we won't even be able to open the hoods soon.
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    Not much new here, but I'll post anyway. From the 9/02 issue of European Car.


  • g35_in_austing35_in_austin Member Posts: 1
    Nothing new, but found the following at the site below. Can anyone confirm the June availability ?

    2004 BMW 5 series to arrive early

    Our spies tell us that the next generation 5-series (2004 Model) is coming sooner than later...we were originally told the new car would appear next September (2003) in Frankfurt and roll in to the US in January of 2004.

    We are now told to look for the car in the spring of 2003 with availablity in the US at dealers in the June timeframe...

    The current five series will only be produced for a half a year in 2003 with production of the last vehicles ending in December/January 2002/2003 timeframe...

    The 2003 540 sport will get the same front and rear bumper treatments as the M5.

  • mynextcarmynextcar Member Posts: 30
    Has anyone got a website to see the rear view of the redesigned model? I only see the front view and cannot find a photo from the rear side. I am trying to decide whether I should get 530 before redesign or not. Hopefully not the same as 7 series. Thanks
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    There haven't been any convincing spyshots yet, only heavily clad ones and "artist renditions." There'll probably be increasingly realistic and accurate prototypes spotted by Winter and Spring, which will still give you time to buy an E39 if you choose. However, based on this:


    I'm already disappointed with the E60 design. Frankly, I think i-Drive is a good intention gone awry, and I hate this "opening" of the traditional cockpit design.

  • wolfeye155wolfeye155 Member Posts: 2
    I'm glad that we're getting a redesign for the 5 series. The current one is kind of ugly in my opinion. This is the 21st century. I want cars that have radical new designs. I'm tired of boring, staight lines, no curves, no inspiration...bring on the new stuff! :D
  • kejacokejaco Member Posts: 3
    I'm not at all pleased with the direction BMW is going. I don't like the E60's looks and I really hate the new dashboard flat design. As for i-drive, I don't want it. Although the E60 may be technically superior to the E39, BMW is losing it. I'll be trading my '99 528i for an '03 530i with the intention of keeping it until BMW returns to its senses.
  • rjred1rjred1 Member Posts: 1
    Here is a website for the rear view of the redesigned 2004 530. You have to scroll down for a while and you will see two pictures of the 530.
  • ericmuiericmui Member Posts: 5
    There are 10 pictures of the 2004 5 series in autoweek. Go to, click New BMW 5 Series under PHOTO.
  • d2000one1d2000one1 Member Posts: 47
    Looks like the front end of a 1994 Pontiac Grand Am!!
  • shoesshoes Member Posts: 131
    Did Chris Bangle used to work for Pontiac?

    I cannot believe it would be possible to ruin my favorite car. Good thing I picked up a 2002 540i.
  • lms007lms007 Member Posts: 1
    "The new 5 looks more aggressive. It's not a GS430, but it's better. It's more aggressive than the new E-Class. And hopefully a stick/V8 combo stay in the mix!"

    Please tell me you did not say that. I honestly think Lexus makes the ugliest looking cars. The gs300 and 430 are repulsive! They have more lights then a semi truck and the angles are obscure and wrong. The car does not look good from any angle and I don't even think it comes in a manual transmission (the one i drove was automatic). If you have ever driven a 540i 6-speed or m5, you will see there is no contest againts the lexus. The bmw is more fun to drive then any Lexus I've ever driven. I'm not sure if I like the 2004 style of the BMW, but it's not bad. Its still a whole better then that gs300.
  • bsottilebsottile Member Posts: 1
    Check out this site for some good photos and commentary.

    I was about to take delivery of a new 2003 540iA Sport but the more I read about the new one, the more I think I may want to wait for that and from the photos in this site, they didn't make the same mistake on the rear end like on the 745(cut off the classic BMW tail lights and added that ugly reflector strip in the trunk lid - they should spend whatever it takes to redo that 745 trunk now - I hate it and all these other critics can't be wrong).

  • rayrockrayrock Member Posts: 14
    as for the styling direction BMW is taking, auto art like other art takes some time to accept. each time BMW and MEBE changes a model i wince a little but after a while the previous version looks dated in comparison. my subjective opinion is the front ends are progressive but the rear ends are ornate
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    I agree, but only to an extent. Indeed, the new 7-series has visually antiquated the old 7-series, which suddenly appear boxy and dated. But, I believe good design shouldn't require time to wear people down and breed acceptance through familiarity. Granted, it may be criticized as "evolutionary" or "careful," but the current 5-series were labeled as such, and yet have aged incredibly well and still exude a timeless design. Other recent examples of good design which, while admittedly unagressive, do not polarize the way BMW has lately (the new E-class and A8):



  • spoilsportspoilsport Member Posts: 13
    I have owned 2 BMWs, a 1973 2002 and a 1976 530i. I have always admired them and always will. I have to say though when it comes to design and styling....Audi seems to have overtaken. The cabins are near flawless. As drivers cars BMW still soars, but man are they building some ugly ducklings. The Compact with the Lexus IS tailights is one of the biggest styling disappointments I've yet experienced. How could they do that ?
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    spoilsport... Your primary focus seems to be on styling. Fair enough. That is in the eye of the beholder. To each his own. Personally, I think most Audi look somewhat generically styled on the exterior. Almost as if by a Japanese styling studio. Compare Infiniti G35 to Audi A8 and A6. At least BMWs are unique and readily identifiable.

    But I buy BMWs for what I believe really counts: acceleration, braking, handling, ride, balance, etc. Audi is a great marque. But their design philosophies leave me cold. I'd rather have RWD (BMW) than FWD or AWD (Audi). I'd rather have smoother I6 engine (BMW) than inherently less smooth I4 or V6 (Audi). I want lots of choices. Does Audi have an X5? Z4? Z8? Look at all the permutations of the 3 Series. M, coupe, convertible, wagon, roadster (former Z3), AWD, auto/manual, two engines, sport/nonsport, etc.

    I want my cars to have good manual transmissions. I prefer normally aspirated engines over turbo-charged or supercharged engines. I want a marque with great general history, great racing history, and a great club system.

    When I add it all up, Audi is a fine marque with some great cars, but Audi just can't compare to BMW.
  • rghesselrghessel Member Posts: 122
    Does anyone know if AWD will be available on the new 5-series?
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    Rumors are it will be offered, but rumors have been wrong before. Even if it is offered, I'd expect it would be a year or more after the initial models come out (next fall/winter).
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    January 2003 issue of Automobile magazine has a one-page update on upcoming 5 and 6 Series, with four pictures. Page 20. They report the new E60 5 Series will come to USA in "early 2004". Will have 6-speed automatic and manual transmissions, with optional SMG. Struts up front and multi-link in rear.

    New M5 out in 2005 with 500 hp 5.5L V-10.

    There is an interesting size comparison chart. Shows the new E60 will have a 113.7 inch wheelbase (vs 111.4 for E39), be 190.6 inches long overall (vs 188.0), be 57.8 inches tall (vs 56.5), be 72.7 inches wide (vs 70.9), have a 61.3 inch front track (vs 59.5) and a 62.1 inch rear track (vs 60.2).

    Thought it most interesting that weight was not mentioned. Since it is getting bigger in all dimensions and filled with more stuff (e.g., ARS, EDC, variable-ratio active steering), weight likely to rise. Even with the use of aluminum suspension components and thinner glass.

    They report that "mid-term, the 5-series also will be available with four-wheel drive and electrohydraulic brakes".

    To use a simplified and improved iDrive.
  • pen101pen101 Member Posts: 238
    Should be interesting to see if the 2004 is sufficiently improved to get me not to buy my 2002 530i after the lease expires in December 2004.

    Will the assumed increase in weight adversely affect handling and acceleration even with the improved suspension and higher horsepower ratings (compared to the current 530i). Also will they improve the base radio, the center arm rest and the cup holders? Will there be increased back seat room (our infant car seat barely fits - fits only when wedged in against back of front seat). Hopefully the i-drive will be an option (which I will not take). Will manual transmissions be available with all engines? And what about the price points. How much more upscale on the price will they go? And finally, will the new design grow on me?
  • rghesselrghessel Member Posts: 122
    That article in Automobile Magazine indicates that the new 5-series won't be in the US until the spring of 2004...which is not what I've read elsewhere (I'd heard anywhere from the Spring to the fall of 2003, but not 2004...
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    You ask a lot of good questions, but since BMW hasn't made any official announcement about the E60, we can only speculate. However, some "probable" details have emerged that have remained consistent with most journalists' reports.

    For one, I'm not sure if the weight will increase much--if at all--on the E60. BMW is said to be investing heavily on greater use of aluminum alloys in the suspension and subframe components to counter the inevitable weight of additional computers and features, safety equipment, etc. Handling should be improved--although honestly it's hard to imagine how much better it could be--as should steering. I read an interesting piece in Roundel last month about the new Active Steering, which sounds like a real boon. I have no clue about the cupholders, armrest, or radio. Rear seatroom will almost definitely increase; reportedly, the wheelbase will be about 2 inches longer. I-Drive is unfortunately an integral part of the dash and electrical systems design, so it will almost certainly NOT be an option, but rumors say it will be a simpler and more intuitive system than the 7's system. Pricing is obviously unanounced, but I'm sure they'll try to keep it competitive. I'd give it a 3-5% increase at most. As for the new design, that's the $64k question. We'll see.
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    Estimates vary, but the latest reports say production will begin in Europe in late Spring, and ramping up in volume through the summer and fall as retooling completes and efficiencies maximized. The official introduction might be as early as March, but most likely September in the Frankfurt Auto Show. The past couple of magazines I've seen have predicted US arrival in early 2004. Some might start to trickle in in late 2003, but there's no chance they'll be here this Spring. Where did you see such reports?
  • idletaskidletask Member Posts: 171
    Please don't criticize it before you've even used it. I test drove a 730d, and honestly, if there weren't iDrive, I just can't imagine the number of buttons which would pollute the dash.

    iDrive actually makes things easier. All switches on the dash are the most commonly used. iDrive does the rest. Using it is just a matter of habit, and in not even 10 minutes at a dead stop I could program in all my preferences plus a guidance to my destination on the nav system. The only trap which one should not fall in is to manipulate it while driving. Anyway you don't need to.

    Use it and then judge.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    snagiel... I concur. That is pretty much been what Roundel, Bimmer, et al have been reporting. December 2002 issue of Roundel reports that "BMW's breakthrough Active Steering technology will debut in the new E60 5 Series." But says AS will "initially be optional on the mid-range sedans and sport wagons". This same story repeats that the debut will be at Frankfurt Auto Show in September 2003. USA intro in early 2004 would then make sense.

    I keep hoping BMW pulls a "Jag" weight loss diet. Future XJ is reportedly going to be 400 pounds lighter. Can BMW beat its recent history and actually put the 5 Series on a decent diet? Z4 does bode well. BMW kept its weight at about 3,000 pounds (2,932-3,042, depending upon model).

    idletask... I drove a 745i during the Drive for the Cure Tour. iDrive was a mess. Took way to long to do simple things like fiddle with radio. I hated it. Thought most of the controls (e.g., seats) were too complex and not intuitive. But it drove flawlessly. Praying BMW realizes the 5 Series is meant to be a driver's car.
  • bimmer12bimmer12 Member Posts: 72
    This is a difficult debate that I've been contimplating and others I'm sure... the 2003 530i seems so perfect and what worries me more about the E60 5 series then the body or shape is the reliability.. The new 745i's malfunction list is astronomical and everyone I know who has owned one has a laundry list of issues... They say the drive is amazing but buying a car in it's first year of production is a huge risk that I don't think I want to make..

    I don't know, what are your thoughts? Do you think they will discount the current 530i anytime soon?
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    I, too, test drove the 745i during the Drive for the Cure on two consecutive days here in Atlanta, and played with iDrive on both days, spending probably a total of 25-30 minutes on it. (The first day was on a Friday, and there wasn't anyone waiting on the car, so I was able to linger in there.)

    As an IT consultant and software engineer, I consider myself fairly comfortable and adaptable with computer interfaces and systems. iDrive blows. I think it's tied to BMW's obsession with a single input key; The navigation systems on the rest of their models also feature a one-knob input for navigation, text entry and input, and they're unintuitive as well.

    More buttons is not necessarily a bad thing. The ubiquitous keyboards we all use have many, many keys, yet most are able to use them efficiently and without looking. Do you think we could do so if we had only a single rotatry knob? The comparison isn't perfect, but my point is that BMW should have invested effort in simplifying the application itself, not only the in simplifying the dash design. Sure, you can add more and more functions to fewer controls. But doing so requries additional attention paid to a monitor, which is contrary to safe driving.

    Would spending a lot of time with iDrive breed greater familiarity with the system? Probably. But every report about the new Audi A8's "MultiTronic" unit hails it as what iDrive should have been. Its menu navigation is reportedly far better designed, and a central knob--complemented by eight surrounding buttons on the console--are reportedly a much more intuitive and quicker manner in which to input and obtain information.
  • idletaskidletask Member Posts: 171
    Radio is logically placed in the menus. Getting to FM sets are just two knob movements away, and this is doable while driving any day, once you have learned the appropriate movements. No need to look at the dash to search buttons, a thing that you do even if you know the buttons by heart (I still do in my 3 series). The learning curve may be a little steep if you want to master all the nooks and crannies, but how many functions do you need daily?

    Maybe it's the fact that I'm a long time Linux user and used to difficulties but I wouldn't call iDrive a mess at all. To me, it was fairly intuitive.
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    Well, your comfort with UNIX does explain a few things, but you hit the nail on the head with "how many functions do you really need?"

    If iDrive was reserved only for those "set it and forget it" configurations (e.g. making the seat back warmer proportionally than the seat bottom--yes, you can do this), that would be one thing. But, even though some dash controls don't require going through iDrive, many--as you point out, the radio controls--still do.

    Have you ever used the Lexus or Acura Nav/Stereo systems? Far better than the BMW system. Just because you were finally able to get comfortable with iDrive, doesn't mean it's necessarily a good system.
  • m1fullerm1fuller Member Posts: 9
    Hey, I'm ready to buy a BMW 530. But wondering if I should wait for the new model or buy the current one now and wait for the new one first year trials. Also if the new one is on its way will they discount the new 530's. Any thoughts? thanks
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    If you're the type who needs the latest and greatest, I'd hold off. But if you'd rather have a refined and still extremely competitive model, you won't be disappointed with the 530i. When the E60 arrives (around next year this time), BMW will try to avoid having excess inventory of E39's, but I would expect to find some good deals once the E60's start arriving by the truckload and the last remaining E39's remain on dealer lots. Be aware, however, that you'd be totally limited in your color and equipment options (manual 5-series are rare on dealer lots), and your choices would shrink rather quickly. Finally, as an editorial, I wouldn't even think about buying the new 5-series during its first year. Just as with the new 7-series, I'm sure there'll be issues in need of refinement.
  • m1fullerm1fuller Member Posts: 9
    Thanks for the insight. I spent the whole day at the dealership driving the 530i. I decided to buy the 03' 530i. Should arrive in January. Couldn't pass on the 1.9% financing. thanks
  • rickbsrickbs Member Posts: 1
    I have a 2001 540i 6-speed. I've been really psyched about the upcoming V10 500HP M5. Now I read that BMW won't offer a 6-speed stick, but only their manumatic.

    I can't even tell you how disappointed I am. I've never even consider a Mercedes because they don't offer a stick. But if I'm going to look at a "stick-less" M5, I would have to consider the E55 AMG. It's lots less expensive and it rocks pretty good.

    I guess the last great manufacturer of driver's cars is going the way of the dodo.
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    First of all, it's all still rumors. Second, there's a big difference between the Mercedes slushboxes and the BMW SMG systems. The latter are not manumatics in the traditional sense (i.e. automatic transmissions that allow manually selecting gears). Rather, SMG is an honest manual transmission (no torque converter) which has a hydraulically, automatically engaging clutch. It allows far more control than most manumatics, which typically go into "auto" mode when you approach redline or when you suddenly floor it. SMG, furthermore, is arguably better than even real manuals since it allows you to keep both hands on the wheel at all times, it can shift faster than virtually anyone, and it will extend the clutch life for most drivers.

    The system's only real disadvantages are that: 1) the slow acceptance by performance traditionalists who prefer a stick, and 2) the (very small number of) electronic bugs in the shifting logic, but I'm sure they'll be resolved by the third generation that will appear in the next M5.

    Hey, there's a reason F1 cars have these systems as well.
  • merc1merc1 Member Posts: 6,081
    Excellent post on SMG.

  • dstompkinsdstompkins Member Posts: 4
    The following is what I've learned from other sites about the actual "in showroom" date for the 2004 5 series. The car will be shown at a March 2003 autoshow, with release in Europe shortly thereafter. US dealers will officially be shown the car in October 2003, and orders will be allowed at that time. Delivery to US dealers would be expected late November 2003. I've seen nothing about whether some versions (ie 525, 530, 545) will come first or all at once.
  • expolesexpoles Member Posts: 1
    Any idea as to when BMW will stop taking orders for the '03 model? I am looking for a 530 with a 5-speed and will have to order it if I am to get the exact color, options ect. However, I am still undecided as to hold out for the '04. Would like to see more of the '04 before I decide. What is the '03 expected cutoff date?! Also, will the '04 530i finally get a 6-speed manual trans? 1.9% financing???? Where? That would make my decision a lot easier.
  • rghesselrghessel Member Posts: 122
    Anyone have any idea if the AWD version of the new 5-series will be available from the outset?
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    I'm not sure about "cutoff dates." Check with your dealer, although I suspect they won't really know yet either. My gut says March or April, but I could be wrong.

    As for a 6-speed, it's possible but not yet heard in the rumor mill. The Z4 3.0 offers a 6-speed, as will a special edition of the 330i to be released this Spring (along with some electronics and hardware upgrades to bump the engine up to 235 hp). However, of all the improvements I could come up with for the next 530, a sixth speed wouldn't be anywhere near the top of the (short) list. The 540 needs it only because it's such a guzzler. It would be nice, sure, but hardly necessary in my opinion.
  • snagielsnagiel Member Posts: 750
    Rumors (hey, that's all I have) suggest AWD will be an option, but I'd bet the house it won't be available in the initial E60 debut. Probably in late '04 or '05.
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