1989 BMW 5 Series 524 TD from France


An unreliable BMW


The 2.4 l turbodiesel engine had to be entirely changed at 120.000 km!

General Comments:

Very disappointing for reliability and equipment.

Top speed is good (192 km/h) but acceleration is very poor.

Excellent road holding.

Good comfort (seats and silence).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 16th March, 2001

30th Nov 2001, 14:29

It is not surprising that the turbo-diesel model has poor acceleration, turbo-diesels of any manufacturer usually do. However, it is very unusual and surprising that the engine did not last. Diesel engines are known for running for hundreds of thousands of miles without even needing an engine rebuild.

1989 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5 from North America


Be prepared to spend money, but it's worth it!


Front suspension rattles whenever I hit a pot hole, speedbump or drive into my driveway.

Dash instruments go on and off (am told the main computer needs replacing costing $1,000).

Had the evaporator for the air conditioning replaced ($1,000), air conditioner only blows cold while the car is moving.

Headlamps go on and off (I am told this may be part of the computer problem).

Had a lower control arm replaced (part of the suspension??).

Small fluid leak.

General Comments:

I LOVE the style of the car! Looks GREAT for being 11 years old. It's the perfect size... not too big & not too small!

My sister-in-law just purchased a brand new 528i & I still like the look of mine better!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th September, 2000

28th Dec 2000, 05:37

I had the same problems with lights going out, experts saying the same thing... computer. I found the problem to be the relays, just needed some WD40 on the pivot points.

15th Jun 2001, 15:06

I had the same problem. My lights go out randomly. I'm getting it all fixed right now though. I have 140,000 miles on mine. It's been well maintained and runs beautifully. I would rather have my 1990 525i than most any new car. And as for the pick-up, I think it is superb. I have an automatic and there is an overdrive button under the accelerator, if you know how to use it right and get accustomed to it you'll be happily surprised to see what the 5 series can do.

7th Nov 2005, 00:32

Light problem very easy to fix. Pull out the lighting circuit board and resolder all the connections. I mentioned my lighting problem to a experienced mechanic while getting a oil change years ago. He just pulled out the board (unplugs easily) resoldered the joints on the board and put it back in. Done! (Under a black plastic cover in the engine bay)

1989 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5 Litre from Australia and New Zealand


Lovely design but frustrating at times


Coolant pipe connection gave way.

Gear change is cumbersome.

Idle has been repaired three times and it still idles strangely.

Headlight lamp gave out.

General Comments:

A lovely car to look at and drive but a little lacking on power and the gear ratios take getting used to.

Sick of BMW service centres treating you like an open wallet.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th June, 2000

31st Aug 2001, 17:08

My friend has just bought a 1990 520i, and the idle is very uneven.

In between extracting money from your wallet, did the BMW service centre say what they did to fix the problem on your car?

1989 BMW 5 Series 525i 2.5 petrol from UK and Ireland


Auto box needed replacing, all electrics giving problems, suspension constantly rattling, coolant problems, noisy camshaft, stiff door handles.

General Comments:

So many people praise this car, yet my experience has been less than satisfactory. It's expensive on fuel and not as quick as I thought it would be, nor as reliable as I thought. A number of oversights in design which surprised - no warning when you leave lights on after turning off ignition (numerous dead batteries as a result). Wouldn't buy another one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd September, 1998

28th Jun 2001, 10:32

I Have the same 89 5 series and am experiencing all the same problems you have. I had to replace the camshaft after four rocker arms shattered and tore it to pieces. About an $1800 job. And that's under mild highway driving conditions. Although I think the look of the car is very nice, the problems that it carries is not worth the time and money. I've also noticed that it's not easy to sell at or even near the blue book value, as there are so many noticeable problems that just keep popping up. Sometimes it seems that this car has a mind of its own and just wants to toy with me. Not a very well put together BMW in my opinion. I wouldn't recommend the first couple models of the E34.

7th Nov 2005, 00:26

People who leave their lights on regularly are asking for it. I walk around the front of my car and check the lights every time I get out. On the other hand my 1991 model 525 does have a warning. I would have thought after the first new battery you would have learned your lesson mate. ;-)