1991 BMW 5 Series Reviews

1991 BMW 5 Series 520i from Australia and New Zealand

Model year1991
Year of manufacture1991
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission Automatic
Distance when acquired93000 kilometres
Most recent distance149000 kilometres
Previous carMitsubishi Colt

Summary:

Quality, pecision, style, comfort and luxury

Faults:

The thing that sold me about the car was the fact that it was so clean, pristine and shiny... it still looked like new, unfortunately I was stupid enough to take it directly to the dealers for its first service and BAM! They charged me 3 grand... that stung!

I've had to replace the battery twice since 2004. It turned out that the alarm system was faulty and draining the battery... I wish I'd known this before I spent hundreds of dollars on new batteries!

In 2007, I had to replace my brake pads as it was making a 'grinding metal' noise whenever I hit my breaks.

In 2008, the car started misfiring for some reason. It would stumble on acceleration, as if it were about to stall. It turned out that the Engine E.C.U was faulty and had to be replaced.

In late 2008, all electronics mysteriously stopped working. Thankfully this turned out to be an inexpensive problem. The fusible link (thin piece of metal that connects the battery to the fuse box) snapped and had to be replaced.

The headliner has completely collapsed over the past 5 years. In 2004 it was perfect... strange.

General Comments:

I am very proud to own an e34 5 series. Yes, it is expensive to maintain and run, but it is worth it.

Now, I'm not at all mechanically minded. None of that stuff interests me. All I care about is style and comfort... the e34 satisfies my hunger in that respect.

You simply can't put a price on quality. Most of my friends drive Asian imports and locally made Australian cars... It's funny that a 1991 BMW 5 series looks newer and more impressive than a 2002 Holden Commodore.

I love my car and when I can afford one, I'd buy a brand new one directly from the dealership.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th May, 2009

1991 BMW 5 Series 525iA M50B25 from North America

Model year1991
Year of manufacture1990
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission M50B25 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired210000 miles
Most recent distance213000 miles
Previous carJeep Cherokee

Summary:

Fantastic automobile... but not for the weak of mind/spirit/wallet..

Faults:

To consider the abused state of my Bimmer when purchased... not too much (attesting to the reliability and forgiving nature BMW engineered into the E34).

First order of business: Tune-Up with Oil and Filters Change (Oil, Air and Cabin Air)

Rebuilt Front-End: Thrust Arms, Control Arms, Center Link, Tie-Rods, Sway-Bar Links, Idler Arm, Struts.

Rear Struts.

Intake Boot (between MAF and Throttle Body) : Cracked when purchased causing VERY rough idle.

Several Interior pieces.

Ground down rust and re-primed bottom of sunroof (and replaced seal.

Replaced Driver's door window motor.

...there are still MANY smaller repairs to perform...95% are cosmetic.

General Comments:

I originally bought this vehicle as a weekend project. I like Bimmers and I couldn't beat the price. That said, anyone purchasing a vehicle used (particularly one well out of warranty) should expect repairs. The older and higher mileage the vehicle the more expensive and numerous they are likely to be.

I've read many of the reviews here with pithy complaints about older cars and the repairs needed. A BMW is not just a vehicle; it is a commitment to quality, and as such when things go wrong it's likely to be more expensive a repair than your typical Toyota or Chevrolet. Likewise, it is also very likely to still be running strong when most cars are rusting to nothingness in a scrap-yard somewhere.

Overall, I can honestly say I'm impressed with my E34. It runs very well (especially at license losing speeds), it is the only vehicle I've owned which gets better mileage above 80mph than at 55. Handles very nimbly for a car weighing just shy of two tons loaded. Finally, with a few minor performance modifications (chip, headers, cams and ported-and-polished heads) it truly screams (think M5 style power) without too many compromises in economy and none in reliability.

Now, for the perspective owner of an E34. Owning a BMW is a commitment. It is a much more maintenance intensive car than a Honda. If you wish to have a reliable and safe vehicle, follow a few basic rules:

Use ONLY Full Synthetic Oils and Genuine BMW or Mann Filters every 6 months or 7500 miles.

Use BMW Coolants or Non-Water alternatives (such as Evans NPG+) with annual flush (except the Evans product every 5 years).

And, although you are driving a vehicle which gets relatively good mileage (considering size/weight/power) ; it is not a commuter car. You really need to get out an drive. Let it breathe. Floor it. It was built for the Autobahn (not rush-hour boredom). Drive it hard occasionally or you may end up with reliability issues as well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th August, 2007

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 16 reviews