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BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • stl540stl540 Posts: 67
    I put 12K miles on my 02 540iA SP over the past 7 months. It is an absolute pleasure to drive this car. I have not had any problems thus far. I had to visit the dealer one time because I ran over tire tread from a tractor trailer tire. I took my 5 to the dealer for an inspection to see if anything was damaged. The dealer had to straighten the front air spoiler. No other problems with the car.

    I have the steptronic automatic. I used to use the manual shifter frequently, but now typically drive with the auto in sport mode. I find the manual mode fun to use where I can push the 5 a little harder and want to stay in a gear while going into a turn, but the sport mode is a fun way to drive the car on a daily basis.

    The sport mode will shift to a lower gear with just a little throttle much quicker than the normal auto mode. This is very helpful for passing situations. No matter how fast I am going (10-20-30-70-80 MPH...etc), the car will take off very quickly with just ~50% throttle. The 5 seems to scream for more throttle.

    I got to drive the 5 in the snow (with stock 9in wide perf tires) and it performed as expected. I had difficulty starting on slight grades. Once moving, the car (with the DSC enabled) kept me straight even when hitting a slick sections of the road. The DSC is very impressive technology. A rear-wheeled drive car w/o DSC would have fish-tailed quite a bit. Overall, the car handled ok. The 9" wide perf tires do not handle as well as a pair of all season tires or snow tires would handle. My neighbor has an AWD A6 and he did not like the way he tires performed either. He is looking to get a set of snow tires for better handling in the snow.

    I highly recommend the 540i. The car is rock solid, quiet interior, comfortable sport seats, and is a blast to drive. The handsome looks are a plus also. This is a car that I will not get tired of.

    Happy driving!
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    According to my dog-earred 42-page full-color 1998 BMW 5 Series brochure, in 1998 the 528i's Sport Package provided:

    -Electrically adjustable Montana leather seats and leather door trim
    -Technical Surface trim
    -Sport Suspension
    -235/45R-17 93W high performance tires
    -17-inch cross-spoke alloy wheels
    -Shadowline Exterior Trim
    -Choice of standard or metallic paint

    Interestingly, the "Electrically adjustable sport seats with adjustable thigh support" were only available with the 540i. And there was no sport steering wheel for any 5 Series in 1998.

    Is interesting to see how BMW has equipped the Sport Package over time and across the 6-cyl models: 525i, 528i, and 530i. I had half thought it had near universally come with the Sport Seats and Sport Steering wheel.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    stl540... What can of fuel economy have you been getting? City? Interstate? Wondering if the numerically higher final drive (3.15:1) and automatic lead to significant decrease. In my 540i6 I can get 26 mpg cruising 74 mph on interstate.
  • yadmanyadman Posts: 8
    Thanks everyone for all the information.

    The dealer (New Country Motors in Hartford, CT) has confirmed that this car does NOT have the Sport Pkg, but does have the Sport Wheels.

    All this information will come in handy since I don't believe this is the car for me. I'm having a hard time getting "reliable" information from this dealer. Either their hiding something about this car or they don't really care if they sell the car (could just be the salesman's style, don't know).

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the following:
    1) car was CPO enrolled on 10/04/2002
    2) on 10/11/2002 the car had service done by the dealer that showed 27,308 for miles.
    3) the car now has 27,980 miles.

    That's close to 700 miles in 3 months. Seems like an awful lot of test drives!

    Could the dealer be using this car as a loaner or staff vehicle?

    Again, thanks for all the info!
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    yadman... Have you run a CarFax report on the car? Ask the dealer who the prior owner was and talk to that person. Also, ask the dealer more questions. Was this dealer the original seller? If so, get them to print out all the options or produce a copy of the original window sticker (e.g., maybe the original invoice). Can't say I'd buy from a dealer I didn't trust.

    Have you run a CPO locate on BMW NA site? Is very user friendly. There might be some other cars more to your liking in a decent radius.

    If the dealer has the car on his/her lot for many months, wouldn't be surprising to see other people take for test drive or for dealer staff to put some miles on it. (At least it isn't just sitting there collecting dust. I'd rather have some light use over 3 months than 3 months of complete neglect.)
  • yadmanyadman Posts: 8
    Riez... I have not run the report, the dealer ran it for me. However, the dealer only gave me the first 4 sections of the report and not the Registration Check or Veh History Details. I'll be asking for those, but this is one reason for my hesitation with this dealer.

    The prior owner was from NJ and moved to CT. I'd love to talk to this person but just assumed the dealer would not release that information. I'll ask.

    I'll check out the CPO locater on BMW.
  • Dear All,

    I'm interesting to buy my friend's 2000-528ia silver body with xeron light, 16" wheel, moonroof, 6-CD, premium upgrade plus 4 new 16" rim & new winter tires. The milage is around 28,500. Excellent conditions. The residue value is US$22,700+$320(admin fee). But I have to buy a extended warranty coverage from it costs US$3,199 up to 100,000 or 2010. Do you think its a good deal?
    Thanks It is very very Urgent!!!!!!!
  • joatmonjoatmon Posts: 315
    I wouldn't do it at 3,199. Put that money in the bank as a continguency. Since you know the history, and if you maintain it properly, you should not have repairs that match that figure.

    I would self insure, but that's just MHO.

    Good luck,

  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    billytong... I concur with joatmon.

    But I am also just inherently sceptical about 3rd party car warranties. You have to research the terms and conditions and limitations carefully (e.g., is there a deductible, exactly what is not covered, can they force you to use non-BMW parts, etc.). And you have to research the company very carefully. If they fold, you have nothing.

    If warranty coverage and long-term reliability is the most important issue, maybe you'd feel more comfortable with the new 2003 Accord Coupe? If pure driving excitement is most important, you won't go wrong with a 528i. Keep in mind that you have the remainder of the BMW 4yr/50K bumper-to-bumper warranty plus the remainder of the MY 2000 BMW 3yr/36K free maintenance coverage.
  • Does anyone know the best price I can expect on a loaded 540i 6 speed. MSRP is approximatey 61,500. I have heard 96 % of MSRP (59,040). I am in New Jersey. Thanks.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    In NJ, you should be able to negotiate $1000-$2000 over dealer invoice (see for invoice pricing). Forget MSRP.

    To get rock bottom pricing, look into the European Delivery (ED) option.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    I'm not sure what you mean by a "loaded" 540i, but here's a quick rundown I did:

    MSRP Base Car - $55,800
    Options: Navigation, Premium Hi-Fi, Cold Weather Package - $3,600
    Destination and Handling - $695
    Gas Guzzler Tax - $1,300
    Total MSRP = $61,395

    The US invoice on this car is $56,210. I suspect you should be able to get it for no more than $1,500 to $2,000 over invoice = $57,710 to $58,210.

    The European Delivery invoice price on this car is $52,495. I know that I could get it at $1,200 to $1,500 over ED invoice, or roughly $53,700 to $54,000. Add the cost of a trip to Europe and you are still way ahead.

    Frankly, I would have a difficult time paying at or near $60k for a 540i 6-speed when the M5 is "only" $72k. Or, more realistically, I would have a tough time justifying paying $60k for a 540i 6-speed, when I can get a well equiped 530i Sport 5-speed through ED for about $42,500.

    Check out for all the prices, US / ED & MSRP / Invoice (wholesale).
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    habitat1... 540i6 makes a great used (CPO) car. Find one with lowish miles. Save the gas guzzler tax. Avoid unnecessary options. (For me, I can't imagine Nav system. Thankfully I don't have one. Too expensive when you compare to the original Mark 1 eyeball and some great maps. They will get you there 99.99% of time. Quicker and easier. Not sure the DSP/premium sound system is worth much. System came with my CPO unit. But I did want the rear airbags and split-fold rear seat.)

    In my neck of the woods you just don't see too many M5. New or used. Very expensive to begin with. Don't think the dealers haggle much with price. Likely MSRP or up for new? And they seem to hold their value well (though that may be more a function of limited supply). But then I'd also be nervous that the prior owner might've had too much fun with it.

    The more aggressive gearing and larger, higher output engine take a toll on highway economy. Love fact my '98 cruises all day at 74 mph (I travel a lot in a 65 mph max state) at about 2,100 RPMs getting 26 mpg.

    But all that said, would I love an M5? Heck yes!!!
  • thanks ewog. will check out the site.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    Looked at the January 2003 issue of Roundel magazine (BMW CCA). Noticed two 2002 540i6 and two 2002 M5 listed.

    For MY 2002 540i6 (both with CWP):

    1. $51,900. 3,500 miles
    2, $55,000. 10,000 miles (ski boot bag)

    For MY 2002 M5:

    1. $65,000. 9,800 miles. (PDC, digital phone)
    2. $72,500. 7,000 miles. (all avail. options)

    Choice, choices.
  • sta2sta2 Posts: 19
    My wife & I are contemplating a purchase and per edmunds, we can't find any real differences between the model years as far as technology goes? It seems that certain optional items became standard, etc....Can someone list the differences between the years? Or maybe point us to a site that lists them? Tia

    We're looking at a 2001>2003 530i Auto, Prem., Sport, Roof, DSP, Folding Rear Seats

  • Difference in 2003 v 2002 530 is Rear Head protection System is Std in 2003, moonroof is no longer optional ,it is standard on 2003. Other changes from 2003 were for 525 and 540. Cannot comment on 2001, but maybe the bmwusa site will have it under their cpo model library...saw some news today the 2003 cd-radio in 5 series is compatible with sirius satellite radio transmissions,assume this would nort be the case with prior model years...does anyone know more about this?
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    In addition, the packaging has changed some. In 2002, the Sport Package picked up the sport seats, which were previously separate options, if memory serves. Perhaps someone else has a better memory about those...

    As for Sirius satellite radio, it's funny you ask. Hot off the press releases, Sirius and BMW have announced the systems will finally be offered as dealer-installed options now:

    That's great, but I'm concerned about Sirius' long-term financial health. Both XM and Sirius are struggling to enroll as many members as possible to recoup the billions invested in launching their services, but XM is far ahead of Sirius in number of subscribers (350,000 versus 25,000) and overall financial health.
  • habitat1habitat1 Posts: 4,282
    At full MSRP, the difference between a loaded 540i 6-speed and M5 ($12k+/-) makes the M5 look like a bargain. However, as has been pointed out, the 540i 6-speed is being substantially discounted and is availalbe through the ED program which makes the real world difference more like $20k.

    As for used prices, someone can ask $55k or $51.9k for a 2002 540i 6-speed or $72k for an M5, but they aren't likely to get it when you can get a brand new 2003 for the same price. Anybody that would pay nearly as much for a used car as a new one either has more money or less brains than me. My rule of thumb would be a minimum of 15% savings for a mint condition used version of last year's model vs. a new version of this year's. By that measure, anything more than $45k for a 2002 540i 6-speed would be excessive. The M5 resale is helped by limited supply, but I could still not see paying more than $63-$65k for a 2002.
  • Can anyone comment on the usage of winter tires versus all season tires in occasionally snowy, occasionally rainy, occasionally sunny (Chicago) conditions. Happy motoring.
  • I test drove a 540i 6 speed today, a 2000, and I liked it. It reminded me of the 1998 e36 M3 I used to have. The ride was much more comfortable and the handling was slightly less precise. Given the discussion of price above I am having a hard time deciding which 5 series car to get. I definetly want the sport package and manual shift. If I am not doing alot of high speed highway driving will the added power of the M5 or 540i be appreciated compared to the 530i? I have several twisty roads on my way to work and I want to enjoy them. Is the handling advantage of the M5 significant compared to the other cars? The 530 comes with 17 inch tires and the 540 18's. Does this make a noticable difference. Are there suspensions the same with the sport package? I realize this is very subjective but it would be difficult to test drive the other 2 cars. I could (with a bit of a stretch) afford the M5, but would it be worth the money at the speeds I would be driving? Also it is not practical for me (unfortunatly) to do european delivery. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    If I lived in Chicago, I'd definitely get winter tires on 16" wheels and swap them out during winter, unless I had a backup AWD vehicle with winter tires for snowy/icy days. The all-season tires are decent on the slick stuff, but don't achieve the kind of safe traction which dedicated snow/winter tires can. And, I'd replace the all-seasons (once they wear out) with summer/performance tires to maximize dry and wet performance during non-winter driving.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Only you can answer questions such as what you can afford or whether a car has "enough" power. Most people who aren't rich tend to buy the best car they can afford, but there's no hard and fast rules here. I love my 530i 5-speed sport as much today as the day I bought it. I'm still amazed by the smooth power delivery, the unflappable chassis, the comfortable and functional interior, etc. I've driven a 540, and can vouch for its greater torque, but I hardly think the 530i is underpowered. The handling is very similar between the two, but when pushed to the limit the 530 will outhandle the 540 because of its lower weight, better weight distribution, and its rack and pinion steering which--in my opinion, at least--is better than the 540's recirculating ball setup.

    The M5 is a different beast altogether. I haven't driven it but have ridden in one at the PDC track, and it's amazing. Its handling is probably less nimble than the others' since it's so heavy (over 4k lbs.), but its adhesion and cornering limits are extremely high, and its power is absurd. I was rather nauseous after four blindingly fast laps, but I couldn't shake a massive grin off my face. If I had $75k, the M5 would be my choice, easy.

    Bottom line, drive as many models as you can and decide for yourself. Good luck.
  • dabimmerdabimmer Posts: 165
    I have a 530I with steptronic which I use with the sport program. I absolutely love to drive my car especially on open roads and twisty mountain roads.It certainly is not underpowered even with the Step. I have driven the 540I with 6 speed and did like it a lot but not enough IMHO to purchase it. The M5 is altogether another matter, sure I would like to have one,what a car! Do I need that much raw power for everyday, probably not !
  • stl540stl540 Posts: 67
    Riez - I do not get anywhere near the MPG you get. I get 18-19 MPG with my normal commute in stop-and-go traffic. I get 22-23 MPG cruising 85MPH on the interstate. The car is rated at 15MPG city and 21MPG highway on the sticker. While I look at the calculated MPG during each fill-up, I honestly would not care if it got 12 MPG. I had a V8 SUV for 5 years before my 540i and typically got 15-17MPG, so I am better off than before and the 5er is a lot more fun to drive. :)

    530i vs 540i - I test drove the 530iA before buying my 2002 540iA w/SP. The 530iA had sufficient power, but the then I jumped in 540iA. It had the power that I really wanted in this type of car. The 540iA is a blast to drive. Many cars require you to get within a certain band in the RPMs in order to get sufficient passing power. Not the 540i. No matter the RPMs, the car will flat out move.

    I have read that many people like the handling of the 530i better than the 540i. I have not driven the 530i recently to remember, but the 540i is a very impressive handling car. It is a heavy car, but I have not been disappointed with the handling.

    For me the extra $6K or so was money well spent for the power of the 540i. I plan to keep this car for 5-7 years and it will provide a lot of smiles to make me not think twice about the extra cost. No buyer remorse here.
  • Any suggestions on the best place to find a good price on snow tires? It's for an '02 530i (non-sport). Also, my assumption is to purchase new steel rims as well. Anyone have any comments to the contrary?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Go to I fitted 225/60 Artic Alpins on 15" steelies(which won't fit a 530i)and BMW OEM wheel covers. It takes me less than an hour to swap them over and I don't have to worry about some moronic mimimum wage "tech" over-torqueing the lug bolts or scarring my alloy summer wheels.
  • snagielsnagiel Posts: 750
    Not to belabor the power debate, but I'd concur that the 530iA felt a little lacking to me as well (compared to a 540iA). But, I'd add that with the stick, the engine seems to really liven up and pull stronger in every gear.

    As for the price difference, when I priced out equivalently-equipped 530i5 and 540i6 models, the difference (after taxes) was about $9k.
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