1997 BMW 5 Series 2.5 petrol from Kenya


The best car in the real world? Definitely


Clutch was worn out when I bought it.

Prop shaft coupling was shot.

Headlight and brake light bulbs blew.

The steering rack is leaking rather badly.

Rubber pipes from the windscreen washer reservoir have split, leaving me with no wash/wipe action.

General Comments:

I have always loved beemer,s and when this one- owner example came up for sale, I quickly offloaded my diesel Toyota and snapped it up.

I have owned ten cars in five years, but this beemer is in a class of its own: it is supremely agile, extremely comfortable and with 170 bhp on tap, fast enough to see off most cars on our roads. Those it can't match in a straight line it leaves for dead on the twisties.

The m52 straight six engine feels a bit gutless at low revs, but from 4000 revs onwards it pulls hard and sounds great. The Vanos variable valve timing also helps, and you can toodle around town at 2k revs in 4th when you need to.

The manual gearbox is precise and a joy to use, but the clutch action is a bit jerky.

The grey cloth seats are starting to fray, but are comfortable and very adjustable (I'm 6 "3 and I fit into the car perfectly). This car is very spacious all round.

I love the dashboard design, and the quality on all the controls are top notch and squeak free. Mine comes with carbon fibre effect trim, which looks great.

The car is loaded with extras like parking sensors, cruise control, steering wheel stereo controls, heated electric mirrors etc.

The car has been reliable so far, and has never let me down, and everything including the dual climate control still works.

On the down side it doesn't exactly sip fuel and parts are pricey. It could also do with a bit more poke.

Overall it's the best car I have ever owned, and I'm planning to upgrade to a newer and gruntier 525i when I can afford it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd July, 2008

29th Jul 2008, 13:15

You can fix the broken washer pipes quite easily. basically trim one end down and pull one of the rubber ends over the part you trimmed, and rap some tape around. u'l see what I mean when you look at it. im not good at explaining things.

I've had a 97' 3 series for a while now, has 103k on it. recently changed the air filter which seems to have helped the fuel consumption a lot.

12th Aug 2008, 07:30

Cheers mate I will give it a try.

21st Aug 2008, 04:18

Best car in the world???

1997 BMW 5 Series 540i 6 speed 4.4L from North America


Just feels great


Leaking expansion tank for rad fluid.

Engine light - O2 sensors.

General Comments:

Great car with excellent performance. 11 years old and still better to drive than 90% of what's out there now.

Kind of leery about repairs after owning a Honda, but none so far.

Leak in expansion tank, but no overheating.

Extremely fast on the highway.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th June, 2008

1997 BMW 5 Series Exclusive 2.8 petrol from South Africa


Excellent car


Replace a few bulbs.

Xenon globe failed, expensive to replace.

Replaced crank sensor.

Back left electric window failed.

Drivers seat wears prematurely.

General Comments:

Best car I have ever driven. Great ride, comfort and handling. Comfortable seats. Solid manufacturing, great styling, handling. Only bad thing is the re-sale value, very poor. Don't know why, cause it is a fantastic car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th May, 2008

1997 BMW 5 Series 540i 4.4 from North America


Great cars but be prepared to pay the price in continual problems and expense that comes with them


There are many areas of these cars that see continual failure of the same parts over and over, as a result of poor design and/or materials.

Window actuators, radiators and all other plastic components in the cooling system, various sensors, ABS sensors, fuel senders, MID and cluster LEDs, etc., etc. I don't mind too much fixing things that break, but it gets tiresome replacing the same parts over again, and in multiple cars across model years, with parts that you can see have not been modified to correct the source of the problem.

General Comments:

I've had 3 E39s of various model years, and they've all been the same. Talk to long-time owners and we'll all say the same thing - Great cars, but be prepared to pay the price in continual problems and expense that come with the territory.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 1st April, 2008