If you made the switch to a hybrid or EV this year and are happy with the savings you're getting on gas costs, a reporter would like to speak with you. Please reach out to [email protected] by 12/5 for more details.

BMW 5-Series Sedans



  • cretecrete Member Posts: 105
    I started using the 6-cd changer in the trunk and when I go over a certain type of bump, the cd skips. Is this common on the changers in the 540 with sport package. Being the ride is a little harsher maybe the vibrations are affecting the cd more. Has anyone encountered this and found ways to minimize the skipping.

    Also, has anyone looked into the DVD NAV unit as a source for TV and DVD playback. I found this site that sells TV modules for 5 series DVD NAV unit.

    I would be interested in knowing if anyone has installed a system like this, and is it legal to drive and watch TV?
  • rweiss2rweiss2 Member Posts: 6
    What I love about this site is the knowledge and experience that people bring to it. Once again, I am thankful for your input.
     With my current Saab 9-5 I have found that tires make all the difference. I had a terrible time this past winter in NY and I know that it was the quality (or lack of) of my tires after three years of use. I would definitely buy a good set of winter tires for any future car I get...proabaly the 525i
  • cmr530icmr530i Member Posts: 278
    My MY 01 530i has the PP and does include the rain sensor/auto wiper feature.
  • sergeymsergeym Member Posts: 275
    Do not take it as an insult but did you show those indicators to someone other than you. Another person may see them as green. In my car these indicators look kind of yellowish but still green. Anyway the color is not really important. You have 5 lights on the left and they will go off one by one. After the last one is gone the yellow light to the right of the original 5 lights will light up. So you may go with left vs. right instead of green-yellow.
  • wabendswabends Member Posts: 102
    Thanks for your response. I will look for it when I go to the dealership tomorrow.
  • cretecrete Member Posts: 105
    I went to my dealer and they saw the indicator lights and confirmed these are the green indicators and all is OK. Being a photorapher I have a good sense of color interpretation and I must say these lights aren't truly green. Like SergyM has stated they appear as yellowish. To me I would consider green as the turn signal indicators. I guess when a service interval is due I will really see the difference when the real yellow indicator shows up.

    For Snagiel: I read on the Sirius website that their Satellite radio for the 5 series is not available until the 2004 model year comes out.
  • dabimmerdabimmer Member Posts: 165
    I grew up when cars were RWD only ! Driving these cars in Colorado during huge snowstorms was a test in driving skill and tire performance. We never had dedicated snow tires but made it through fine. I never felt unsafe with the tires or the weather conditions. FWD cars we have had the last 20 years or so are great for getting you going and the traction they provide. Now living in Calif. for many, many years we don't deal with snow but we do get a lot of rain and driving in it requires much attention and skill. I enjoy driving the RWD Bimmer and never feel unsafe, the Pilot Primacy tires provide great traction and have never hydroplaned even in torrential downpours. If I had to drive in deep snow for extended periods of time I would invest in snow tires and use them on 16" tires instead of the 17's on my sport suspension. Just my $.02.
  • warthogwarthog Member Posts: 216
    This morning I was behind a BMW badged as a 535. I saw it only from the rear and judged it to be 8-10 years old. Has there ever been such a creature?
  • jb_shinjb_shin Member Posts: 357
    I don't remember if it was officially imported to US, but 535 has a 3.5L I-6 which was bigger than the v-8 in 530! 535 that are sold outside of US now has 3.5L v-8.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    This morning I was behind a BMW badged as a 535. I saw it only from the rear and judged it to be 8-10 years old. Has there ever been such a creature?

    How about 10 or more years old. The last 535i officially imported to North America (a current 535i V8 is being sold elsewhere in the world) back in 1993. Actually, there were two different 5-Series cars with about 3.5 liters of displacement that year, first was the 535i with a 208 hp 3.4 liter I6, and the second was the M5 with a 310 hp 3.5 liter I6. Hmmm, 310 hp in a 3800 pound 5-Series, sounds like fun. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • warthogwarthog Member Posts: 216
    Thanks, jb shin and shipo.
  • web2772web2772 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 530i that I leased back in Nov '02 and I need to unload (to my great dismay). It is Jet black w/ black leather. The windows have been slightly tinted. It has the sports, premium and cold weather packages. It is a stick. It has Xenon lights with the power moon roof. It has a 6cd changer in the trunk and I'll throw in the 2 front rubber mats. It even has the 'Kleen Wheels'-internal dust covers that prevent the brake dust from dirtying the 16" wheels (they work pretty well).
    All taxes and fees have been paid-it is ZERO cost to get into it. Lease ends Feb '06-last payment is Jan '06. You just have to pass a credit check with BMW Financial.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Member Posts: 51
    The first BMW I ever drove was a 1990 535i 5 speed manual. I got to drive one from Baltimore to Richmond as part of a dealer exchange. Excellent car. So easy to drive. I looked down at the speedo and was shocked to see just how fast I was driving. The E34 535i is in my opinion one of the best cars BMW has made. Near-perfect size, inside and out, classic BMW styling.
  • pen101pen101 Member Posts: 238
    Regarding the clutch on my MY2002 530i that failed after only 14k miles, I finally received a reply from BMW National Customer Relations. They stated they feel the clutch failure was "as a result of wear and not due to a defect in material or workmanship." They will be "unable to honor my request for reimbursement."

    The closing paragraph of the letter: "I am sorry a more favorable response is not possible. We value our BMW customers and are sorry we are unable to meet your expectatons."

    Really? My next step is small claims court. I have a letter from an independent mechanic who examined the parts that states the clutch failure was not due to wear. I guess I'll see if I can convince the judge. It will cost BMW more in having someone represent them in court than in paying my claim. Besides, their customer relations goodwill will take a hit. You think that BMW will always cover your claims? Think again.
  • wabendswabends Member Posts: 102
    Hi all,

     I just got a MY 2001 530i with AT, PP, CWP, and Xenons this afternoon and it rocks! Even with 21K miles, it is mechanically awesome. My wife and I went to pick it up at the dealership in PA and drove up to CT via the NJ Turnpike. Upon driving it for about an hour, she became convinced that it is the best car we have owned so far. Thanks for the collective knowledge on this board! Now, I can join the 5er owners club!
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTMember Posts: 15,637
    Congrats on your new car wabends! Enjoy it!

    On the subject of the E34 535i, didn't BMW also produce a 535is in limited numbers?

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe

  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    James Taylor's book, Driving Machines--The BMW Story (2000), has a wonderful lengthy appendix that goes over BMW's engines.

    For example the M88 24-valve I6, a variant of the M30 big block, was used in the E26 M1 supercar (3453cc) and then a revised version, the M88/3, later used in the E24 M635CSi (3453cc), and then revised again for the 1988 E34 M5 (3535cc), and (yet) again for the 1992 E34 M5 (3795cc).

    The M30 big block I6 variants included the:

    - 3210cc in the 3.3Li, E24 633CSi, and E23 733i & 732i
    - 3295cc in the 3.3L (1974)
    - 3430cc in the E28 535i & M535i, E24 635CSi, E23 735i, E32 735i, and E34 535i
    - 3453cc in the E12 M535i, E24 635CSi, and E23 735i

    The M60 V8 was used from 1992-1996. The 2997cc in the E34 530i and E32 730i. The 3982cc in the E34 540i, E32 740i & 740il, and E31 840i.

    The M62 V8 was introduced in 1996. The 3498cc used in the E38 735i and E39 535i. The 4398cc used in the E38 740i and E39 540i.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Member Posts: 51
    There wasn't a E34 535is, at least not in the U.S.
  • selooseloo Member Posts: 606
    I have been working with BMWNA for almost three weeks to validate/activate warranty/maintenance/road assistance on a ED 2003 525i purchased under the military sales program.

    This has been a very painful process. I have faxed all the required documentation, but no one can confirm that they have have received the required information and no one (including BMW CR staff) can contact the section that collects this information and validates warranties. This is very strange!

    I expect poor customer relations/service in Europe, it is part of the fabric that forms their society, but I did not expect this from BMW's US staff.

    To be fair, some of the BMWNA's CR staff have tried to assist, while others provide short, cold, or no responses to phones questions and emails. I have asked someone from CR's management to contact me concerning this issue, but no one has responded.

    This is America, we expect, no, demand excellent customer service and relations from companies that provide goods and services. Especially companies that sell $40K plus automobiles.

    Please share your poor BMWNA CRs experiences on this board! Maybe, as a collective group, we can influence the process to resolve the Ultimate Driving Machine's substandard CRs problems.
  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    It got a story for you. When I bought my used 98 528i 5sp last October, the guy had to get a release of lien from BMWNA CR. Well, they said it would take about 7-10 days and I said ok. He overnighted the check and BMW claimed that they had gotten it. Well, 10 days later, I still hadn't gotten the release of lien so I called them. They told me that they had sent it out and that it should be at my house in the next two days. Now mind you, this office was in Ohio and I live in Michigan, so it should take no more than two days to get there. I waited 5 more days and nothing. Finally I told the guy I was waiting to register the car that I has just bought that the longer I waited the less of the CPO warranty I had. He said he could fax me a copy if I had a fax machine. I said, why didn't you do that in the first place. They faxed it over, that took about 3 hours. I never ended up getting the one they supposedly mailed.
  • ksqrdksqrd Member Posts: 21
    After a little over three months owning my CPO MYO1 530i, I couldn't agree with you more that it's one sweet ride...congratulations.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    bmwguru... The list was not broken down by models/engines sold in USA. Many of the ones listed were not sold in USA. Is just interesting to see what all models/engines existed. Is too bad USA is often left out in the cold for many of the most interesting ones. (I didn't even begin to list the various diesel and turbo-diesel engines BMW has used.)
  • bmwgurubmwguru Member Posts: 51
    Riez, I agree that we've missed out on a lot of good stuff. I would have loved an all wheel drive E34 5 series. I think in the near future we will see BMW introduce diesel vehicles in the states. Especially when low sulfer diesel fuel becomes common.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTMember Posts: 15,637
    Are you sure? Maybe the guy I spoke to (President of BMW of Manhattan) has a grey market vehicle. He says he bought the car before he started working for BMW.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe

  • seivwrigseivwrig Member Posts: 388
    I spoke with someone with the local BMWCCA that grey market all his BMWs. He lives in Houston and Dortmund. He says it is not that hard. I guess one has to weigh the cost and time. To bring an E46 compact probably would not make much sense but any BMW diesel might be worth it.

    I think the EPA and DOT has a lot to do with why we cannot get some of the worlds best cars. I would love to see a Nissan Skyline. The closest that I have been to one is via a brochure that I have. Over the years, BMW has made some interesting cars. I like the E46 M3 CSL. At first, I did not like the upcoming 5er. But it is growing on me, my only beef is the kidney grill and lack of driver centered console. The flat console just takes away from the vehicle. I was looking at E21 brochure the other day and even it had the dash that wraps towards the driver. We can talk about Bangle but I believe he was with BMW during the E46 era.

    Any Bimmerphiles, exactly when did Bangle start influencing BMWs?
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    Yes you are correct. I leased one of the very first E46 generation of the 328i imported into the USA, and I remember very distinctly the video that I got with the car showed Chris Bangle discussing the various design attributes of the (then) new car. That said, since that time, his designs have been hit or miss with me.

    Oddly enough, when I leased the E46, I thought it was just slightly better looking than the E39 of the time, however, what with the various face lifts of the two cars, I find that I now slightly prefer the look of the latest E39 when compared to the latest E46.

    Regarding his "Hit or Miss", I like the E46 and the Z4, while I dislike the E60 and the E65, go figure.

    Best Regards,
  • jb_shinjb_shin Member Posts: 357
    Since I see some of the nicest looking cars that we do not get in the US, I thought about going that route. However, in general, it is almost impossible to certify OBD II equipped cars (most late models). It is far easier to import OBD I or earlier cars, like E34. Especially if the car was imported officially by the manufacturer. Something like Z1 is impossible unless it is brought in under "show and display" permit, with 5,000 annual mileage limitation along with very strict regulations.

    If on the other hand, the car is more than 25 years old, all the requirements are waived. I have been casually looking for 2002 turbo, 3.0 CSL or 911 RS, but they are expensive here as well.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Member Posts: 51
    I am 100% sure there was no E34 535is. It had to have been a gray market car. The first day I worked in a BMW dealership(summer of 1990), we had a Z1 in the shop. The owner was a shipping magnate, who could get an exemption for a year at a time. Very striking car, Hunter green with an almost lemon yellow interior. The Z1 wasn't imported because it couldn't pass DOT crashworthy standards. Mainly because of the doors that slid down into the chassis. And it is very small. The reason why we don't get so many great cars is they are too small or don't meet EPA emission standards. We don't get a lot of diesels because of a lack of low sulfer fuel.
  • ksqrdksqrd Member Posts: 21
    In 1989, my brother and I visited the BMW museum in Munich. At the time I was the proud owner of my first car, a '76 2002. At one point we had a vantage into one of the BMW factory lots. Someone pulled out in a car that we later found out was a Z1, and we remembered being floored at seeing the doors retract downward. I always hoped that we'd see one in the US--I had almost forgotten about that car until I read your note.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTMember Posts: 15,637
    I actually saw a BMW Z1 back in 1996. I saw it parked on the street in South Beach, Miami. Very cool car from what I remember.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2022 Highlander XLE AWD, 2022 Wrangler Sahara 4Xe

  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I was at the Press Intro of the 8er at the Frankfurt show(IAA) back in 1989. A BMW AG PR guy offered me a 2 hour evaluation drive in a Z1. Unfortunately the Z1 wasn't available until the next day and I was already booked on a train to Munich. Drat!!!
  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    Hey guys, I was looking on ebay and saw a 2001 325Ci that looks good and they have tons of pictures, but it is a salvage. Do you guys think it is even worth looking into or should I move on. It is read with red leather interior and black carpet. It has 17500 miles on it and seeems to have all the options I am looking for. The only difference it that is it a salvage, I could get use to the red leather interior I think.
  • joatmonjoatmon Member Posts: 315
    Move on, too many good ones out there.

  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    Thanks, that is the conclusion that I came up with after thinking about the minimal savings that I would gain. I would rather have the piece of mind anyway.
  • wabendswabends Member Posts: 102
    Just picked up a MY 01 530i last friday. It has a cassette player in the dash but it is wired for a CD changer. Is it better to install a CD changer in the trunk (about $500) or replace the cassette player with a single CD player in the dash? Any leads on good deals on the CD changer will be appreciatred.
     Thanks in advance for your tips.
  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    wabends, from what I have heard, the in dash cd player cost about $600 since it includes the tuner as well. The MID display for the radio is just that, a display. I have heard of people buying after market cd changes and buying adapters like blitzsafe to make them work with the steering wheel controls as well as the head unit. I have decided to go the MP3 route and am in the process of finding a mp3 player that I like and will adapte the system to. Advantage is more songs, and I can change them inside the car instead of getting out and opening the trunk. That being said, I would rather have a single cd in dash than a changer in the trunk. It is just personal preference.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Member Posts: 388
    In the 10 years that I lived in Miami, I saw a lot of interesting car. I guess those folks had the means to bring some special cars over. I still have a picture of a mid 80's Alpina. I'll have to find the picture to determine what model it was. There are also alot of custom/kit cars running rampant. My personal favorite at the time was a '85 M-B 560 SEL converted to a gullwing. I don't know who did the conversion. It was cool but looked to bulky to drive fast.

    What is the deal with why we cannot get cars like the Alfa Romeo sedans, Audi A3, Vauxhall VX220,etc... The EPA, DOT and other bootlegged thugs prevent car lovers from seeing the whole spectrum of automobile. Here is, we Americans have the income to buy cars that most can't afford but we are not allowed to get our hands on any automobile that we want. If I had the money, I would like to own a Euro-spec Rac Dyn Tornado. I love what the European aftermarket does to a BMW. Most european aftermarket companies don't sell their engine mods in this country. I think the crash test should be the only qualification on what can come into the States. Trucks, Semis, airplanes, chemical plants pour allot more pollutants than cars. BMW also is not taking much in the way of risks. I don't think the 1-series will sell in this country. I think this will be due to pricing and badge prestige. M-B is already taking a risk with selling the overpriced C-coupe. I'm surprised that M-B does not try to sell the A-class. With the products that VW plan to sell in the US in the next year and half, maybe we might see more desirable BMW just not the E46 M3 CSL.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    seivwrig... Don't forget that European emission standards used to be a lot different than American ones. They were still using leaded gas long after we stopped. And it wasn't that long ago when they finally went over to catalytic converters. Don't think you wanted to breath Rome, Paris or London air in the 1980s.

    Right now the biggest things from Europe we are missing is diesels. That is mainly due to the high sulphur in our diesel (since long-haul truckers are our primary market for diesel fuel, there hasn't been demand for more expensive low sulphur diesel). The sulphur content is going down to much lower standard nationwide by 2007.

    Other huge reason we didn't and still don't get a lot of interesting European cars is the retrenchment of many European marques in the 1970s and 1980s. The quality and prices of many marques--Renault, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Peuguot (sp?), Lancia, etc.--were uncompetitive. Not to mention the wholesale demise of many others--MG, Triumph, Rover, etc. Some that survived required outside intervention (Saab, Volvo, Jaguar, etc.).

    Japanese marques were far superior in terms of reliability and established much better dealer networks.

    BMW has long viewed USA as its own unique market, one more geared toward luxury than performance. Too bad too many Americans are NOT interested in performance. A huge reason why automatic transmissions dominate.
  • web2772web2772 Member Posts: 2
    I am changing jobs that requires a daily commute. As much as I LOVE it, I really don't need the car-especially with the rate increases. She is beautiful, but it doesn't make good financial sense, especially when I have a VERY old 'station' car that can do the job.

    It is Jet Black w/ black leather; slightly tinted windows. It has sport (5speed stick), premium & cold weather packages. Also comes w/ Xenon lights, power moonroof, 6cd changer in trunk & 2 front rubber mats. I also got the 'Kleen Wheels' which actually do keep the rims from turning black.

    The car was leased not to exceed 48,750 miles-currently way under that with approx 5300 miles. The lease ends Feb '06 (last payment Jan '06). If interested I can send pictures.

  • srfastsrfast Member Posts: 138
    The cost of retrofitting the BMW in-dash "Business CD" will cost approx. $900 making it cost prohibitive. You can purchase a trunk mounted BMW (Alpine) factory CD changer and mounting bracket for less than $425 US. Check www.eurobuyers.com and www.ultimatebmwparts.com/commonpage/alpine.htm for the best prices. The car is prewired and it will take 15-20 minutes to install. BTW, the radio head unit doesn't need to be replaced if you decide to get the in-dash unit.

    Hope this helps...JL
  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    I was under the impression that the in-dash cd as well as the in-dash cassette also contained the radio tuner. That was the reason people were claiming better radio reception from the in-dash cd after making the swap. The display which shows the stations is just that, a display only. The actual tuner is part of the in-dash cd/cass. That being said, you are correct, the cd changes is a much better choice if price is your main object and you want a clean look. I am willing to sacrifice the clean look to have a wire hanging down from my cassette player in order to have an adapter for my mp3 player which rest where the useless cupholders pop out. I have my choice of 5000 songs and they are all at the touch of my fingers.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    mseals... I concur with srfast.

    I wouldn't mess with changing the OEM in-dash unit. I wouldn't do anything that might cause potential dash rattles, electrical problems, void warranties, detract from interior styling, or reduce resale value. But I'm a pretty conservative guy when it comes to making any mods.

    Not to mention the high cost. Some other sources for CD changers include Pacific BMW (www.PacificBMW.com), $392 (free shipping), and Passport BMW (www.passportbmw.com), $379 (plus shipping). Both regularly advertise in Roundel (BMW CCA) and Bimmer magazines.
  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    I was not recommending a DIY job for the in-dash unit. In fact, that is something I would definitely go to the $tealer for, but I have heard that it gets better reception with the cd than the cassette. I don't care much since I listen to FM 98% of the time.
  • seivwrigseivwrig Member Posts: 388
    "seivwrig... Don't forget that European emission standards used to be a lot different than American ones. They were still using leaded gas long after we stopped. And it wasn't that long ago when they finally went over to catalytic converters. Don't think you wanted to breath Rome, Paris or London air in the 1980s."

    Too late. I breathed more than fair share as well as chimney soot. The air does seem any different than the mess that I breathe in Houston.
  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    I have not been in a while, and even the time I did go to europe, it was just Paris so that is very limited. High school French class trip in 1989. But I highly doubt that Europe has the industrial pollution that we have in this country, plus I would guess that we have way more cars than they do. Just a guess though.
  • riezriez Member Posts: 2,361
    Some of our cities most afflicted by air pollution--LA, Houston, and Denver--suffer for a variety of reasons that are tied to factors like altitude (Denver), temperature (Houston), and surrounding elevation (LA). Plus each has sufficient density and industrial & other non-automotive emissions-related activity (e.g., everything from our love of bar-b-que grilles to ever-present at odd times lawn mowers) to make abatement a problem. But overall, if you compare air quality nationwide & continentally from around 1970 (the era of the EPA, Clean Air Act, etc.) to 1990 in USA to Western European nations and W. Europe, you can see where our early adoption of more aggressive automotive standards and technology paid off. (Too bad we can't seem to remove those old and improperly working few vehicles that pollute so much. One of them is worth 1K or more brand new cleaner vehicles.)
  • wabendswabends Member Posts: 102
    Hi guys,

      Thanks for your suggestions. I am leaning towards the CD changer. I will keep you informed about the outcome.

  • msealsmseals Member Posts: 257
    Good point about topography making up a big part of why some cities have air pollution problems. I totally agree. I live in Metro Detroit and that isn't the problem here. Our problem is that we have probably more cars per person than any where else. I guess that is the price you pay for being the motor city. I think it is up to 1.7 cars per person in the metro Detroit area. That is a lot of cars and people tend to collect a lot of cars in the area as well. Our pollution levels have been high and for a while they use to make us take smog tests in order to get tabs for our license plates, they ended that a while ago and now we use reformulated gas in the summer time when the ozone is most vulnerable. In contrast, our gas prices are higher in the summer, not at Californian standards, but high none the less.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H EdmundsAdministrator Posts: 11,126

    Join us tonight, 6-7pm PT/9-10pm ET for Town Hall Trivia Night and member-to-member chat – come test your knowledge and chat with fellow members!


    See you there!


    Need help navigating? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Share your vehicle reviews

Sign In or Register to comment.