I am Teh Edumacator.
Join Date: May 2005
Location: ATL, London, and Barcelona
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Yes, manual is VERY hard to come by in a 528.
I've driven my cousin's 2001 528 with a manual...very smooth. Better balanced than my 540, owing to its smaller engine, and the 528 also gets rack and pinion steering. 528 models that came with a stick also got a sport suspension package.
The only significant problem I'd worry about at that mileage would be an automatic transmission, since they were made by GM on the 528...but you don't have that problem. Other common issues will be radiator, water pump, thermostat, thermostat housing, dead pixels in displays, suspension parts, and some climate control units. Other than that, 5ers are a joy. And 528's are definitely cheaper than 540's to maintain!!!
I started my bimmer journey with a 528. Looked almost identical to yours when I bought it. Really miss it a lot, but it saved my life.
You should be able to talk him down to mid-$9,000s. Check NADA.com for used car prices.
1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.
1995 E38 740i. Highly modded. Faster than you.
Sold 2-28-07: 1997 E36 M3/4, 8-30-05 RIP 1997 528i
Lindsay fan club member.