Help me choose a 540i - 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 10-29-2005, 09:51 PM
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Help me choose a 540i

I have this thing about buying a 540I and i finally have the money to get something decent... I currently have an '89 325ix and it is pretty cool... I have always wanted to get a 5er and a friend of mine at a dealership told me that the 5er is the best to get as the second buyer becasue the price drops so much for resale... Anyways... You guys are what i am sure to be the experts on the 5er and i would like to kow what your opinion is on the best year of 5er to consider... I'd prefer to get something newer the 1997... I have also heard that the 540i's have a reputation for having radiator problems...ture? thanks in advance for your help...

Preston
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#2 (permalink) Old 10-29-2005, 09:56 PM
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I happened to read through like 90% of the 5er problems and I would also like to ask...

IS there a reson why I should consider a 5er at all now... problem ridden seems to be the case... And apparently dangerous

Preston
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#3 (permalink) Old 10-29-2005, 10:02 PM
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540i

Well, it's fast, good looking, big car, there's a plethora of mods for it ...

As for the issues ... every car has them; just because someone had an issue or it is listed somewhere as potential doesn't mean it will happen to you. As far as engine/transmission, I've never heard of one that died ... I think you can agree with me that everything else is minor.

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#4 (permalink) Old 10-30-2005, 01:56 AM
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540i owner here, and I agree with Torque.



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#5 (permalink) Old 10-30-2005, 08:17 PM
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97 540 owner and I wouldn't switch it out until this one dies...I'm at 170,000 and running like new...If you want a fast, comfortable, and great looking car then the 540 is for you...
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#6 (permalink) Old 10-31-2005, 08:42 PM
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I have a 5er, E39 and I wouldn't change it either, but my transmission is failing, it is a manual. Don't ask me how it is possible that a car with only 49K miles on it, has a failing transmission. I am a 3rd owner and I think the prior two yahoos, must not have known how to drive, or they dragged the shit out of the car. With that said, I love this car and would only trade it, for an M5 E39. Thus far, I am the only one to have a transmission issue.

Consider that maintenance can be expensive, if you use the dealership for everything.
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#7 (permalink) Old 11-01-2005, 10:59 AM
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Thanks for all your help... I do like the look of the 1997's and such... I'd like to get a bit newer so a 1999 might be where i'm going. Thanks again

Preston
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#8 (permalink) Old 11-01-2005, 09:06 PM
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Sport, get the Sport package.

e39 540i Sport.
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#9 (permalink) Old 11-01-2005, 11:31 PM
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My 1999 540 6-speed is at 120,000 miles and still going strong, although I recently replaced the (original) battery. I can tell the radiator was reworked at some point because the upper hose is dated Feb 2001 (my build date was 10/98).

The bottom line from my perspective is:
1) It isn't a Honda in reliability, but then no rear-wheel-drive Honda ever performed like this, and the S2000 cannot carry three across in its non-existent back seat like my 540 can. Honda notwithstanding, the 540 is a reliable car if you perform all preventive maintenance as you should.
2) Parts are not really any more expensive that any other marque's parts, especially if your local dealer offers a 20% discount to BMWCCA members as mine does.
3) Labor is ridiculous (my local dealer charges $95 per hour, and the BMW-specialist independent shop charges $75/hour). So the 540 makes economic sense (for an average Joe) only if you're willing to turn your own wrenches. In addition to the cost of your car, factor in about $250 on top of that - $110 for the Bentley E39 Service manual, and about $140 or so for the Peake code reader/reset tool (or equivalent).

Good luck!

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#10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2005, 03:24 AM
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A Plethora of mods?
c'mon! Theres the general chassis mods - suspension, brakes, etc - but engine mods are EXTREMELY limited.

This may or may not be a big deal to the buyer, but a plethora of mods is quite an exaggeration.

If you want newer than 1997, stay older than year 2000. A lot of people prefer the pre-vanos cars and they are often underrated - and it is one less thing to break.

The e39 chassis is very solid feeling - and overall reliability is decent. The radiators are a bit of a problem, but some companies are now designing aftermarket radiators that should be much less prone to failing. Should cure that problem.

Being the owner of an e34 and an e39 6cyl powered car, I am looking to bring home a nice 540 sometime soon, but it will likely be an e34 - there is just so much more "driver satisfaction."

I suggest that you drive an older and a newer model for good comparison if your looking for a real sportster - unless your absolutely sold on a 1997 + model.

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#11 (permalink) Old 11-02-2005, 08:32 PM
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Sporky - Vanos began on 1999 540s

Vanos on the intake valves only was introduced on the 540 in the 1999 model year when the change was made from the M62 to the M62TU V8. So if you want to avoid Vanos, as Sporky recommends considering, you need to stick with 1998 and 1997 MY (in the USA).

I think you should consider the contrary - avoid the earlier 540 and go for the 1999 or newer. THe M62TU is rated at the same 282 HP, but at a lower peak RPM and with 324 (or thereabouts) lb-ft of torque at a lower peak RPM than the pre-vanos 540's 310 lb-ft. Hitting these peaks at lower RPM translates into more area under the power and torque curves, which means more usable Jizz from the engine.

Still the M62 has a cable-operated throttle, whereas with the M62TU it is an electronic throttle. Some say the electronic throttle isn't as responsive as the cable one on the M62. Many schools of thought, so drive as many different 540s as you can and then make up your own mind. I test drove a 1998 540/6 minutes before test driving my 1999 540/6 and I felt the 1999 was noticably smoother, quieter, faster, etc.

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#12 (permalink) Old 11-02-2005, 10:22 PM
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I'll go with Eric on this one. I prefer the 99-03 models because of the vanos, but I think that the electronic throttle also makes a big difference. There isn't that kick when you have to have to accelerate real quick, i.e. passing on a 2 lane road.
If you find any that you're interested in, post their specs and we'll drop you some feedback...
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#13 (permalink) Old 11-04-2005, 01:48 AM
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I noticed that lag in response with the drive-by-wire throttle when I first bought the car. It really sucks when you floor it and it takes a sec to respond, something that shouldn't be so for a high performance sedan. But...I've gotten used to it by now!



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#14 (permalink) Old 11-04-2005, 01:05 PM
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you think it's bad on the 540 - you should feel it on the g35.
our g35 is horrible - you can press the pedal, hold it for a split sec - let off - and get the surge of power after the pedal is untouched. It's incredibly annoying.

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#15 (permalink) Old 11-05-2005, 04:51 AM
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Thanks... I am quite appreciative of all of your input towards choosing a model of 540... I will try a bunch and hopefully get back to you all soon... the snow is starting to fall here so many dealers don't let out the nice toys in the winter... Get back to you soon...

Preston
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