Last post on Feb 16, 2013 at 10:05 PM
You are in the BMW 5-Series
What is this discussion about?
BMW 5 Series, Sedan
#11323 of 12737 Re: BMW 5 Series - what year to buy? [jcd14]
May 15, 2006 (12:05 pm)
"I may look for the 528 or 530 then. Is the brake size the only real difference between the cars?"
From a mechanical perspective, I believe the only real significant differences between those two cars is engine size and brake size (although there might also be some slight differences in the base (i.e. non-SP) suspension).
That having been said, BMW performed a very mild but visually obvious cosmetic "Face Lift" between the 2000 and the 2001 model years that, to my eyes at least, took the E39 from "Nice" to "Wow".
#11324 of 12737 Re: BMW 5 Series - what year to buy? [shipo]
May 15, 2006 (12:18 pm)
Agreed. Thanks so much for your input.
#11325 of 12737 Re: BMW 5 Series - what year to buy? [jcd14]
May 15, 2006 (12:31 pm)
My $.02. The 528 (if auto equipped) will seem pretty anemic power wise. Even with the stick (which is THE way to go) both of the 5 series above seem underpowered.
Come to think of it though, the comparable Merc and Audi models were pretty weak accelerators. The Audi middle child, which was priced a bit below the Bimmer, was a 2.7T (turbocharged) model -- which was quite the spirited performer and if you can find one of them as a 2003 or 2004, it will probably be certified to 100K and it will be very strong in terms of power.
On the other hand, the BMW is exquisitely balanced and will handle better at the extremes since it will understeer less and later than the other Germans.
The BMW's seemed to come with stark black interiors frequently, too -- but if you like black, they are hardly cheap interiors, but they lack the "jewel-like" qualities of some other models and brands.
If you want the Bimmer, you will not be disappointed if you go with the stick shift version (and you may find one that is better equipped and will sell for a lot less money since for some reason sticks are not in favor much here on this side of the Atlantic.) Go with the biggest numbers after the 5 you can find though if you want power and refinement. The engines improved (and did again last year) with each iteration.
#11326 of 12737 Re: BMW 5 Series - what year to buy? [markcincinnati]
May 15, 2006 (12:37 pm)
Thanks. Wish I could afford the newest version. It seems in Colorado that most resales are auto, not stick.
I was considering Audi as well but haven't spent the time researching them yet. What models do you like as a comparison to the Bimmer?
#11327 of 12737 Re: BMW 5 Series - what year to buy? [jcd14]
May 15, 2006 (12:45 pm)
What about the 540i?
#11328 of 12737 Re: BMW 5 Series - what year to buy? [jcd14]
May 15, 2006 (12:58 pm)
All the late model Germans (2002+) are breathtakingly expensive to repair and not cheap to maintain.
The Audi and the BMW (if new or new-ER) may have maint included. All of the Germans can be CPO'd -- and I'd not have one that wasn't.
The Audi and Mercedes can be had with All Wheel Drive, which those of you long term posters know would be my only choice (but that doesn't mean you should do what I do) but doubly so in your geography.
Most of the Audi A6 2.7T's will be auto too, but they could have been had with sticks (as could the Bimmers.)
The 2004 A6's 2.7T SLines are steeply discounted off of their original sticker prices, perhaps even more so than the Bimmers (one would assume the Bimmer residuals are higher.)
Here in River City, a new Audi, BMW or Mercedes on a 24 to 39 month lease are actually less money PER MONTH than a used model of a comparable older version for the same term if no money is put down (or minimal money.)
A new German middle child car can be had (check your local listings) sometimes for as low as a number beginning with a "4" for 27 months with drive off costs of about $2K which includes a sec dep and the first months payment.
The deals are starting to accelerate as the mfgs seem to be subventing the heck out of SOME of the models.
The BMW 525xi for instance is (or has been) practically given away, while the demand for the 530xi has kept its price strong.
A new 525xi stick is REALLY RARE and when they are on the lot they NEVER sell -- they are often priced to move.
If you are paying cash, not leasing not financing, and you plan to buy and hold (nice plan, hope it works out), the 2004 Audi and BMW are quite good.
The Audi for 2004 with any of the engines 3.0, 2.7T or 4.2 will be AWD and have a great interior.
The 2.7T if SLINE will run away from the i6 Bimmers, if that is important. They will especially run away in the winter being AWD and all.
Now having had 2 Bimmers and 28 Audis and 2 VW's, and having tested many Bimmers since 2005, I can tell you that the Bimmer IS more of a driver's car. But this is a question of degrees that would, under the normal daily drive requirements we have here in Cincinnati, permit a coin toss were I NOT interested in AWD.
Both the Audi and the BMW (and the Mercedes, too, somewhat less IMHO) are LPS cars. The BMW emphasizes P a bit more than Audi.
These cars, however, are more similar IMHO than not.
If you go used, go CPO. If you test the Bimmers, consider testing the Audi's with the 2.7T or 4.2V8. You may find they are quite affordable and provide a huge bang for your buck.
But you'll have to overcome (here in the US) the status differences and the fact that the Bimmer, even if only a "bit" moreso, is a finer driving sheen!
#11329 of 12737 Re: BMW 5 Series - what year to buy? [markcincinnati]
May 15, 2006 (1:06 pm)
"My $.02. The 528 (if auto equipped) will seem pretty anemic power wise. Even with the stick (which is THE way to go) both of the 5 series above seem underpowered."
Hmmm, the 530i 5-Speed was, by BMW's own conservative numbers, able to sprint to 60 in less than seven seconds. A speed demon? No. Underpowered? Errr, I wouldn't say that either. Even the 528i 5-Speed was (once again by BMW's numbers) capable of getting to 60 in 7.1 (IIRC). That means that even without the drivetrain destroying clutch drops that the magazines use to test acceleration (and managed to achieve low to mid sixes for both cars), that the 528i should be about a seven second car to 60. Not "slow", but not a rocket either.
Regarding a car for Colorado, I might could well be tempted to look for an A6 2.7T as well given the advantage that the turbochargers (I believe that the 2.7T has two. Yes, no?) will provide at altitude. That having been said, my bet is that the 5er will probably be much cheaper to maintain (turbos ain't cheap) and probably get better fuel economy too.
I am of course playing Devil's advocate here as I am a fan of both cars, but with leanings toward the 5er with a stick. Mark on the other hand is an Audi fan who can also appreciate BMWs. What is the right car for you? Only you can best answer that question, preferrably after at least a couple of drives in each.
Good luck and keep us posted on what you do.
#11330 of 12737 My 2003 530i/5 spd..
May 15, 2006 (1:23 pm)
doesn't feel underpowered to me. But what do I know. I've only been driving purpose built race cars in SCCA Club/Pro races for the past 10 years. Listen to Shipo. He speaks from experience.
#11331 of 12737 Re: My 2003 530i/5 spd.. [srfast]
May 15, 2006 (1:49 pm)
Thanks to all for the input. I'll go drive some cars and see what makes sense price-wise as well.
All this input has been great. Jim
#11332 of 12737 Re: BMW 5 Series - what year to buy? [erickpl]
May 15, 2006 (1:53 pm)
I was thinking that the 540 was more expensive than the 528/530 to run and maintain.
Is that your take on it?