540i Or Lexus Gs400 - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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#1 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 04:01 AM
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Hiya all - new on the forum.

My wife and I are looking at a family car.... we currently have a modded '93 Nissan 240sx Convertible and a lifted '94 Bronco.

We are looking at a 5 series or a Lexus GS. Primary use is going to be the grocery shopper and the soon to be born kid's pediatrician express....

We are looking a manual tranny 5 series - (probably the v8) or the GS400 in about a 99 or 2000 model year.

Wife wants this to be the car that I don't have to constantly work on (so sounds like Lexus), but yet she is really interested in the BMW...

Gotta be honest both are nice cars, but the GS only comes in an automatic....

The manual transmission is not mandatory, but is always nice to have. I know I'm contradicting myself, but I really need some advice.... been trying to decide for over 2 weeks, and the more I think about it, the more I can't decide....

Anyone know any dimension comparisons between the two? esp the trunk - cause its gotta be able to carry one of those baby strollers together with the groceries used

thanks in advance.
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#2 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 02:13 PM
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Well in my opinion the 540 is a safer car for the family.
The GS obviously has a MUCH smoother ride and is more suitable as a family car in that way.

the 540 wont need constant work as much as a lot of maintenance, the GS will be happy as is and un-touched for years to come. I really doubt either will leave you stranded more than once or twice in it's lifetime though.

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#3 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 02:29 PM
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Both are good choices. I personally think the design on the Lexus cars are quite boring. But, the plus is reliability may be better. I think Lexus is the safer, more conservative choice, while the BMW 540 is the more daring, fun one.. So, depends on your point of view and your own motivation. Also, not sure what the cost differences are. I'd personally go with the 540. I have a 97 528 - it was either that or a used Honda - no contest there!
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#4 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 04:41 PM
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Thanks for the input....

My biggest worry is the maintenance... I am fairly mechanical ( I work on my nissan and my ford) but the whole German thing sort of scares me. I was looking at the long list of possible failure list on 540i6.com which sort of scares me even more.

I guess the question is, I know as in all cars that it depends on the car to the extent of repairs necessary. I also know that the GS is probably the more conservative choice, especially with the v8 in terms of reliability. So on the average, is the BMW going to require constant (monthly) maintenance, aside from the usual oil changes?
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#5 (permalink) Old 03-24-2005, 10:34 PM
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You work on your own vehicles? There - you just hit the nail on the head! At age 42, I bought my first BMW, a 1999 540i 6-speed back in October 2004 and I couldn't be happier! It was at 103K miles when I bought it and it is close to 110K now and running great. Have I had to spin some wrenches on it? You bet! Have I had to talk to "Benjamin Dover" at the dealer yet? Nope. And here's why:

1. Bentley Repair manual, bought thru Amazon for $106.
2. Peake Reseacrh code reader/reset tool, $150
3. BMW Parts are not really much more expensive than others
4. Joining the BMW CCA (car club) nets me a 15% discount at my local dealer on parts. Plus it includes the Roundel, a really cool monthly BMW magazine.
5. Last, but not least - Internet help, both here and at Roadfly.

When I bought my car it was overdue for a lot of maintenance-type stuff and I did all of it, spending about $250 on parts (plus the $256 manual/code tool investment). If I had run to "Mommy Dealer" to rectify each issue, I'd have spent well over $2000 by now. It's the BMW labor costs that will kill you.

So if you don't WANT to work on your car, ever, the Lexus is the Choice. IF you want to have more fun driving your car, AND you don't mind spending a nominal amount on parts/fluids and a nominal amount of your time here and there, then the 540i/6 is your choice.

Click on my profile name and look at my car's photo and tell me honestly you'd rather have a GS400 slushbox.

Case closed.

<span style='colorurple'>Eric S.</span>
2006 Honda Odyssey EXL-RES
2006 Honda Accord V6 EX-L Sedan
1999 BMW 540i 6-Speed (Sold to M3UOND on 9/21/06)
1991 Honda Civic Si - Occasional Beater
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#6 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 04:13 AM
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Guys, thanks for the input... I'm leaning definately towards the BMW right now... just have to find one for the right price. I'm in Socal and I'm going to be shopping in the 20-22k range for a 99 or 00 model (manual tranny).

I just have to convince the wife that this is the car that we want. I am assuming that the BMW 540 can hold its own in the safety areas with a GS400 (99 or 00) with all the side airbags, traction control etc (can you have traction control on a manual tranny?) because the main reason for purchase is the "family car"

Anyone want to comment on the trunk space? I am hoping that it is a decent size that can fit the stroller and groceries.... (or should I just get a Touring?)


Oh yes.... and my biggest concern is VANOS.... I read in some thread, that some guys VANOS went out and it was going to cost 10K, but since he was under warranty - BMW took care of it.... well that is making me think that the 1999 is better since it doesn't have VANOS (right?)
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#7 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 06:36 AM
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10k for vanos? definitley not unless he blew out his entire engine bay or something If you can do the work yourself, it wil be about $400-ish for the part and maybe a little more if you need the valve and such (Dont quote me on the price, but thats what I recall seeing them go for). But the vanos rarely fails so I think you'll be ok.

Oh and yes, the 540i has vanos
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#8 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jaja@Mar 24 2005, 04:01 AM
Hiya all - new on the forum.

My wife and I are looking at a family car.... we currently have a modded '93 Nissan 240sx Convertible and a lifted '94 Bronco.

We are looking at a 5 series or a Lexus GS. Primary use is going to be the grocery shopper and the soon to be born kid's pediatrician express....

We are looking a manual tranny 5 series - (probably the v8) or the GS400 in about a 99 or 2000 model year.

Wife wants this to be the car that I don't have to constantly work on (so sounds like Lexus), but yet she is really interested in the BMW...

Gotta be honest both are nice cars, but the GS only comes in an automatic....

The manual transmission is not mandatory, but is always nice to have. I know I'm contradicting myself, but I really need some advice.... been trying to decide for over 2 weeks, and the more I think about it, the more I can't decide....

Anyone know any dimension comparisons between the two? esp the trunk - cause its gotta be able to carry one of those baby strollers together with the groceries used

thanks in advance.
[snapback]317593[/snapback]
I had a 2001 300GS brand new and traded it in for a 740IL just after one year. It was so boring.
Your choice depands on need to satisfy your passion. If getting into a car "lifts your spirit" get a BMW. I had a 530 with no problem. The GS has a vey small trunk opening. Have you driven the two and compare?
Why the 540? If you need mor power I understand. But for shopping and occasional spirited driving the 5series with bigger V6 with std tranny could do and is less money.
I hope this helps some.
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#9 (permalink) Old 03-25-2005, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kassper@Mar 25 2005, 07:36 AM
10k for vanos? definitley not unless he blew out his entire engine bay or something If you can do the work yourself, it wil be about $400-ish for the part and maybe a little more if you need the valve and such (Dont quote me on the price, but thats what I recall seeing them go for). But the vanos rarely fails so I think you'll be ok.

Oh and yes, the 540i has vanos
[snapback]318122[/snapback]
1997 & 1998 540's are non-Vanos. 1999 is when Vanos started (intake side only), and you get more area under that power/torque curve even though there was no change in HP rating.

I bought my 1999 for $17,900 in October, and altho higher miles and in need of maintenance was in nearly perfect shape otherwise. Fuel prices are hurting the 540's resale and there aint much price difference today between a used 540 or 528 (as old as 1999-2000).

The 1999-2000 is a tad safer from the standpointof the standard side curtain airbag. Rear door airbags are options. In 1999, traction control + ABS gave way to a more sophisticated system called "DSC" Or Dynamic Stability Control", with yaw sensors and other geegaws to basically modulate throttle/brakes to keep you under control in most situations. And the 6-speed has it. So that's another thing in favor of the 1999. Beside's I've not heard of Vanos being an issue.

Regarding choice of 540 vs.528. That debate rages daily. The 528 does have slightly more balance and has rack-&-pinion steering. Bottom line is the 540 is so overwhlmingly more powerful and the difference in handling and "feel" is very minimal. I spent a whole day with a 528 5-speed and felt a difference as soon as I snicked through 540's 6-cog gearbox and felt its velvety-smooth clutch. The 528 seemed like SO much more work for so little reward (relatively).

One last note is that you HAVE to get the "Sport" package on whatever 5 you buy. Since every 6-speed 540 comes standard with the Sport package, that's one more reason to get the 6-speed (although it was an available option on the autos).

<span style='colorurple'>Eric S.</span>
2006 Honda Odyssey EXL-RES
2006 Honda Accord V6 EX-L Sedan
1999 BMW 540i 6-Speed (Sold to M3UOND on 9/21/06)
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#10 (permalink) Old 03-26-2005, 01:52 AM
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Went to the local BMW tonight to see what was there... The only 540i/6 they had there was a 2002 for 45K.... just a tad bit over my budget.... :

I sat in one for the first time.... nice... very nice.... It was black on the outisde with black on the inside.... looked like it had mostly all the options, even the GPS nav.

Well I'm going to stop by the Lexus dealer tom to see the GS... (nope not the new one... )

(But my mind is pretty set on the 540i/6 -- if I can ever find one in my budget...)
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#11 (permalink) Old 03-26-2005, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jaja@Mar 26 2005, 02:52 AM
Went to the local BMW tonight to see what was there... The only 540i/6 they had there was a 2002 for 45K.... just a tad bit over my budget.... :

I sat in one for the first time.... nice... very nice.... It was black on the outisde with black on the inside.... looked like it had mostly all the options, even the GPS nav.

Well I'm going to stop by the Lexus dealer tom to see the GS... (nope not the new one... )

(But my mind is pretty set on the 540i/6 -- if I can ever find one in my budget...)
[snapback]318585[/snapback]
Some more advice from a fellow recent 540/6 buyer: make sure you look at all 3 interior color schemes before choosing. It was available in all black, gray, or cream/tan. I "thought" gray was what I wanted until I found the cream colored-interior and then I was smitten. Everyone has their favorite; I have a co-worker who is ga-ga over the black interior, yet it is my least-favorite. THAT's a to-each-his-own kind of thing.

I've found in buying other relatively rare used cars that the choice of exterior color goes out the window in favor of just "finding " that rare car for a decent price.

Best of luck to you. Try cars.com. That's how I found my current 540 and is how I found 4 of my last 5 cars.

<span style='colorurple'>Eric S.</span>
2006 Honda Odyssey EXL-RES
2006 Honda Accord V6 EX-L Sedan
1999 BMW 540i 6-Speed (Sold to M3UOND on 9/21/06)
1991 Honda Civic Si - Occasional Beater
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#12 (permalink) Old 03-26-2005, 02:37 PM
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Thanks for the color advice....

As for pricing... I am shopping in the 19-22k area for a '99 or '00 540i/6 in the Torrance/Los Angeles area.

Asked my insurance agent and said something about $550/6months for coverage.... does this sound right? I know insurance differs from state to state, I know that I talked to a guy in NC and he insured his late model Boxter for cheaper than my 240SX

Still looking for my 540, and running out of time. I hope I can find one before I have to resort to a GS Our kid is almost coming (April 15) so I am really running out of time.

Wish me luck
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#13 (permalink) Old 03-26-2005, 05:42 PM
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As for safety I'm sure the BMW will hold up. The manual version of the BMW would probably give you a much better and more enjoyable experience driving wise with the BMW.

In reference to repair, there is no denying that Lexus has this title won. Although, his doesn't mean that BMW's have many problems. Your engine and tranny will last more than you would expect.

I myself own a 1989 e34 525i with 272,000 miles on it and the engine and tranny are still working great (although it is an automatic).

Good Luck

(and I too own a modified '93 240sx and love it)


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#14 (permalink) Old 03-26-2005, 06:55 PM
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M power - you telling me that you have 272k miles on your automatic tranny? You did have it rebuilt right? Thats really amazing if it is your orginial tranny.... My Ford Bronco has 160k and its on its 3rd tranny, and my 240sx vert has about 130k and we had the AT swapped for a 5 speed... no SR though - its a legal street grocery racer

But seriously if the BMW tranny can hold 250k+ miles on the original without a rebuild.... that is pretty damn good.

Just curious - how many other BMW 5 series owners have a modded 240sx?
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#15 (permalink) Old 03-27-2005, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jaja@Mar 26 2005, 03:37 PM
Thanks for the color advice....

As for pricing... I am shopping in the 19-22k area for a '99 or '00 540i/6 in the Torrance/Los Angeles area.

Asked my insurance agent and said something about $550/6months for coverage.... does this sound right? I know insurance differs from state to state, I know that I talked to a guy in NC and he insured his late model Boxter for cheaper than my 240SX

Still looking for my 540, and running out of time. I hope I can find one before I have to resort to a GS Our kid is almost coming (April 15) so I am really running out of time.

Wish me luck
[snapback]318812[/snapback]
I wish you luck!!

Regarding insurance, since I live in Virginia, the only relevant basis of comparison that I can offer is to tell you that my previous vehicle was a 1998 Honda Civic HX coupe. I was paying about $98 per month for both the 1997 Expedition 4X4 and the Honda, and it is about $130 now. On a percentage basis, that's a little more than 30% since the Expedition diluted the total somehat. Probably more like 50%, but I felt $30 a month more was worth it.

<span style='colorurple'>Eric S.</span>
2006 Honda Odyssey EXL-RES
2006 Honda Accord V6 EX-L Sedan
1999 BMW 540i 6-Speed (Sold to M3UOND on 9/21/06)
1991 Honda Civic Si - Occasional Beater
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