1997 BMW 5 Series Reviews - Page 6 of 7

1997 BMW 5 Series 540I 4.4L V8 from North America

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership1996
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 4.4L V8 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired75000 miles
Most recent distance91000 miles
Previous carBMW Camry XLE

Summary:

The Ultimate Driving Machine

Faults:

Radiator neck broke at 76K this is a common issue on this model. Some rough idling and sporadic stalling, but this was cured by having the injectors cleaned and serviced by my local luxury service specialist.

General Comments:

This is a great car! I had never driven a 540I before getting mine. The power is awesome, the handling is great, and the braking is sufficient. The power, multi-adjustable seats are the best I have ever experienced. Outside of the cost to service the car, it is truly one of BMW's ultimate driving machines.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2006

1997 BMW 5 Series 528i 2.8L from North America

Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.8L Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.6 / 10
Distance when acquired24000 miles
Most recent distance71000 miles
Previous carToyota Supra

Summary:

Where the Sports Car meets the Luxury Road

Faults:

Replaced couple light bulbs.

Replaced alternator at 45,000 miles (under warranty)

That is it!

General Comments:

Best car I have ever driven. I will drive nothing else again... Solid manufacturing, great styling, handling. I have gotten couple of speeding tickets however since it is so smooth at high speeds.

I have driven the automatic on the 520s series and it felt underpowered. I prefer the stick.

I also drive in snow a lot in Wisconsin and can be a challenge. Recommend snow tires in the winter.

I am an avid golfer and trunk space is limited. No more than 2 golf bags realistically.

If you want sports with luxury at a reasonable price, this car is it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st July, 2003

29th Jan 2006, 15:24

I agree with the writer, and have the same car, now with about 105,000 miles. It combines tremendous sportiness and a luxury ride, without giving up any handling characteristics. As far as repairs, only the usual maintenance, with the exception of replacing two wheel bearings.

An additional benefit - it gets great gas mileage. On the highway - over 30 mpg. Near home - around 27. Not bad given the performance. I have a 5 speed, as well.

1997 BMW 5 Series 528i 2.8 petrol from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.8 petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired33750 miles
Most recent distance38500 miles
Previous carSAAB 9000

Summary:

The E39 5-series is as exciting as it's described in the press, and now a bargain too

Faults:

Left rear brake light bulb blew.

Er, that's it so far.

Apart from that, the cabin does have a few creaks, which are annoying, since it's otherwise very well put together and not really justified given the very low mileage.

Otherwise lovely cream leather seats are also wearing prematurely, drivers seat in particular, but as this has been the case on all E39's I've seen it may just be a specific BMW trait.

It generally doesn't seem quite as bulletproof as the Saabs and VW's I've had before, but there have been no problems so far, although that IS only 3 months.

General Comments:

I love this car. The E39 5-series is a fantastic car, and now also great value.

Performance is good, if not astonishing, from the 2.8 litre straight six, but it is very refined indeed and sounds fantastic.

Motorway cruising is second to none, with a very quiet engine and plenty of poke for overtaking etc., at UK legal speeds, anyway.

Handling is excellent, although my example needs new tyres soon, so it tramlines a bit. The worn tyres make for excellent fun on wet roundabouts though - traction control off, a bootful in 2nd and the tail comes out nicely.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th May, 2003

1997 BMW 5 Series 523i 2.5 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2000
Engine and transmission 2.5 Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired14 miles
Most recent distance41300 miles
Previous carFord Mondeo

Summary:

Disgusted

Faults:

Air bags.

Air conditioning.

Locking system.

Block & pistons.

Callipers.

Discs & pads.

Steering shaking.

Car rattling with braking.

General Comments:

No support or back up from BMW.

At the moment I am trying to prove that there is a manufacturing fault.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th June, 2000

9th Jan 2001, 12:24

Follow-on from Disgusted Report!

Dear Ahmed

Thank you for your email.

After three years of trying to prove that there is something wrong with the car we have so far reached:

* The AA report has stated that my car is dangerous and unsafe to drive.

* My insurance Company said that the car was not insured due to the report, indeed should there have been an accident - and had their investigator found these faults - the insurance would have been null-and-void!

* An inspection was carried out on Sewell BMW premises with the suits of Bracknell in June, and they admitted that the car was unsafe to drive.

* The car has remained there ever since, with myself driving round in a courtesy car.

* BMW made a ridiculously low offer of compensation - which we refused.

* On the 19th January 2001 an investigator will be stripping down the car at Bracknell, to find out the causes of the problems.

* I know how frustrating this must be for you, BMW bully their way through - and no-one believe they can act in this manner!

* Please put your comments on the Web, stating that anyone having the same problems to forward them onto myself.

* I shall keep you updated on any development and place this reply on the website.

Thankyou

Michael Stone (info@hytex.co.uk)

16th Mar 2001, 09:17

There is a manufacturing fault with engines of your type which BMW have admitted to me off the record. The all-aluminium engine in the 523i, 323i, 328i and 528i dissolves in sulphric UK petrol and gets completely knackered. A lot of BMWs have this problem, a collegues 523i had two new engines in the first 3 years of its life, several wheel bearings, a new rear axle etc etc etc.

16th Apr 2001, 11:42

Off the record?! Excuse me?

This is a widely known problem throughout the UK, and has been known for over a year and a half now. It was even on Watchdog!

All BMW dealers are aware of it, and if you have one of the possibly affected engines (2.0, 2.3 and 2.8 (single vanos) manufactured between 1995 - 1997) BMW will carry out a compression check free of charge to see if the engine is faulty or not. If it is, they will replace the engine FREE OF CHARGE with a brand new engine, providing that the original has no more than a 100k miles.

Please get your facts straight.

11th Aug 2003, 14:13

I have a 1996 520i and my engine overheated when I drove about 10 miles, this resulted in a new engine on warranty. Now after 33,000 miles I have an engine that overheats after 5 miles???

If you know anything e-mail davidalangiles@yahoo.co.uk.

21st Jul 2010, 21:53

I purchased a 1997 BMW 540i with 100,000 miles. The first problem from day one was a mass flow sensor. I had it repaired, and less than three days later I had trans problem out of nowhere. The alert indicated transmission fail safe program. There was no evidence prior that the trans had issues. PLEASE OFFER SOME ADVICE!

Average review marks: 7.6 / 10, based on 22 reviews