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
#8314 of 12737 new vs old?
Feb 01, 2004 (7:33 pm)
It's been a while (1999) since I was last in a BMW 318. Currently in a Lexus IS300 coming off lease in September. I am looking to get a 540i but am a bit concerned about some of the comments on the board about the 2004's (both 5 series and 7 series).
I'm interested in any constructive feedback that any of you have between getting a used 540 vs. the new model.
#8315 of 12737 Thanks designman!
Feb 01, 2004 (10:04 pm)
Thanks for the support. And your arguments are exactly mine. Whether it's 8 seconds or 8.3 seconds or 6.9 seconds (supposedly the E39 530i) it's all relative and rather a small and insignificant rate of speed. I don't equate performance and whether or not a car "flies" by standstill speed. I live in Southern California where we have perpetual rush hour.
In the window times when I can actually drive my car fast, my 525i gets up to 90 and above VERY QUICKLY on the freeway. And yes, Shipo and Riez, I've driven a 530i and a 540i. The only noticeable difference came from the 540i and NOT the 530i. Sure the 530i accelerates a LITTLE better from a standstill, but once both cars get going, the difference is very minor. And with the computer chip holding down the overall speed of the car, both cars can only go around 128 mph anyway.
IMO, the 540i is in a different class. But who needs all of that power driving around town and on the freeway? I don't. Would I want the 540i? Not really. Can I afford the 540i? Yes. But I don't need all of that muscle. In fact my "slow" 525i just got me a speeding ticket on a local twisting road. I was allegedly doing 62 in a 35 mph. Sorry Shipo and Riez, but the car freakin' flew! And oh by the way, this is my second 5 series and before that I "flew" in a Saab Turbo. So, it IS relative to what kind of driving one wants to do. I'm more concerned about highway "flying", muscle and speed and less concerned at beating the guy next to me at a red light.
Finally, if I thought the 41 hp could justify the extra $3,500 I would have bought it. And one other thing Riez: I did test drive many of the cars you listed in your response to me. They might have beaten my 525i by a second or more but they couldn't hold a candle to the handling of my car nor the fit and finish. I rather prefer my "ultimate driving machine" thank you very much.
#8316 of 12737 Good and Great, For the Money
Feb 02, 2004 (5:03 am)
Not sure I agree that all is relative. Sure, in one sense, but if you go down that road too far, then why drive the BMW in the first place when there are a ton of cars, relatively speaking, that are nearly as good, many for a lot less money?
For me the issue is there are cars, good cars, and great cars. Why settle for a car or a good car if there is a great car?
Nothing wrong with the 525i. I think a 525i manual with Sport Pkg is an excellent car. Though it is not as good a car as the 530i, which is one of the best sedans in the world.
I love the 540i6. But I will acknowledge that for the money a low option 530i manual Sport Pkg is a better bargain. Don't forget that the V8 is heavier. And thinking that in the E39 the 540i6 used recirculating ball steering. So the E39 530i was a slightly more nimble car. Guess that was one reason CR rated it the best overall car they had ever tested.
#8317 of 12737 A few nits...
Feb 02, 2004 (5:46 am)
bmwmrc, on the whole, I agree with much of what you have been saying, however, there are a few things I just cannot agree with.
1) "I've driven a 530i and a 540i. The only noticeable difference came from the 540i and NOT the 530i. Sure the 530i accelerates a LITTLE better from a standstill, but once both cars get going, the difference is very minor."
Sorry, the difference is quite a bit more than a "LITTLE better". If that's all your butt dyno is capable of registering, I might humbly suggest that you it re-calibrated.
2) "And with the computer chip holding down the overall speed of the car, both cars can only go around 128 mph anyway."
Other than you, I haven't heard anyone mentioning the top speed during this discussion. I have in fact had the pleasure of driving my 530i at the upper limit (I did ED a couple of years back) in Germany, and based upon my experience with the 325i that I drove, the acceleration up to the limit, and it's ability to sustain that speed going up hill is quite significant.
3) Regarding the 41 horsepower (and 39 lb-ft torque) advantage of the 3.0 liter mill, the impression that I get from you that it's "ONLY" 41 horsepower. Hmmm, well, in my book that is a little more than a 22% increase in power. Not too shabby.
In the end, all of the E39 5-Series cars are quite wonderful, however, from where I sit, the 525i is simply not as drivable as the 530i, regardless of whether I'm in NYC rush hour traffic or burning up a hilly/twisty two lane up here in New Hampshire.
Feb 02, 2004 (7:35 am)
I know you're a stickler for facts that is why I found your comment disturbing:
"You might compare your 525ia's performance to less expensive cars like the former Acura TL Type S or new Acura TL, Infiniti G35, or Lexus IS300."
You may be interested in the fact the the Infiniti G35 Automatic turns 0-60 in 6.2-6.5 sec. The G35 Stick is 5.9 0-60, 14.4 0-100, 1/4 mile in 14.2, 70-0 153ft. (Jan. '03 Car & Driver) The fact is that the G35 sport will outperform any 525 or 530 auto or stick. All that for under $35,000.00
I'm not Bimmer bashing (as a former member of the clan '00 Z3 & '01 325sp). It's just that your post was misleading and inaccurate.
#8319 of 12737 What has the troll started?
Feb 02, 2004 (8:06 am)
Seems like Employees18 may indeed be a ringer, but he/she has gotten an interesting discussion started.
I guess I'd only add that the fact the BMW has sold a fairly wide range of E39's (and presumably E60) models just goes to show "different strokes" is simply where it's at.
To me, one of the conundrums of cars like the 5 is how much money do you blow on the engine, when you're getting (essentially) the exact same chassis for either a lot more or a lot less than others. Value-wise, it's hard to fault the 525 buyer, particularly if modestly optioned, who gets the same chassis, and handling dynamics the equal of or even better than the 540/545, for what, $12k-$15k less? On balance, in a car the size of a 5 (approx. 3,500+lbs.), I guess my own definition of "flies" mandates a V-8 (or a least a honking 6). But as pointed out, aside from cost, that V-8 car is heavier (particlarly in the front, note weight distribution), and in the E39 had less-preferred recirc. ball.
I personally went the "cut the baby in half" route, E39 530 stick, saved $$ be skipping the SP, and also miss out on the fun of changing wheels twice a year so I can drive here in Chicago in the winter. As far as the extra $3500 v. a 525, well my old E34 had 189hp, so I wasn't going to get another 5 without some extra ponies, but I would point out that in the grand scheme of hot rodding, a 22% increase in power (v. a 525) for $3500 in not prohibitive. "Balanced", in a number of senses, is how a I like to think of this 5 (but a colleague has a similarly equipped E39 525 stick, likes it just fine, and has almost an an add'l $4k sitting in the bank--appreciating, unlike a car.)
My point: lots of ways to skin this cat, a stripper 525 offers great value, but a V-8 puts some real motor under the hood (but there's no free lunch.) I'm even thinking 545 next time around now that they've juiced it to 325hp, lightened the car, and put 6-speed trannies across the board. But like others, I'm a little cool on the E60 styling, so I'll continue to drive "the best car Consumer Reports ever tested" (although I understand that it recently got nudged out by the new Acura TL--what do those toaster-testers know?!)
Feb 02, 2004 (9:19 am)
I admit it... I sometimes wonder if I should have gotten a 530 six speed, saved a bunch of bucks, and gotten the slightly more compliant 17 inch wheel/tire combo in the bargain. I would also be doing the planet a favor, with the greater fuel efficiency of the six. I am not good enough to really tell you that the recirc ball steering is crap compared to the rack in the 530, and the front/rear tire stagger on the 540 inhibit you truly comparing the balance of the two. I know that running the tach up is a blast in my car. I still wonder though...
#8321 of 12737 Riez and Shipo
Feb 02, 2004 (9:30 am)
To each his own I guess. What matters is that whatever we drive, we chose that car and hopefully we're all happy with our purchase.
Yes, shipo, statistically the extra 41 hp and 39 lbs of torque IS 22% more, but so what. It's not sooooooooooo much more that I could justify paying for it. That's just my opinion. Another poster here twoof1 espouses the G35. I think for the money, the Infiniti is a great car. I test drove it twice. Yes, the hp was magnificent. But in the end, I didn't care for the car's fit and finish, and it just didn't have the refinement of the Bimmer.
BTW, I do think the 525i should have come standard with at least 200+ hp, but I'm still happy with the way it performs. I drive the steptronic in "sport mode" and the car drives really well. I test drove the 5301 on many occasions and I DID NOT feel the extra hp or torque was that significant and justified. Period! On the other hand, as I stated previously, the 540 is a monster! I test drove that car as well. But I don't need all of that muscle and I couldn't justify to my wife paying more than $12k extra, let alone even the extra $3,500 for the 530. One other thing: I grew up driving manual cars and when I was younger (I'm 44) that's all I drove. But after one knew surgery and all of the stop and go rush hour traffic we have in Southern California, I felt it was insane for me to continue to drive a stick shift. Again, it was no longer important to me to "beat" the guy next to me off the green light.
The bottom line is, you guys are happy with what you're driving and I'm happy with what I'm driving. This is my second 5 series, and I actually came down on hp on this one. But in the end, I love my car, as I'm sure you love your cars. And isn't that what really matters?
#8322 of 12737 And another thing...
Feb 02, 2004 (9:33 am)
I know this goes back a few posts... but exactly when did Shipo become the barometer of age?
#8323 of 12737 5 Series Diesels in US
Feb 02, 2004 (9:46 am)
I am hearing quite a bit about the MB E320 CDI coming to the US now that the fuels here are meeting neecessary standards. Can anyone here let me know if there are similar plans for BMW and the 5 Series?
I am very seriously considering European delivery and would love to come home with a German diesel.