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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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Old 12-20-2004, 05:27 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm a newbie and never owned a BMW. Looking at 98' to 00' 5 series. Are they solid cars? What are the best models? I'm really in need of a reliable car. Thanks.
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Old 12-20-2004, 10:10 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by James Lugo@Dec 20 2004, 07:27 AM
I'm a newbie and never owned a BMW. Looking at 98' to 00' 5 series. Are they solid cars? What are the best models? I'm really in need of a reliable car. Thanks.
[snapback]254660[/snapback]
Hey James -
Welcome to the 5-series! I was in your exact shoes 2-1/2 months ago. You've asked some great questions, but they are so general that one could fill pages answering them, and you'd have a lot of conflicting opinions baked in there as well to sort through. I suggest you read through the history of the postings not only on this forum, but others as well, including www.roadlfy.org. Also make sure you check out http://www.540i6.com/probsfixes.html, which is a good summary of typical issues.

All that said, the "E39" 5-series (1997 thru 2003) is one of the most solid, dependable cars ever made, just make sure you are an educated shopper. Learn what options were available, and which you'd like. Test drive a lot of different cars - 528 auto, 528 5-speed, 540 auto, 540 6-speed. Get used to the sounds they make. Check out different interior colors, because that's what you'll be looking at most of the time. For instance I thought I wanted the gray interior, but then I found the cream interior and knew that was what I wanted beyond any doubt. There's also a black leather interior as well.

One last comment is that with oil prices gone crazy, a used 540 isn't much more money (and sometimes cheaper) than a comparable used 528 (the 540 was much higher $$ when new and has more standard equipment). I think newer is genrally better, but the only thing 2000 has that the 1999 doesn't is a better fob/key. Definitely try to get a Sport model, because that will get you better seats, staggered wheels/tires, lower springs, other nice touches. Good luck to you; $18,000 will be a tough price point, but there are nice E39's out there available in that range if you look hard. Let me know if you have any specific questions, or feel free to post again!
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Old 12-20-2004, 12:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Eric. I'm so new at this I will have my work cut out. I'm on vacation till Christmas , when I get back home I'm going to start test driving. Thanks for taking the time.
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Old 12-20-2004, 03:29 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Make me an offer. I have a 99 Black/Black 528i/Sports Package Automatic. Normal chips on the front hood, Super Clean inside/out. Car has 86K. M series Steering wheel, Red/Clear taillights.

I'm looking to add on the M5 Package if I don't sell it. And with new sets of headlights..with rings.

Let me know. I'm a few hours North from you.
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I guess you guys are out in California. A friend of mine tell me that BMW prices are much higher out there. Here in Georgia, they seem much cheaper. I bought a 97 528i, 5-speed in Sept for $14, 200. It had 85K when I bought it, but in great condition. Looked like a brand new car and has run great, without any problems. And, I bought that at a dealer. I probably could have gotten cheaper from a private individual (but, the dealer did install a new A/C unit which was bad - so that was worth some big bucks). A 98 BMW would probably go for about a $1000 higher or so. I wonder why there is such a discrepency? BMW's are quite high in demand here in Atlanta as I'm sure they are in California.
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Old 12-22-2004, 08:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You can definitely find something nice at that price point if you just look a little. I just picked up a 1997 540i Auto for wholesale from some car dealer that had overextended himself at Christmas . I did a nationwide search on Autotrader and eBay and couldn't come up with a better deal.

Oh BTW, the V8 ROCKS!
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Old 12-23-2004, 04:24 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've been looking all week at BMW's. It seems that the prices are better on eBay than the dealerships. I'm diggin' The black with tan interior. I think the 3 series is way to small, I'm leaning towards a 5 or 7 series.
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Old 12-23-2004, 06:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Get an E39!! I haven't had mine for too long and is my first BMW and i freakin lovin it!! When i was in your shoes 2 months ago i was thinkin about high maintenance costs but like Eric.S said, the E39 is one of the most reliable BMW's ever made.

With the E39, you can drive around in luxury and comfort, yet when you put your foot down, you've got many horses to play around with (obviously depending on your engine size). I went for the 528 because is felt that it is still quite fast, yet has a refined ride and the MPG is relatively good (I live in the UK some the petrol prices are always insanely high). Also the maintenance costs on the 528 are not as much as bigger engines.

As for interior, my leather is the same colour as the paint on the outside (Glacier Green), which i haven't seen too many times and is unique to the car.

There are my 2 cents, good luck James...Happy hunting!!!

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Old 12-23-2004, 10:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally posted by PJV 528@Dec 23 2004, 08:19 AM
Get an E39!! I haven't had mine for too long and is my first BMW and i freakin lovin it!! When i was in your shoes 2 months ago i was thinkin about high maintenance costs but like Eric.S said, the E39 is one of the most reliable BMW's ever made.

With the E39, you can drive around in luxury and comfort, yet when you put your foot down, you've got many horses to play around with (obviously depending on your engine size). I went for the 528 because is felt that it is still quite fast, yet has a refined ride and the MPG is relatively good (I live in the UK some the petrol prices are always insanely high). Also the maintenance costs on the 528 are not as much as bigger engines.

As for interior, my leather is the same colour as the paint on the outside (Glacier Green), which i haven't seen too many times and is unique to the car.

There are my 2 cents, good luck James...Happy hunting!!!

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[snapback]256920[/snapback]
PJV -
Love the interior! The lighter-colored seats combined with the black trim is a great effect!! Thanks for sharing those photos!
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally posted by James Lugo@Dec 23 2004, 06:24 AM
I've been looking all week at BMW's. It seems that the prices are better on eBay than the dealerships. I'm diggin' The black with tan interior. I think the 3 series is way to small, I'm leaning towards a 5 or 7 series.
[snapback]256912[/snapback]
James -
Be patient! Whichever you pick, whether a 5 or 7-series is your personal choice, just educate yourself on each model.

Be VERY wary of e-Bay! There are many predators out there! You should especially stay away from Texas cars (this is my opinion based on what I heard about lax Texas law regarding salvage title rules). Someone on the Roadfly message board once posted a VERY helpful guide to avoiding fraud out there, I just cannot find it now. RUN away from any foreign escrow deal no matter how good the price is - it's a total scam!

I HIGHLY recommend you test drive a few more private-seller cars, even if the car doesn't sound exactly like what you want. I say this because, depending on the seller's personality, a BMW owner is usually the most enthusiastic source of accurate info about the cars. One or two test drives of E39's with their owners educated me FAR more than reading thru internet postings. Don't be afraid to ask questions, just be sensitive about not insulting someone about their car.

Hang in there, and best of luck to you! B)
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Old 12-23-2004, 10:59 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks Eric!!

I like it because its unique to the car, i dont know how the previous owner done it, but i haven't seen this colour scheme before. The most obvious matching colour scheme would be if the car is finished in black with black leather. Its good to say "Car finished in Glacier green with matching leather"...lol

But as we discussed before Eric, i haven't got the V8 block, and you have!!

LOL!!! :nana :nana

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Old 12-23-2004, 11:03 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally posted by James Lugo@Dec 23 2004, 06:24 AM
I've been looking all week at BMW's. It seems that the prices are better on eBay than the dealerships. I'm diggin' The black with tan interior. I think the 3 series is way to small, I'm leaning towards a 5 or 7 series.
[snapback]256912[/snapback]
Oh about the dealerships - they price their cars to leave themselves LOTS of negotiating room! Actual sale prices lately (at least here on East coast) seem to be consistently below book retail. For instance my local dealer had a 1999 M3 convertible priced at $25K (NADA book trade-in value for the mileage it had) and it still didn't move quickly. A friend of mine (partially responsible for my BMW-mania) bought his '98 528 last year at the dealer. It had about 100K miles and the dealer was asking $18K. He ended up getting it for $14K....
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