1995 BMW 5 Series 525i SE


Classic German engineering at its very best. Solid, reliable and built by true craftsmen


Replaced some of the suspension link bars and control arms, because rubber bushes had worn.

Also replaced all four shocks and springs; they weren't knackered, but I decided that after 16 years, the originals had earned retirement.

Treated it to new bonnet and boot badges.

Display on dash keeps flashing "Brake light fault, see owners handbook". I've checked everything, including changing the brake light switch, but the message is still there. There is nothing wrong with the system, apparently this is a common fault.

Dash also flashes "ESD regelt". Again, a common fault, there is nothing wrong with the car.

Rear electric window motors sometimes jam. Usually fixed with a good thump on the inside door panel near to the motor.

Leather upholstery and carpets are still good and not worn.

General Comments:

Although 14 years old when I bought it for £1,495 in 2010 with 80,000 miles on the clock, this is probably the best car I've owned - this is car number 18 for me.

The build quality is superb, everything feels tight, the door hinges don't drop when you open the doors, the interior still looks new, there is absolutely no rust on the bodywork, and the paint still shines like new.

Inside is very comfortable, quiet and relaxing to drive. However, there is less leg room in the rear compared with a Jaguar or Vauxhall Omega, and the boot is not that big due to the spare wheel lying flat under the floor. The rear seats do not fold down either.

Wish it would do more miles per gallon, I don't use the air conditioning much because it increases fuel usage. Wish it had a sunroof.

Beautiful car to drive, smooth cruiser, no engine noise or tyre rumble, makes me just want to keep driving it. I feel good driving it, and it still gets admiring looks.

I cannot think of a reason to get rid of this car, I'll be keeping this one for as long as I can.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th March, 2012

9th Mar 2012, 11:58

Do not get rid of it, just keep throwing that easily accessible thing called money at it.

9th Mar 2012, 19:49

Hi, is that the newer E39 body or the one before it? That vintage BMW will use a bit of fuel, just because of the technology at the time. I was checking out the manual of the '96 523i (2.5-litre) and the 2.5-litre 325ti hatch of 2001 (I've got a 316ti), and the hatch is only 15kg lighter, but still more frugal than the 5 with the same size engine.

Run the air con at least 5-10 minutes a month to keep the compressor lubricated. It's far more expensive if it breaks down.

22nd Apr 2014, 16:50

It's the old E34, the square shape. Yeah, the air con does get turned on now and then, however the weather in England is so rubbish that heat is more important.

23rd Apr 2014, 15:09

I hear you on heating. What I usually do is (just to keep the compressor lubricated), once in a while run the heating with the aircon compressor on, which has the effect of dehumidifying the warmed air. Just not when the ambient temperature drops below 5 deg C.

1995 BMW 5 Series 520i SE 2.0 6 cylinder 24v


Possibly the greatest saloon car ever made?


After purchase, I've installed new front pads, thrust arms, front shocks.

Wearing items, nothing else.

General Comments:

These old 5s are superb, this one cost me £200 only and it has needed just £200 to get it driving spot on. It cruises in silent and smooth comfort, and handles like a car half its size.

I have changed the ATF as well as normal service items to prolong its life. My car has now done 168k miles and feels like new. There are no rattles, creaks or noises from the trim or the suspension.

These cars are also very easy to work on for the home mechanic, they needn't be expensive to maintain.

It's not the quickest off the line, but get it above 4k rpm and the VANOS does its thing and it's be no means a slow car.

It really likes high octane (97-99) unleaded too. To think that the basic suspension of this car is so old fashioned is amazing. It rides better than the latest 5 series and handles nearly as well. All electrical items work 100% and the engine sounds and performs like new.

Looking over the history of the car, it has only had 1 exhaust system and some bushes and some brake pipes over its whole life. The last of the granite built BMWs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th September, 2009

18th Sep 2009, 15:00

When I read "the Greatest Saloon" I suddenly became very thirsty - I was quite disappointed to find out the writer was referring to an automobile.