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BMW 5-Series Wagon 2004 Redesign



  • Will the 2004 5 series or later models become equipped with All Wheel Drive?
  • Helpful discussion on SMG above for the M5. My dealer thinks there is at least some chance the 545 itself will have an SMG [option?] (i.e. that it won't just be the M5). That would be pretty compelling. Anyone have data/opinion on whether that's likely?
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    No idea, but BMW has announced a limited version of SMG (called SSG, I believe) will be available on the 3-series (perhaps only in Europe) and the Z4 this Spring, so it appears the technology is trickling its way down the product line.

    Also/Separately, I've read that one of BMW's board members (or some other knowledgable source) has said SMG is likely to replace all of its manual trannies in the future. I don't know how true or likely that really is (I hope a stick will always be an option), but it certainly indicates the promise BMW sees in this technology.
  • Does anyone have any idea if the 2004 5 series will have a 525 model? Or how much it will cost compared to the current 5 series?
  • This may be premature, but I am just thinking ahead...
    I am planning on buying my first BMW and I am going to wait for the 545i (E60).
    Does anyone have any suggestions as to the options:
    3.0 I6 vs. 3.5l V8 vs. 4.4l V8 engine?
    AWD vs. RWD?
    iDrive or no iDrive? Would it help to check out a current 745 even though the iDrive is supposed to be simplified in the E60?

  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    If women plan their weddings when they're nine years old, certainly we can fantasize about a car we'll be buying in a year.

    That said, though, it's not yet known which engine choices will be available. The V8 from the 745i is almost a certainty, as is one or two of the 6-cylinders. IDrive will most likely be a non-deletable feature, but as you say rumors indicate it will be simplified over the 7-series' version. AWD may be an option, but almost certainly not from the outset.
  • Thanks, snagiel
    In general, how would one choose the engine type (V8 vs.in-line V6 turbo)? Not being too savvy with cars, what would make me select one vs. the other? I prefer a car that jumps off the starting line (good acceleration). Would one engine be better?
    Also, I am waiting this long, is it worth the wait for AWD to come out? (I live in Chicago)
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    If you're asking which engine provides the highest output, currently it's the M5 V8, followed by the 540 V8, then the 530 6, and finally the 525 6. But that's probably obvious. As for future engines, there's nothing announced yet. If the turbo 6 becomes a reality with the rumored 380hp, it may very well be faster than the 745's V8.

    There are other potential considerations, such as fuel economy, reliability, weight balance, etc. Most of these, in turn, favor the inline-6's. (The general consensus is that the 6's are slightly more reliable and cheaper to maintain over the long term than the V8's, but I don't have any data to back this up.)

    I think a RWD 5-series can perform in all but the worst conditions when equipped with proper snow/winter tires. AWD would aid traction and stability over slippery surfaces even more, although it wouldn't obviate the need for winter tires. Whether you should wait for AWD is up to you (it's not known when or even IF it will be offered), but as general advice I'd suggest against buying the E60 in its first year. A casual glance at the 7-series board lists frequent first-year teething problems associated with the car's complicated electronics. Just my thoughts.
  • Thanks, again.
    I am obviously upset about waiting a year or so as it is... I don't know if I can wait any more than that!
    Maybe the early problems with the 745 design will help BMW debug the E60 prior to launch!
  • I as well am waiting for new 5series to come out and hoping the 7series clears up some issues. Also it looks like the new RR Phantom has a newer version of the idrive computer which may be the system going into the 5series. Recent message on Autospies says that the new 5er will be out this summer


    Im hoping car start selling this summer in US so I can wait a few months too see what kind of response it gets before I purchase.
  • I just saw in some auto mag. Jan. edition that new 5 was not coming out in Europe until fall and in the US in early 2004. I wonder who has the story straight. 2004 for US debut sounds awfully late. The last new 5 debuted in May/June 1996.
  • For what it is worth I bought a '97 528 and while it has been a great car, they fixed a lot of annoying things on the '98 (weird car alarm engagement noise, fog lights that were made to be cracked) etc. If you can wait, I would hold off on the '04 for an '05. I guess you can say that for any car, though, and I have been happy with my '97 overall.
  • I am curious about your comment about "fog lights that were made to be cracked". I also have a 97 528 and just noticed one of my fog lights had the lens broken. Could you elaborate on this issue and BMW's response to it.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I don't know about that model year's foglights, but I highly recommend the XPel headlamp (and foglight) protection system. It's easy to apply and cheap insurance against such mishaps.
  • I'm just copying from the other board in case someone missed this...

    -------------------------------------------------#5503 of 5517 2004 BMW 5 Series by jstyle Feb 05, 2003 (11:36 am)
    Here is the best look at the next car. A friend saw one at a petrol station in Austria and told me these are right on. I think I'd run out and buy the current model if I were looking.

  • jeffryjeffry Posts: 36
    Athorpe-Thanks for the insider info re. looks of the E60. I too was concerned about the looks but they're starting to grow on me. Sorta hunkered down, muscular ya know. IMHO the 745i looks pretty decent except for the rear end, surely they'll do something a bit better w/ the E60. We'll see.

         E60 PRODUCTION: I spoke to a local dealer recently who told me they'll stop production of the 3s and the new ones will be out in June, and that they will stop producing the E39 in June & they'll be here early fall. That seems to be confirmed in updates I've seen in magazines this month. Walton's column in Roundel 2/03 p.21 indicates the E60 due here Sept. We'll see.

         My main concern is reliability as I'm chomping at the bit to get my first BMW-fell in love w/ the 2001 530 sport I took for a test drive then. Absolutely felt glued to the road over my favorite curvey road test course w/ uneven pavement. Tried lots of cool cars there (3.2 TL-S, 740i, 328i, S80) nothing made me say, 'wow!! I gotta go back & do that again'!! I did, going even faster, sold ever since. I'd hate to get a lemon tho w/ a new one--a crap shoot w/ a redesign.
  • Jeffry -

    Read this last post and your posts on the 5-series board. Sounds like we are in very similar boat. This would be my first bmw, and after a lot of back and forth, I've tentatively settled on the 2004 540/545 - toyed around with the thought of M3 convertible, older 740i or CPO 540 but think the E60 looks and sounds great (I actually like the 745 look a lot).

    That said, I'm worried about the potential nightmares I've seen alluded to here and elsewhere. Like you, I have some vague hope that the 745 problems have forced them to get their act together for what is a really huge launch for them. I'm also in the Bay Area (Marin), so your comment on the Bay Area dealers gives me one other reason to pause. That said, can't imagine I would go MB or anything else (TL-S is ok but not very interesting, Marin is now overrun with A6s, and Jaguar is a joke IMHO).

    So, do we just take the plunge and blow $60k on a software-flawed, rattling, fog-light challenged monster? (or stay in my old man slushbox Acura RL for another year or two - NO THANKS).

  • jeffryjeffry Posts: 36

         Yes, we're having similar concerns. Specifically Consumer CheckBook(part of CU) showed Weatherford in Berkeley the best of Bay Area dealers & Peter Pan BMW in San Mateo the worst (even worse than most new car dealers-shocking in itself) tho Peter Pan's sales guys are great.
         I actually would consider MB, LOVE the look esp. front. But, Consumer Report shows terrible reliability esp for the ML & CLK--the worst of the worst, along w/ Jeep, S80 'course Chevys & Fords & the A6 & X5 are no prizes either. (I find the E500 CLK stunning & tho I'd be divorced if I spent $55-60K I might risk it if it had even average reliability--if it were as my neighbor's '93 SC 400--in a minute!! over 100K & only oil chg & brakes! candy apple red, still looks stunning) From the C & D road test of the E320, sounds miserable to drive-brakes & steering, I dont
    know how they got that hi fun to drive rating. Surely BMW wouldn't do that?

         E60 in the fall?? Ya I guess I'll have to go for it--or else quit reading magazines & looking here! As are you, I'm ready for something new but in actuality my '94 Volvo 850 turbo accelerates & stops w/ the same numbers as a 530, but the comparison stops there (ride & handling, etc). Only 85K mi. a stunning teal green that looks as new since I detailed it w/ Zymol Sat. I'm nuts to get rid of it but who said car nuts have any rationality when ready to move up?

          So I'll probably trust BMW & go for it. With the international joking about the 745i they'll surely do better w/ the E60. Tho I'm definitely sopiled w/ the Volvo's wonderful ergononics--adjust the HVAC, tone, balance, computer w/o taking my eyes off the road. I'm always fiddling w/ such the idea of going into a screen sounds ridiculous if not dangerous!! Oh well, cant have everything. Good luck w/ your decision, keep us posted.
  • Hello everyone!

    I'm a big fan of BMW since the time I lived in Germany. I'm currently researching the new E60 but haven't made up my mind about it yet -- to iDrive or not to iDrive? :-)

    Here are some useful sites with pics and info about the E60. I appreciate any input from this wonderful group!

    http://www.bmw545.com (tons of pics)

    I can't wait to see it! Perhaps I should fly to Germany and check it out -- anyone interested? :-)

  • pen101pen101 Posts: 238
    I was disappointed with the stying of the new 745 when it first came out. Now it is growing on me. Thanks for the links for the new 5-series. I hope the same thing happens to me about the looks of the new E60. My lease on my 530i is up 12/2004. That should give me plenty of time to warm-up to the E60 styling.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Check out page 32 of the latest issue of Roundel (3/03). Has a nice picture of the next 5er. Though it is "computer-enhanced" to remove camouflage, they say anxiety that Bangle will mess it up should be reduced.

    They also state that "BMW has pushed back the 5 Series sedan's launch to spring 2004, making it unlikely to be seen at this year's Frankfurt auto show."
  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338

    Thanks for the info. Too bad, I was hoping to see the E60 at Frankfurt auto show. :-(

    I'm surprised that BMW would delay the debut of the new 5 series till Spring 04 (that's 6 months late in the automobile year), considering that they will stop producing the current edition very soon. It will create a gap in the market.

    Do you think the delay has anything to do with tech problems or unsolved issues with the new design?

  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    If they won't be rolling out the new 5 until next Spring, they certainly won't be winding down production of the E39 "very soon." Probably more like next Winter.

    I'm curious, too, about the delay, but there wasn't any word about the reason. Hopefully they broke into the source code on the Accord's nav system, and/or the A8's MMC system (both reportedly excellent), and are busy re-writing iDrive.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Will be interesting to see what happens to E9 production in CY 2003.

    Sales of E39 have fallen off. That alone might allow BMW to cut off production once they believe they have enough inventory in the pipeline to cover until the E60 comes out. Will be interesting to see how long it takes BMW to convert production facility over from E39 to E60. Wonder if they have all their testing complete? And any required environmental and fuel testing certification done?

    Guess that is why they have highly paid executives, engineers, marketers, etc. Just hope they don't guess wrong.
  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338
    How much of a risk is it to buy the new E60 in its first year of production? If someone buys the car, does BMW guarantee to upgrade the softwares and debug any glitches in the following years (free of charge)?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    BMW had its fair share of problems when the 1997 E39 came out in the spring of 1996. The general consensus is that BMW did a good job at supporting those owners and getting the cars sorted out. The long term data seems to show that, now seven years later, those cars suffer no more problems than the later models. The question is; how much time can you afford to have your car sitting in the dealership being worked on?

    FWIW, I am now into my fifth year of BMW ownership, and I have yet to suffer even a single unscheduled visit to the dealership for anything other than normal wear items (brakes, which I ultimately did myself). I rather like that aspect of BMW ownership.

    Best Regards,
  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338
    For example, do you think the 2003 BMW 745i is better adjusted and debugged than the 2002, which was the debut of the model?

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Hmmm, hard to tell, I'm not too much into the LuxoLandBarge class of cars, and so I have not followed the new E65 at all. That said, there have been a few comments that have gone by on the various 3-Series and 5-Series boards that I follow suggesting that the new 7 is in fact having its fair share of teething problems.

    Best Regards,
  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338
    I've been checking out reports about the 2004 Audi S4. It's a fantastic car with a 4.2 V8, 344 hp, Quattro (all wheel drive), 18" wheels, sport suspension and 6-spd close ratio manual tranny.

    With the new BMW 5 series following in the path of the controversial 7 series, I'm more inclined towards the Audi.

    You may review the Audi S4:


  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Audi holds a special place in my heart, even though I drive (and love) BMW's. Some may dismiss me as a heretic, but I simply appreciate other carmakers who value performance, sportiness, and luxury. So many BMW (and Audi) owners love to hate the other side, but frankly I think we're all on the same side. We should be laughing at the Camry and the Explorer, not the A4 and the A6.

    That being said, I'm a little disappointed in the new S4. With the E46 M3's 2-year head start, you'd think the Audi guys would have been able to outdo the M3, but it apparently falls short. The AWD is too front-biased (read: understeer), the car's too heavy (read: 0-60 in 5.5 seconds), and it just lacks the overall precision and tossability of the M3. (All based on what I've read, of course.) However, it does offer a heavy breathing, torquey V8, a gorgeous and refined (as always) interior, and probably 95% of the M3's capabilities compared to most sports sedans.
  • Shipo & violinist,
      I bought one of the very first 97 528's in June '96- didn't have the option to wait as my car had been stolen.
      I had a number of glitches with the car most of which were taken care of during warranty. 3 window mechanisms had to be replaced- cheap plastic mechanism. 2 were out of warranty and they were not cheap. Door seals were a problem and they were replaced in warranty. Check engine light was an issue and shared the cost of replacing oxygen sensors. Trunk actuator had to be replaced- plastic again. Water pump and thermostat replaced.
      A big problem to resolve was the radio which failed outside of warranty- just wouldn't play and I thought that was a ridiculous item to fail. Moreover, the initial exclusive option was replacing the whole unit at an exorbitant cost ($600). Ultimately, I ended up with a refurbished one from Alpine (like the original). It was going to cost me a hundred but because it took months to get back the dealer picked up the cost.
      All this to let you know, you can expect an above average amount of problems if you buy the first year production. Consumer Reports ratings on reliability for the various years shows the 97 as having the worst, albeit not a bad, record.
      I have kept this car longer than any other and it runs great with 95K on it. While I am always one to go for the new models, this time I am thinking about getting a 2003 5 series. Rationale: get one that has been perfected then I will be on a buying cycle that gets me away from first year production.
  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I agree with you, especially as the E60 is taking a new turn that no one would be able to evaluate during the first year of production. I'm afraid that BMW might relinquish some of its valued traditions for the sake of 'innovations'. I guess I'll wait and see!

    It's a wise decision to get the 2003 5 series. Have you made up your mind which trim you're gonna buy?

    Good luck!
  • cubanaudicubanaudi Posts: 17
    Does anyone finally know when the new 5-series debuts in the US? I am currently driving a leased A6 2.7T, which is a great car, but a little troublesome. My lease is up in November 03, and I am looking towards replacing it with a V-8 5 series, be it 545, 540, or 535. I like the look of the new 7 Series, and after having driven it many times (my mother bought one last December), I cannot wait for this new car. Does anyone know when they will be taking orders for European Delivery? I would appreciate any help.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Good question, but unfortunately no one outside of BMW AG knows for sure. The latest Roundel, which usually references well-placed sources--says not to expect it before Spring 2004, without getting into specifics about European vs. US debuts. Given that, I doubt you'd be able to arrange E60 delivery for this November. You may want to prolong that lease if getting an E60 is important to you.
  • cubanaudicubanaudi Posts: 17
    Thanks for the info. Spring 2004 will be too late. I do not want to keep my car longer than I have to, since it will be out of warranty, and I do not want to run the risk of monstrous repair bills. It looks like the X5 may be the way to go, or the MB E500. Thanks again.
  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338
    Just a thought: like yourself I was thinking about the E60, but I changed my mind for different reasons (not sure about the new style and didn't want to buy first year of production that may have several glitches). Now I'm considering the 2004 Audi S4 (available this summer), with 4.2 V8, 344 hp, quattro (all wheel drive), sport suspension and 18" alloys w/performance tires. You may want to check it out:

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/reviews/firstdrives/articledisplay.as- - p?articleid=450

    Good luck!
  • bimmer12bimmer12 Posts: 72
    I have seen many spy pics of the upcoming 5-series and I was extremely skeptical about the model given the E65 7-series. I was surprised to say that the car looks good. The current 2003 530i w/ sport pkg is one of the finest machines out there and will remain so as were the late model E34 525i sport in 1995.

    Like the current E65 7-series which has an unbelievable drive, the new 5 will have a similar drive and it looks suprisingly good.. I wasn't sure if my expectations were suprisingly low but when it comes out, I think it will be impressive. I would wait until 2005 if possible to avoid any MY 1 kinks...New car is expected this fall
  • cubanaudicubanaudi Posts: 17
    Tony, I have read a few articles about the S4. I actually bought my Audi A6 because I liked the S4. I chose the A6 instead because of it's size (I am 6'4"). The engine is fantastic, and with the 6 speed manual, the car is deceptively swift. However, my Audi has not been without problems, and I am not sure I want to deal with it again. I am well aware of BMW's problems(we have an X5, and my mother has the new 745Li), and I think the Audi service department is clearly superior to that of the area BMW dealers. However, the A6's weakest point is its handling, and I have the sports package. The current 5-series I have driven handles so much better. All things said, I will drive the S4 when it comes out, and definitely compare it. I will also drive the MB E500, the new FX45, and the new A8 when it comes out, but from the spy photos I have seen, I really like the new E60. Let's hope they can get the new 5 here by November 16. Thanks for your help.
  • enkkenenkken Posts: 10
    There is a good article on next-gen 5 series on www.autoweek.com. You should check it out.
    I am in the market for a sports wagon and considering 525it or 540it. Does anybody know if the next generation 5 series will include 530it? It seems to me 530it, and not 525it, should be the model offered. For most, 545it would be an overkill in terms of both power and bank account, and 525it just seems a little underpowered in these days of big engines.
  • On March 31 BMW posted a press release on the US web site announcing the introduction of the E60.

    Go to www.bmwusa.com and follow the links "News & Events" and then "News".

    They have the complete press release and two photos---one exterior front 3/4 view and one of the interior.

    The E60 is scheduled to arrive on American shores in October.
  • jstylejstyle Posts: 129
    Here is info from BMW USA and photos. Click related photos. Exterior alright, interior terrible compared to current model. Look at the rear door handles. Yuck! And what is with Active Steering and Active everything. Looking more and more like "the ultimate, let the computer control the car, driving machine"

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Thanks for the link, I watched the video that they provided the link for, and, hmmmmmm, I think that this new car is going to take some getting used to. Fortunately I have a 2002 530i, and I have every confidence that it will be able to last long enough for me to wait for the E60s' successor, assuming that is that the E60 does not sufficiently grow on me for me to order one.

    Best Regards,
  • idletaskidletask Posts: 171
    Wait and drive one before yelling on Active Steering. Journalists from "Le Moniteur Automobile" did drive a current 5 series equipped with this steering setup and they were favorably impressed.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Posts: 541
    I like the new interior design of the E60 5-Series. It's definitely cleaner-looking than the current car.

    But the exterior is definitely NOT to my taste. From many angles the E60 reminds me of an Acura TSX with more "surface excitement," especially the headlamp housing and trunk designs. I like the more restrained look of the current 5-Series, thank you very much!
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    <rant warning: this is meant to be humorous, people easily offended should skip this message. Flame suit is fully engaged>

    I found the designer's inspiration for the front-end design:


    As proof, here's a slightly doctored photo of the new 5. Note how Dame Edna's glasses fit perfectly, in fact it's hard to tell which side is photochopped! LOL


    Note: you'll need to register at ImageStation.com to see it, but trust me it's worth it!

    I think the styling is "unfortunate" at best. Chris Bangle would've been hung in medievil days for less than what he's done to the 7 and now the 5.

    In particular the eye brows make it look like a Drag Queen. The rear taillights looks like a Kia's. From the side it looks fat. Fat + Drag Queen = Dame Edna.

    Sadly, the 5 was a car I aspired to own for decades, what have they done? Unbelievably sad.

    Sorry, my adverse reaction required a coping mechanism, and my choice was humor.

  • sharrissharris Posts: 32
    Couldn't agree with you more about the E60 design. Hysterical post! Thanks for the good laugh.

  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338
    You're right! I guess Chris Bangle should be indicted for assault and battery -- that is "visual assault" and "dead battery"! :-)

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Good thing we don't have to share our address in the profile. Otherwise, Chris might have me killed.

    Or worse, they might redecorate my house!

  • 1violinist1violinist Posts: 338
    I guess the price of E60 will be higher than the current version. Has anyone heard specific numbers?
  • regfootballregfootball Posts: 2,166
    at least this new 5 isn't a complete disaster like the 7 series.

    The exterior is ok, the interior isn't what it should be. not real driver oriented.
This discussion has been closed.