Fast, smooth, and cheap
Windscreen wiper connector rod fell off.
Seat fabric tore.
Fuel line rusted.
Minor body rust.
Jacking point rusted through.
This car is fantastic value - I only paid £1000 for it, and have spent less than £500 to fix it up.
It drinks fuel, however - you get 25mpg on the motorway, but it can dip below 10mpg around town. Avoid it if you have a jammed commute every day.
The performance is incredible; it's very smooth and sounds amazing. I used to think that automatic gearboxes were for granddads, but I would never go back now. It's much more relaxed when you're just getting from A to B, and when you're in the mood, or next to a GTi at the lights, just flick it into 'sport' mode, and it holds the gear up to the red line - fantastic!
I'd heard a lot about great handling on the 5 series, but without an airfield all you experience is endless grip at both ends. This could be a result of the wider tyres on the Sport version. A second consequence of this is that a new set of tyres will set you back £1000 (they're metric sizes, unfortunately). It feels very assured on all roads, and is great for munching motorway miles.
With 200,000 miles on the clock, it's a little tatty around the edges, but is generally very solid, and shows no sign of giving up the ghost. The full service history showed that it has been well looked after throughout its lifetime.
Be patient when you're looking for one, there are plenty around, but they tend to be sold within a day or two if they're at the right price.
I would thoroughly recommend this car, and will never go back to a small engine again.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd October, 2002