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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • ghomazghomaz Posts: 68
    Thanks for your advice.
  • linardlinard Posts: 59
    I guess individual vehicle differences played a role in our differing numbers for 0-60 times. I found a time of 6.1 for the 540iA. But then again, when it comes down to 5.8 or 6.1, that's pretty darn fast.
  • stl540stl540 Posts: 67
    dzuba...I have a 2002 540iA with sport package. I got the auto because my wife will also drive the 540i (~10% of time) and she does not drive or care to drive a manual. I really wanted a manual. :(

    The 540iA with sport package is an amazing car. I would prefer a manual tranny, but I love the drive of my 540iA. The SP offered many features that I desired; lower final drive, excellent sport seats, black trim (much better than the standard chrome), wider and lower profile sport tires, better looking steering wheel. I HIGHLY recommend the sport package.

    The 540iA SP has a $1300 gas guzzler tax. As much as I hated to pay it, I would not want the 540i w/o the SP. Test drive both cars, SP and no SP. The SP will probably sell itself.

    The car has strong acceleration at any speed.

    btw...I got my 2002 540iA in May 2002 for $2500 over invoice.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    The Oct. 7 issue of "Automotive News" has a computer-generated picture of the '04 5 series. Not dramaticallly different looking from the current model. Caption reads: "The new 5 series will be wider and taller and will ride on a longer wheelbase. The trunk--the feature that really steamed the 7-series critics--is expected to be taller and larger."
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Don't know whether this has been mentioned, but '03 prices on the 525 and 530 are up about $700 from '02, comparably equipped with premium package. Base price has gone up, but now includes sun roof, premium package has gone down. Net change: +$700.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Latest issue of Roundel magazine (BMW CCA) has an interesting article, with nice chart, showing the actual dollar difference (read: increase!) between 2002 and 2003 base prices. For all BMWs and Mini sold in USA. They also compute the percentage difference. They note the additional equipment in some lines (e.g., standard sunroof and rear HPS in 5 Series models). Roundel notes, with disappointment, that these price increases are bigger than last year's in most cases.

    They also have an interesting article discussing sales changes in various models during the current MY. They note that overall BMW sales have plateaued but that overall figures are up primarily due to Mini. BMW sales started softening late spring 2002.
  • ajroseajrose Posts: 29
    A local dealer from whom I have purchased several cars and have been treated well has an 02 540i 6sp CPO with 4500 miles, color (sterling grey, grey interior) and options (warm weather, upgraded stereo, shades) are fine, priced at $52,750. A comparable 03 would cost $5-6,000 more. While money is money, thankfully, I can afford either.

    The extended warranty on the CPO is a real plus but I would appreciate some feedback on the changes, i.e. will the 18 inch tires on the 03 cause a material change in handling, will the black head liner make the interior feel too small, etc.

    Thanks in advance for comments.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I would go with the '03. For one, I prefer the M5 bumper treatment, the 18" wheels, as well as the even tighter suspension tuning over the '02 models. Unless you drive on Detroit-esque roads, I don't think the ride would be too harsh. And, if I could afford it, I much prefer a new car over a used one, bar none. And I'd be skeptical over a car returned after only 4500 miles.
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    That does seem low, but if they can be verified, then I would go for the 02. The price difference you see sounds like Depreciation. Let someone else take that for you and then get the car that really has barely broke in.
  • pap5pap5 Posts: 144
    If possible, I would contact the owner of the '02 to ask why he unloaded it so quickly, and also to ask how rigorously he followed breakin recommendations. I recall that some clown bragged either here or on the 3 series board that his habit was to buy BMWs thru ED, drive the crap out of them, then flip them quickly at no financial loss. Even a thorough CPO inspection would not detect the compromises to long-term durability that could result.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,575
    I know certain parties will disagree with me (ahem, riez:), but that is a big chunk of change to be laying out for a used car (although you do get 2 additional years/more mileage of warranty coverage). There has to be a reason that car was brought back with only 4500 miles. Check with the service department records and see if the car was brought in for anything. There are a lot of shady characters out there. I'm a cynic by nature, so you really can't go by me:)

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I agree with pap5 about the generic financial advice of letting someone else take the depreciation hit. But it seems that the discount is very minor. Honestly, I wouldn't pay more than $45k for that car. And I agree with nyccarguy as well: CPO or not, let the buyer beware with a used car.
  • msealsmseals Posts: 257
    Guys, I agree with you that you must be leary of this car. You should take that approach to all used cars. That being said, if you can investigate this car as thoroughly as all used cars and nothing turns up, then this might be a decent deal. That being said, if you are going CPO you might be able to find a better deal out there, that will just have slightly more miles. Something that might have been traded in after one year of mild driving for a better model, i.e. 540i or a new 7 series. There are people out there who are not financially savy enough to know they should keep a car the term of the lease to get the best return, instead of trading for a new model.
  • ajroseajrose Posts: 29
    Interesting responses, thanks. I am getting the records on the car but know this dealer pretty well. They would not buy into a vehicle that had a "history". Naive or not, I trust this dealer as much as one could trust any. This is my third car through them and my partner has purchased at least that many (he is picking up a new MB SUV for his wife today). Don't think they would like to lose us especially knowing they could put me into an 03 with little difficulty if they thought anything was wrong.

    Any comments on change in ride and/or performance given the 18 inch wheels and tightened suspension. I think the 02 is close to a perfect blend of performance and ride quality. can the 03 really be better?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    ajrose... Think you should be careful. Is a lot of money. Run a CarFax Report. Have an independent mechanic look at it. Pull the service records. Talk to the previous owner. But do NOT automatically reject it due to low miles.

    Some cars are not a good fit. Maybe the person thought they'd like a manual but realize it wasn't for them? The 6-speed is NOT the world's lightest or smoothest tranny. And the clutch takes some getting used to. Just read the Edmunds comparison test from a few years ago. The 6-speed drove their drivers/reviewers nuts. They couldn't get a smooth launch or 1-2 shift.

    I love my 540i6. But it did take me a couple weeks to get truly comfortable with the 6-speed. Now that I have, I can't imagine a 5-speed. Gotta have overdrive. And I'm used to fact she just isn't as silky smooth or light as my former 1996 Infiniti G20 (best darn manual tranny I've used).

    Whatever else you do, take this particular CPO model out for a very long, thorough test drive. City and country. Fast and slow. In city traffic and on highway. Curves and interstate. See if it meets your needs and you can live with it.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,575
    Anybody read the C/D article on the Dinan M5? Pretty interesting specs:

    0-60mph: 4.1 Seconds
    0-100mph: 10 Seconds Flat
    1/4 Mile: 12.7@113mph
    Pulled a 0.87g on the skidpad
    419lb/ft torque@5000RPM
    Estimated top speed is 191mph!
    $109,472 Proce Tag (ouch)

    More impressive is the fact that Dinan says it took 2 years to develop. This car is naturally aspirated. They said the car drives and behaves like an M5, just a whole helluva lot faster.

    The article also says Dinan offers a supercharger for the 540i... I wonder how close to stock M5 perfromance the Supercharged 540i gets?

    I guess it is all wasted power for our congested roadways though.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Yes, it was an interesting read.

    But, anyone who drives an M5 and feels like they need more power, well, they're nuts. God bless 'em, but they're nuts.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,575
    I definitely agree with you. As much as I love MORE POWER , I do realize that there is a certain limit to how fast we can drive here in the US. I'm sure a 530i SP would be perfect to satisfy my everyday driving needs. The 540i SP Would probably be great (ideal), but more power than I need or could handle. The M5 is a beautiful car with a meanacing look and tremendous abilities, I don't know if I could rationalize the price difference between the 540i SP & the M5.

    I was talking to the President of the BMW dealership in Manhattan back in January. I asked him what his daily driver was. He said he drives a 540i SP 6 speed and that it was a relative bargain (referring to performance to dollar) compared to the M5.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,575
    But I did on the 3 series board. To the joy of some and the dismay of others, I'll be posting less and less here on TH. I resigned from my position on Monday. My company creates those really annoying credit card solicitations you get in the mail EVRY MONTH from Citibank. I'm leaving the advertising/direct mail industry and going to work for my father's business. He owns a Plumbing Supply and Hardware store in The Bronx. The business was started by my Great Grandfather (A Russian Immigrant) in 1900. I love the idea of working in a small business that I hope to take over one day down the road (My Dad is only 56 and nowhere near ready to retire). I hope to find (as many of you do who own your own businesses) that all the headaches and hard work are worth it at the end of the day because it is all for you. It is steady and I won't have to worry about getting laid off:) My last day of here is next Friday. I'm so excited! I can't wait!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • pap5pap5 Posts: 144
    C/D is not one of my car mag subscriptions (Libertarian political bent of Yates, Bedard, etc. too extreme for me), but I sometimes pick up a newstand copy. This was the case this week, due mainly to the Dinan M5 article. Such excess, totally unecessary -- boy, I'd love to have one! Anyway, for some time I've been toying with the idea of getting some light Dinan mods on my '01 530iASP. I've posted about this before, but haven't done anythinbg yet. Main objective is to improve responsiveness that is missing due to my wife's insistence on the slushbox. I visited my local dealer on Tuesday, and the service manager put together a package price on a Stage II engine software download, transmission download, cold air intake, and high flow throttle body. He took me out in an employee's '02 that had the software mods, and it seemed crisper than my car. I'd like to get some real owner feedback on the entire combo of products, but searches have turned up nothing concerning Dinan modified E39 6-cyls -- all the input seems to be from 540i owners only.

    Does anyone have any experience or know of any references that would be useful? I know not to expect any dramatic performance gains, but want to get some of the edge that I feel is missing without a manual tranny. Any input would be appreciated.

    nyccarguy -- Good luck on your new direction. Owning your own business is huge work, but everyone I've ever talked to says the level of satisfaction cannot be approached by working in anyone's bureaucracy, public or private. Your dad is only 3 years older than me, but my views on retirement are very different from his!
  • dabimmerdabimmer Posts: 165
    Hope you do continue to post on the 5er board at least. It would be a shame to lose your
    insight and knowledge, I have enjoyed your messages and info you impart. Keep the posts
    coming and heaps of good luck and fortune in you new endeavor, you will do well.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Dinan's a respected name in the tuner business, that's for sure. But I'm skeptical about the inherently limited potential of the CAI and software downloads. These engines are already at their peak; even the Dinan website admits they can't extract any more horsepower with their software. Wheather you want to spend several hundred dollars on "sharper throttle response" is up to you, but I think it's a crock. Same for the CAI; I helped a guy install a non-Dinan CAI on his 528 a couple weeks ago, and not only was there no change in the power (by "butt dyno"), but the intake noise wasn't any throatier. I suspect the stock airbox isn't as restrictive as some might like to believe. I would think the most potential gains might be in the high-flow throttle body and/or a higher-flow exhaust system. But even those would probably yield maybe 10-15 hp, and/but would probably make the car louder.

    This, of course, is just my humble opinion. If you detected enough improvement to warrant the costs, don't let me stop you. But be sure you're not just psychologically convincing yourself of a "crisper" behavior.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    $52,750 is no bargain for a 2002 540i 6-speed with 4,500 miles. You can easily meet or beat that price on a brand new 2003 through European Delivery, even including the gas guzzler tax.

    As for the performance difference between a 2002 and 2003, I cannot comment directly, as I have not driven a 2003 540i. However, I can tell you that the handling difference between my former 2000 540i 6-speed and current 2002 M5 is significant. As a matter of fact, if I could only have one or the other - the added power of the M5 or the better handling of the M5 - I would probably choose the latter. Also, the 6-speed in the M5 is noticably smoother than the one in my previous 540i. So, if they have refined the 2003 manual transmission, that would also be a plus.

    snagiel: Fully agree. I seriously doubt that many drivers have the driving skill to handle 80% of the power of the stock M5. I suspect that if a performance driving test were required of anyone buying a M3, M5, E55, and especially, a SL55, 90% of them would fail. At least with the M5, you get the BMW driving school thrown in.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    habitat1... European delivery isn't for everyone, nor is it an option for many. Might not be a serious option for ajrose. Know I wouldn't want some of the hassles and time delays that come with ED. Plus not all dealers will readily deal on ED, just like some dealers won't deal on any BMW in their stock. (And the dollar has been falling against the Euro recently. So that Euro trip is now 15 percent more expensive due to exchange rate change.)
  • john01john01 Posts: 246
    Just returned home from a 100 mile test drive in a 2002 M5. Sterling Gray with black interior. It is a nice color and very subtle, whereas LeMans Blue screams for attention. Interior bits are pretty much the same, accept for the seats, which were very nice and tight. Now, why can't the other E39s have the lumbar on sports seat?

    The shifter is quite stiff, not as fluid as the 530. It needs a firm hand, and cannot say I like it. It has a shorter throw, though. The steering is MUCH lighter than 530, even with the Sport mode switched on, but does FEEL quicker. The BMW rack and pinion has the edge on this one.

    It sounds like a muscle car and screams like a muscle car. I have read many reviews where it was described as being too quiet. This thing had about 3,500 miles and positively screamed. The ride is much stiffer as well. It does not feel like a sedan, more like a highly strung sports car. There is body roll, but I would not change it, i. e. make it stiffer with aftermarket stuff. The ride is still acceptable, considering the handling capability it has, but anything more, it may be too much for a sedan.

    I did a bit of back road driving and moved out to the unlimited section of the autobahn. Up to 3000 RPM at part throttle, I cannot say I feel much power, but past 3,000 and pedal to the metal, things happen very quickly. I tried redline acceleration from standing still and the almost went over the redline in the 1st and 2nd gear, 3rd was a bit slower, but only by about 1/2 second. It is loud, even cruising, again compared to my 530, and still plenty of passing power in the 5th. I think I ended up hitting about 160 mph, indicated. I did not feel the governor, but backed off thinking it would kick in. It can definitely use some down force beyond 130 or so, but it wouldn't be relevant in the US.

    Now the $70,000 question, would I do it? I think it would be a car to have if you could only have one car that needs to be somewhat practical and want to pass 911s in the straights and just about anything else on the road. I came away feeling that 530 is just about perfect compromise for comfort and occasional sporty driving. It is quiet, comfortable, and fast enough. However, M5 is definitely addictive. Even my wife, who could not believe I arranged for a test drive, agrees and enjoyed passing maneuvers just as much as I did. All in all, it was a great fun.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    You raise a good point. I shake my head when I read through the M3 and M5 forums (especially on and see folks spending thousands on aftermarket handling and power improvements. I love power as much as the next guy, but I think people too often forget that driving involves two elements: man and machine. Investing too heavily in only one (usually the machine) can only go so far, and has limited satisfaction. Even driving my relatively tame 530, I enjoy a well-executed quick 3-2 downshift through a tricky hairpin turn much more than just stomping on the accelerator to speed up on a straight road. The M5 driving program--as well as the shorter programs offered for every BMW delivered in Spartanburg--are a great idea, and performance-obsessed drivers should remember that an enjoyable and satisfying driving experience requires driver skill as much as a competent car.
  • srfastsrfast Posts: 138
    for a 2003 530i. I purchased a 530i because I saw no value in the additional $$ for the 540i. I crunched the numbers and besides the higher purchase price, the additioanl expense in 540i ownership wasn't worth it for me. I wanted great handling and adequate power for a street car at a reasonable cost and those are the strengths of the 530i. When I want to race a car, I enter an SCCA Pro/Club Racing event.

    Just my $.02....JL
  • theomdtheomd Posts: 11
    Anyone experience this? '02 530iA;CWP;PP;stock radio. Every time I turn on the rear defroster the radio turns to static. Turn the rear defroster off and the radio comes back. Any thoughts! I know it is electrical problem and will take to the dealer - but is there an easy fix that will prevent wasted time at the dealership.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    I haven't heard of that one. Both the antenna unit and the rear defogger unit are located in the driver's side C-pillar (which you can access somewhat easily following the directions at Perhaps there's some short between the wires there, so if you're inquisitive and comfortable you might want to take a look. But this should be covered under warranty, and shouldn't take too long to fix.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    srfast... What options did you get? Sport pkg? Manual or automatic transmission? What was the MSRP on the car you bought? Wondering how close to $50K it is. When do you take delivery? If after 1/1/03, then you won't have the luxury tax.

    How long do you plan on owning the car? Not exactly sure what you mean about "the additional expense of the 540i ownership". Both have same warranty and free scheduled maintenance. You shouldn't have repair or maintenance costs for years. Do you mean gas mileage? (Both take premium fuel. My 540i6 gets 26 mpg on interstate.) Insurance? (I don't if there is much of a difference, but what I pay thru USAA is in line with previous cars.) Annual car registration? (In my state the difference wouldn't be much, since the formula is about 90 percent purchase price and very little tied to weight or engine.)
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