Water-pump needed replacing when I bought it - car dealer got it done. Unfortunately he took it to a Ford dealer and they replaced the faulty pump with another faulty one, and put the radiator hose back in the wrong way. This resulted in a tear developing in the pipe, which caused the car to suddenly dump its coolant on the way home one day. I took it to the local BMW service centre and got a bill of NZ$487 for the repairs. I have gotten a sizable reimbursement from Ford for the trouble!
Apparently quite a few E34 5 series have water-pump problems, but they are not expensive parts to replace - generally!
The glovebox was very loose - but that was easily repaired.
The front seats are getting a few tears in them that I'll have to sort out.
The idle is very rough - another common problem with the E34 - but as this does not affect performance, I'm ignoring it.
I was a little worried that this car might be a little underpowered when I first looked at it. It does weigh 1530kg and a 2.5 litre engine is not huge - but I was very wrong! It is not a sports car - but you can make it feel like one! If you have the switchable auto, putting it in sports makes for some serious fun. NZ isn't the best place to go fast - not just because of our 100kph speed limit - but also because the roads are generally uneven and twisty. However when I was on a nice straight, I took it to 180kph easy before running out of room. At 160 I kicked it down again and it responded immediately. I think it would get to 220kph easily - and in NZ you don't need more than that.
There is also plenty of power for overtaking, and the engine sounds beautiful screaming towards the red line.
It handles like a car half its size, and the steering feels very alert.
It is not very cheap to run - unless you drive it on the motorway all the time - and the servicing is not cheap either if you go to BMW (which I think is worth it).
There is not a lot of leg room in the back seat for a car this size - but it is all very comfortable.
My last car was a BMW 320i, and it was the car that really got me stuck on BMWs. This 5 Series has certainly consolidated my opinion that BMW's are possibly the best cars in the world, and I can't really imagine driving a Japanese car again!
They are not expensive to buy nowadays, and they are very reliable cars that will do twice as many miles as Japanese cars half their age!
You can drive them like a boy racer or like an old gentlemen, and it will oblige you either way. All in all - an ultimate driving machine!