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BMW 5-Series Wagon 2004 Redesign



  • jbf5jbf5 Posts: 32
    Yes, things change. But there's a reason that "change" and "progress" are not synonymous.

    I think the widespread concern over the new 5 has less to do with a general resistance to change than with skepticism about change for its own sake, and in particular a dislike for change that makes things worse rather than better.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Facelift in its life, yes, but it's not usually after the very first year. We'll have to wait and see. Hopefully they can sort out the hunchback look, at least the 5 doesn't have that characteristic.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    I just got back in town from Europe, and this time I did not see any new E60s tooling around. That said, I did pick up a magazine in the lobby of my hotel in Paris and find the published prices for the 6 cylinder E60:

    525i (Petrol): 42,000 Euros
    530i (Petrol): 45,000 Euros
    530d (Diesel): 41,000 Euros

    Hmmm, am I missing something? Unless the 530d is de-contented when compared to the 525i and the 530i, how is it that it costs less? If I remember correctly, the published specs for the 530d rank it right behind the 530i in acceleration off the line, and even faster than the 530i above 40 mph. Go figure.

    FWIW, I rode in one of the new W211 E-Class cabs again on this trip. I hailed it at something like 4:30 AM Monday morning for a ride from the Gare du Nord area to Charles de Gaulle airport. When we started rolling, I immediately noticed that this one was a diesel just like the E220 that I rode in back in April; however, it felt somewhat faster. When we merged onto the autoroute we were following some other traffic up the ramp, and as we hit the main roadway, my driver opened it up, and I was stunned at how fast that thing went from 60 kph (a little less than 40 mph) to 160 (100 mph). When we got to the airport the driver turned to me while patting his steering wheel and said, "What do you think of my new taxi?" I told him that I loved it. While retrieving my baggage, I noticed that I had been riding in a new E320 CDI. Hmmm, maybe by the time the lease is up on my 2002 530i, MB-USA will be importing that thing, I would buy one in a minute.

    Best Regards,
  • 6_speed6_speed Posts: 37
    has a design analysis article on the new 5.

    Almost all the comments were positive, IMO. The only negative comment was the cut-out for the tailpipe.

    Read it for a professional perspective on the new design cues.
  • msgreenmsgreen Posts: 67
    Yes, I read that too; however, whether the author is giving us a "professional styling review" or not, the fact remains that many people, including current E39 owners, are turned off enough by the pictures that they have sworn off buying the E60. No doubt some of this can be expected for any redesign; however, BMW seems to be truly stirring the proverbial pot with the new 7, 5 and Z4 designs. Maybe they will sell, but having a "pro" tell me that the design is great won't work if I (and many others) don't like it. To each his own, but I think that the "emergency" refresh of the 7 series after only two years suggests that BMW is getting a message on this styling trend that is not all that positive....
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    I agree completely with MSGreen. The only person who can tell you if a particular style is pleasing to your eye is yourself. After all, if a "Professional Reviewer" of SUV type vehicles was to proclaim that Hummer or the Ford Excursion to be the pinnacle of 21st century vehicle design, I still wouldn't be caught dead with one in my garage.

    Best Regards,
  • 6_speed6_speed Posts: 37
    msgreen: Maybe they will sell, but having a "pro" tell me that the design is great won't work if I (and many others) don't like it...

    shipo: I agree completely with MSGreen. The only person who can tell you if a particular style is pleasing to your eye is yourself. After all, if a "Professional Reviewer" of SUV type vehicles was to proclaim that Hummer or the Ford Excursion to be the pinnacle of 21st century vehicle design, I still wouldn't be caught dead with one in my garage.

    Seems to me you two read my last post as "Hey, look, this professional says it looks good, so it must be good, let's go and buy one now".

    It was not.

    I was merely pointing out an article written by a 'professional' to add another perspective to this board.

    It's similar to a 'professional' guide explaining to you the intricate details of Mona Lisa or Whistler's Mother or any Van Gogh's paintings. At the end of the day, you might walk away totally unimpressed with what you saw but hopefully you get a new perspective on the thinking behind them. FWIW, I was not impressed with the Mona Lisa painting, although no way near as much as SUVs, so we're on the same page there shipo :)

    Ultimately, the new 5 design has to work for you to want to buy it. This is true for almost anything we buy, except SUVs...

    One thing I can say about this board so far is I haven't read one post that was a pro just because it's a BMW and that's a good thing.
  • msgreenmsgreen Posts: 67
    not arguing with you, just making the observation that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I understand the "professional" description and commentary. In the case of the Automobile article (as you note), the comments were mostly favorable. No doubt some will like the E60, and that is their choice. As a long time bimmer lover, I just wish that the design was not so polarizing. Maybe the "in person" view will be better - I hope so. What struck me, however, was BMW rushing to change the styling on the 7 after only two years. This is highly unusual and clearly indicates that the factory is getting flak from dealers about the style turning off buyers. Since the 5 follows many aspects of the 7 design, including the rear end, it would seem that the 5 may get the same reception? Who knows? But, many did not like the 7 styling and probably won't like the 5 even though they love BMWs...
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    Maybe the new 5's styling will turn off some folk, and leave the 5 to those who like to "drive". Maybe put in a little more sport, and a little less luxury. Let MB be the "to have" car for the status seekers/social climbers.

    I know...I'm stretching here,

    Jack.. who just bought a '03 530i after looking at pictures of the '04 5.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That professional reviewer's salary is paid from the ads in that magazine, which in turn are paid by BMW, among others. ;-)

  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I saw some pics of the new 5 at and really like the front head on view. It has a hunkered down look.

    From some angles the 5 is ... interesting, but I too look forward to the actually look, feel, touch, drive session once my dealer gets them in.

    From my view, the interior is nice. My kids like playing with the I-drive when we go to the dealer. So good thing it is in front. ;) But you could put it in back and let the kids handle it for you. :) hehe

    The interior dash seems to no longer be driver centric, but a bit flatter. No big deal there, because the images still show a very nice and clean interior.

    When I drive a car, I'm not TOO concerned about how it looks outside because I'm too busy enjoying the drive. :)

    The E60 is growing on me, and my wife too. :) Anybody want a 1999 Civic Si so I can make room in the garage for one? :)


    Shipo, welcome back
  • 6_speed6_speed Posts: 37
    If for a moment you can forget the fact that you ever saw the new 7 or Z4, would you still say the new 5 is polarizing?
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    Well, yeah. I, along with many others, made a purchase decision based on the looks of the new 5. Takes a lot for me not to consider a new BMW. But, at the moment, an 04 5 will NOT be under consideration.

    I do believe that both the new 7 and Z4 look better in person than in pictures.

    I drive by the US plant twice a day, so I've seen so many 7s and Z4s that I'm actually starting to like them. Of course, the Z4 looks better because it handles "so good".


  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Forget the z4. :) I saw some images of the M version of the z4 and I like it. But I liked the z4 before. The effects added really balance the car, IMO.

  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    Okay, so what makes a BMW a BMW?

    If you could design a new 5 Series, what would you require it to have? With the criticisms of the E60, I'm curious as to what you would expect a new 5er to have to identify it and make it a true 5.

    I'm just looking for ideas here. :)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Pull a Robert Frost, take the path less traveled. Stop adding electronic nannies and let the pilot drive the car. Add lightness, i.e. aluminum, not a bunch of features like i Drive.

    Don't try to "style" it. Look at the original sports sedan, the 2002. 3 decades later it still looks better than the brand new 5 or 7 series.

    What makes a BMW a BMW? The driver is conscious. So stop adding features intended for the passengers.

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    ateixeria... You wrote, "Add lightness, i.e. aluminum, not a bunch of features like i Drive." The press is reporting significant weight reductions in new 5 Series. Use of aluminum and other lightening steps. Not unlike what Jag is doing to lighten the new XJ platform. (Though I wholeheartedly concur that iDrive is completely unnecessary. Why can't BMW go retro and bring back the old 6 Series dash? Designed for the need of the driver to faciliate driving?)
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    According to AutoSite sedan sales data... 3 Series doing pretty good. New 7 Series down. Old E39 still has sales life in her:


    BMW 3 Series 6,460 6,498 30,057 27,930
    BMW 5 Series 4,067 3,550 16,894 17,068
    BMW 7 Series 1,973 2,209 .8,358 ..8,888
    BMW M5........ 227 ...132 ....892 ....818
  • merc1merc1 Posts: 6,081
    The car looks a *little* better to me on TV, now that MotorWeek has shown their first drive of the car. The interior appear to be better than the 7-Series as far as controls go.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Reviews are tip-toeing around the issue, did you see Autoweek's?

    Do we know the final curb weights in US production trim? It'll be interesting to compare. Often manufacturers talk about all the steps they took, and then the car is still heavier! We'll see.

  • aqbaqb Posts: 12
    was my first -- and last -- BMW, bought in '88. Love/hate relationship. Beautiful car albeit a bit underpowered, and,... need parts? fuggetaboutit! Had to wait for my mechanic to visit mom in Germany to get needed shocks and headlight lens....
    Anyhow, my wife lives and dies by Consumer Reports and informs me our next car will be a 530. I offered to buy her three new Accords instead, to no avail.
    1. I live in New England; Is this car drivable in snow, with or without snowtreads?
    2. I'm hours away from the nearest dealer; any wonderful sales or repair experiences anywhere in New England to share?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    I have a few comments that might help you out a little. First, I am on my second BMW, a 2002 530i 5-Speed, and so far, not a single fault of any kind. My previous BMW was a 1999 328i 5-Speed, which I had for three years, and the only two faults were two $.50 taillight bulbs. I could have had them replaced under warranty, but why bother?

    Second, I live in New Hampshire, and prior to last summer, I lived in New Jersey. My 328i was not equipped with the Sport Package (SP), and as such was equipped from the factory with All-Season tires, which were, ummm, okay, sort of, in winter weather conditions. I should qualify the previous statement by saying, "With the traction control engaged" (its default state) because that car was a real hand full with no electronic aids. The 530i is equipped with the SP, and accordingly, I ordered a winter wheel/tire set from last fall. Wouldn't you know it, just after I placed the order, we had a couple of minor snow falls (less than 5"), and with just the summer tires between me and the snow, that car was all but un-drivable what with the winding/narrow/hilly/crowned roads we have here in NH. I got the snows just before Christmas, and as a nice Christmas gift, Mother Nature provided us with 18" of the white stuff, starting on 25-December. Time to test my tires. ;-)

    As I was pulling out of my driveway in about 6", I could already tell the difference. By the time I got on the main road (heavily rutted and not yet plowed), I knew I had a winning combination. Once on the local 2-Lane Highway, I was able to climb, turn and stop with relative aplomb, so much so that I was easily able to reel in a conga-line of 4WD SUVs. From my perspective, the only thing that MIGHT have performed better would have been an Audi or a Subaru.

    Regarding a dealer, I bought my car (via ED) in New Jersey, and I have only been to Tully (Nashua, NH) once (my wife hooked the front bumper on a curb stone), and they were very attentive, but beyond that, I cannot say.

    I hope this helps.

    Best Regards,
  • 6_speed6_speed Posts: 37
    From AutoExpress,

    New 5 Prices Revealed
    BMW has released prices for chief designer Chris Bangle's latest controversial work, the 5-Series. Out in September, the base 520i SE will cost £25,455, with the 530i SE at £30,995. In October, the £26,955 525i SE will arrive, as will the flagship 545i SE, at £41,555. All come with six-speed boxes, part-electric seats and a revised iDrive system.

    Current 5 Prices
    BMW 5 Series 4.4 V8 540i Sport Saloon 4 dr, £40455
    BMW 5 Series 3.0 530i SE Saloon 4 dr, £29400
    BMW 5 Series 2.5 525i SE Saloon 4 dr, £26965
    BMW 5 Series 2.2 520i SE Saloon 4 dr, £25155

    Today's exchange rate £1 = $1.66
  • aqbaqb Posts: 12
    I drove my winter car, a '02 Forester, from Waterbury CT to Keene NH in that storm -- scary all the same.... My summer wheels are a '90 300ZX twin turbo which is REALLY scary in snow.
    I tested a new 540 6-speed @ Dreher-Holloway in Stratham and loved it; I'm a bit off-put by gas guzzler etc however; then drove a 530 automatic in Worcester --Wagner Motors -- and found it to be quite adequate for $7K cheaper -- decisions, decisions.
    Was your NJ purchase a satisfactory experience? Dealer name? What do (will) you do about service?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    My shopping experience with Park Avenue BMW in Bergen County was good. I called them and asked for a price. They called me back and said yes. I signed the paperwork one hour later. ;-) Unfortunately, the salesman (Mike Weber) is apparently no longer there and I cannot comment on any of the others. I bought my 328i from Prestige in Ramsey, and they too were quite plesant to work with.

    Regarding service, I will most likely be using Tulley in Nashua. As I am nearing 15,000 miles, I will be visiting them soon.

    Best Regards,
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Can't wait to see what USA pricing is. Are they holding the line?

    June 7th issue of The Economist (p. 53) has an interesting article titled "European Business: Grappling with the strong euro." Discusses BMW's activities in this area. They cope by (1) getting 31 percent of sales from America and Canada and a further 24 percent of sales from outside Euro zone, (2) producing cars in USA and Britain, and (3) "us[ing] derivatives to hedge its overseas profits fully in each current financial year, and partially for the year ahead." They note Porsche does same except for (2). VW also aggressively hedging. They note the broad rule of thumb that "a 10% rise (fall) in the value of the euro against the dollar causes a 3% fall (rise) in European corporate profits."
  • aqbaqb Posts: 12
    Go to for new 5 series brochure (PDF). Great pix!
  • kdmcm02kdmcm02 Posts: 1
    In the December 2002 issue of Automobile Magazine, it said that the 2004 5-series will be available with all-wheel drive. Is this true?

    If not, its a shame because Mercedes now has the 4-matic option available on most of it's sedans including the S-500.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    The new Autoweek has spy pics of the emergency face-lift for the 7, check it out. Part is covered, but it certainly looks better by a long shot.

  • Has there been any info released on the pricing in the US for the new 5? I haven't been able to find anything.
This discussion has been closed.