1988 BMW 5 Series 525 SE from UK and Ireland


Beware - There are good ones and there are really bad ones. Choose carefully


Speedo head stopped working. So I lost vital info such as how fast I was going, how much fuel I had and (importantly) what temperature the engine was running at. Also, I was unable to view any warning messages like oil low, water low etc.. Replacing the offending part was not too expensive as I shopped around a few non-dealer parts dealers. However, the problem didn't go away and ultimately lead to the demise of the vehicle.

General Comments:

So, the engine blew. Had a new second hand engine fitted. It turned out that the radiator had a block and the coolant could not flow around the engine properly. I would have corrected this if the speedo head had worked. I never drove the car again.

A beautiful looking car. Not an outstanding performer, but looked good standing still, though the road handling was the highlight.

Advice - find one, take it for a test drive, forget the badge, buy a SAAB 9000 CSE 2.3 Turbo, as it puts the Beemer to shame.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd March, 2001

28th Mar 2004, 13:38

Just sold my '88 525i for $2,000.00 Never had ANYTHING go wrong with it in the 6 years I owned it. With proper maintenance I flipped the Odometer twice;I drive 120 miles to work and back every day (Try that with a SAAB!)

3rd Apr 2007, 17:06

The reviewer shouldve fixed the problem when it appeared, but by ignoring it he/she ruined a perfectly good car. And now he/she suggests to get a different brand of car.Hmmmm, so if he/she had the same issue with the SAAB the engine wouldn't blew?Interesting logic. Is the reviewer a woman?

4th Apr 2007, 03:11

I agree with the above comments. I have owned a SAAB 9000turbo and a 5-series BMW. While the SAAB was a good car in many ways it is simply not in the same league as the BMW in terms of reliability/fit and finish.

I went through 3 gearboxes, 2 turbos, 2 head gaskets, a steering rack, various parts of the trim disintegrating and other grelims with the SAAB. Nothing to report so far on the 5-series.

18th Aug 2009, 01:15

SAAB vs. BMW? There is no comparison! I have owned my 83 528e for a year now, and I have done the routine care. I was rear ended at 70kms per hr, the other car a Toyota or something like that written off right then and there. I drove home whilst the other car bled coolant on the road. I have driven through harsh snow storms and gotten through a lot of tight spots that any other car would've failed. I have owned many makes of cars from an Austin to Ford and Isuzu (with Lotus handling), and nothing compares to BMW. When they state "The Ultimate driving machine" they aren't kidding. My e28 still runs strong with a cracked head, now for close to 4 months! I will be buying another BMW no doubt, a 1988 535i.

1988 BMW 5 Series 530 SE 3.0i petrol from UK and Ireland


New clutch at 82k.

General Comments:

Rather frustrated at the BMW dealer who charged for a new exhaust manifold due to difficulty in removing the exhaust. £700 to replace a clutch?

Apart from that has proved reliable. The performance is reasonable at higher revs but can feel rather sluggish at times

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd November, 1997