The engine was replaced at 64K miles by BMW for the previous owner, due to an overheating issue, so it runs real nice except for a valve cover gasket oil leak.
The leather seat seams have let go, but I do not know how he treated this car.
The head liner and window pillar fabric is a disgrace, as it has either come unglued or it sags. I have some work to do...
Every piece of plastic under the hood cannot be touched by the human hand, as it will crack, and much of it has.
The headlamp adjusters are shot due to plastic degradation also.
The headlamps are so misted over they are worthless, and point down at the ground due to the adjusters having turned to white plastic dust.
All mainly cosmetic stuff I know, but still annoying.
Essentially, if it is made of plastic on an older model, it will need replacing, and I have many new parts on order. Luckily it totals just a few hundred $$s. I have sanded the headlamps with wet and dry down to 2000 grit, then buffed them with a rotary buff on a drill, and they have come up like new (do not use Deet based products - it seems easy and cool to do, but melts the plastic. Put in the time to do this job properly). Then wax or Rain-X the finished product to keep your handiwork lasting a little longer.
I sold my Ford Excursion, in favor of something that got more than 10 MPG. Other that that, it was a perfect vehicle in perfect condition, as long as you did not expect to travel at highway speeds. The solid Dana axles do not like 50+, and the steering wheel lets you know this when the road surface changes!
The BMW is as solid as a rock.
I bought the BMW, having had great luck with Mercedes. These are not in the same league though. I bought mine because it seems all the used cars I looked at have come from an auction, even if advertised as "by owner" or are being sold because they are just junk. My 528i had one owner and full service history from day one, and I considered that to be more important to me. He was also a smoker, but lashings of OZIUM and vacuuming have the smell almost beat. The local BMW dealer now charges $180/hr to work on BMWs. I am sure I could get a new heart for a similar price, so I am doing it all myself. I am comfortable doing anything on a bike/car, so although I swear a lot, I am not yet crying!
It rides superbly and the brakes would be hard to improve upon. It is "only" the 528i, but if you know how to handle a car, it will put many so called "quicker" cars to shame. It is extremely comfortable, and I have overcome the silly leather seat issue, by fitting full sheepskin fitted covers that match the gray interior perfectly. They adapt to temperature and hence to comfort very well.
The airbag light is on (door airbag issue), but according to BMW, the bag will still function fine. It is a module that needs replacing, and at $900 it can wait a while.
I think the E39 is the best looking BMW ever outside of the 8-series, so I have mixed feeling regarding the car. I once dated a very attractive lady who was severely bi-polar. I felt the same way about her.
It is after all 14 years old, but a 14 year old Mercedes or Jag would not have all the plastic parts cracking and falling off, so as a quality car, it ain't cutting it, but I feel once I have some of the niggly plastic parts replaced, it should be just regular preventative maintenance in my future.
It handles well, and after the V10 Excursion, is a gas-miser in my book!
It is quiet and tight, and I believe will be a good car, once sorted.
Like the bi-polar lady, it is fun to take out now and again, but I am not sure I can commit to it for any length of time.