1996 BMW 5 Series 528i 2.8 petrol from Australia and New Zealand


The best performance, luxury combination for the dollar


Replaced a rear brake light bulb.

General Comments:

I finely got around to getting a 5 series and I couldn't be more pleased.

The driver and passenger comfort is superb.

The 528 has great performance from the silky smooth six. It can be sluggish off the line until the tacho gets up past three. On the open road tacho sits at around 1800 at 110 KPH while you drive in complete comfort.

Love the transmission, especially with the sport mode option. Very smooth auto-changes.

Good sound system complimented by minimal cabin noise at speed.

The best build quality I've had in a car. Very tight with no rattles yet.

I have just travelled 940 kilometres over a 48 hour period and feel like getting back into the car and doing it all again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th May, 2004

25th Nov 2004, 23:03

My experience with the 3-Series cars is they need more comfortable seats. My wife's 323i (2.5 Vanos) is nice to drive, but after only a few hours is very uncomfortable. Apart from that I can imagine the difference the 2.8 litre engine would make. But I think I'll stick to my 540i A.

16th Mar 2005, 05:46

Just bought a 1997 528i, can't wait to get started...

28th Mar 2006, 18:17

I agree with the original poster - best value for money sports sedan I've had. My 528i SE is a joy to drive, a joy to look at and for me, a very worthwhile step up from the 318i and 325i I had before it.

I love the leather and comfortable seats.

1996 BMW 5 Series 540i V8 from Germany


A great vehicle, the best in its class!!


From the first week I had the car, there were strong vibrations when air-condition was on, later even when air-condition was off. Gear-box was changed, but the fault continued. Two months ago the entire engine has been replaced with a new one. Both gear-box and engine replaced at no costs!

Car wouldn't start - and I had to get a new battery. Next time the car did not start - the entire CPU had to be replaced. All at no cost!

Heater in driver's seat did not operate properly, and was fixed by the dealer.

One aircondition vent was misaligned, and repaired by the dealer.

General Comments:

I owned a Camry 300sei, a Volvo S70 T5, and an Infinity Q45. I did have some troubles with those vehicles, but not as much as I had with my BMW.

Yet the dealer's service was outstanding, and I am deeply impressed by the way he took responsibility on all the faults. Eventually, I only paid 50% of the new battery cost, and nothing else.

As soon as the engine had been replaced the car is a dream: an incredible performer, the electric comfort-seats are the best I have ever experienced, the navigation-system is a wonder and everything is absulotly great! It is also a most elegant car, with its wood and leather trim.

I will definitely buy another BMW in the future - if not for the car, the service I recieved is good enough a reason.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th April, 2004

1996 BMW 5 Series 520i 2.0 petrol injection from Lebanon


Appealing, classy, refined, now a bargain


Electric radiator cooling fan (for A/C) failed, causing A/C to cut out occasionally. Replaced fan.

Car died on highway, diagnosed as failed "computer" (DME = Digital Motor Electronics). Replaced entire unit.

Electric window lift mechanisms for both front windows replaced (frayed steel cables).

Rough idle diagnosed as vacuum leak (vacuum-related part replaced).

Other small annoyances (boot release failed, ashtray broken).

Otherwise generally good reliability considering the high mileage.

General Comments:

Silky smooth 6-cylinder engine, but underpowered for the car; acceptable in city driving.

Refined ride, great handling, comfortable seats (great leather, holding up well). Excellent cabin ergonomics.

Average fuel economy in city driving, good on open roads.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th November, 2003

1996 BMW 5 Series 523se 2.5 petrol from UK and Ireland


This car is very soft and will not last very long without the owner having to spend lots of money


Two rear wheel bearings at about 98,000 miles.

Catalytic converter packed in at 100,000.

Shockers and springs front and rear.

Air conditioning compressor at 83,000.

General Comments:

I only bought this car because I had previously owned an e34. My previous car hardly cost me a penny, and I sold it with 365,000 miles on the clock. It was bullet proof.

The e39 gets fantastic reviews, but beware, this car will be OK under warranty, however, if you get one out of warranty be prepared to spend lots of money. The car is not as tough as the old 5 series, I have already spent £2,000 since last October that's around 6 months.

The car is more refined than the old model and is great to drive.

My advice is don't buy one with 80,000 or above.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st April, 2003

19th Aug 2008, 01:14

BMW's are generally pretty reliable IF preventative maintenance is done. I also have an E34 525i ('92 model non-vanos) and it is tough as nails.However, preventative maintenance on BMWs are depressingly frequent, and experienced BMW owners like me know this fact. But most who have gotten used to Japanese cars tend to ignore this when they own a BMW for the first time. This probably explains some of the horrid reviews you read here about BMWs.

As a rule of thumb, BMW's are very nice cars to drive (better than 99.9% of Japanese cars),but buying one that's over 10 years old to use as a daily driver is just not a good idea for those who adopt the care free motoring attitude.

20th Aug 2008, 04:52

The problem is that an E-39 bought secondhand in England is neglected piece of wreck. Typical U.K. driver only knows to fill up the tank and go...

If you want to buy quality E-39 you have to go to Switzerland or Japan and get it there.

Typical failures of an E-39: 80000 miles - worn rear suspension bushes and shocks, exhaust/cat, radiator, thermostat, aircon not working, pixel missing from dashboard, leaking windscreen and windows, auto gearbox...

24th Apr 2010, 12:58

To be honest, your comments are a bit unfair.

All the bits you've mentioned like bearings, etc are consumable parts that wear out with time and usage, you won't even be able to buy a second hand Rolls Royce that won't need the wheel bearings done at some point.

My e39 has done 175,000 miles, and drives exactly like it was new. Yes, it's had stuff replaced, but if you buy a car it has to be maintained, otherwise buy a push-bike!!!

25th Apr 2010, 05:58

20th Aug 2008, 04:52.

In actual fact UK drivers are more likely to get their cars serviced at manufacturer dealerships compared to their European counterparts.

And the Swiss or Japenese markets for BMW are practically meaningless; outside Germany, the UK is one of BMW's main markets.

Regards, UK 2007 BMW driver.

12th Jul 2011, 05:09

Damn straight, mine has done 271,568 miles!

1996 BMW 5 Series 523i SE 2.5 petrol from UK and Ireland


Good performance and fuel economy, let down by less than helpful dealers and reliability problems


Airbag system fault. Occurred twice during my three year ownership. Rectified under used car warranty.

Heated washer jets failed and had to be replaced (not under warranty).

Boot (trunk) release switch failed. Covered under warranty.

Passenger-side heated mirrors stopped working. Covered under warranty.

The clutch starts juddering when the car is used in heavy traffic for more than 10 minutes.

The damping mechanism on the stereo 'flap' is broken.

General Comments:

Paintwork on this car is holding up very well. When washed and waxed, this car looks almost brand new!

Performance is also very good.

Fuel economy is excellent for such a big engine. I average about 33MPG.

The dealers (especially in London) do not seem to care at all about customer care. I have had many problems with my local dealer, including additional work carried out without asking.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st January, 2003

1996 BMW 5 Series 528 ASE 2.8L from UK and Ireland


Fantastic car!


Airbag Wiring loom failed

Front ball joints worn

Front discs needed replacement (not pads)

Door seal driver side.

General Comments:

This car restimulated my interest in driving cars again. Quick, comfortable and surprisingly economic.

Returned 34MPG on a trip to Scotland recently which for is amazing for it's size.

Still feels like the same car I purchased 4 years ago.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th September, 2002