1998 BMW 5 Series 523 SE 2.5 from UK and Ireland


Why would you buy anything else?


Brake light bulb popped.

That's it.

Has had a new radiator in past (from service history).

The alarm went off once (I know that's not a fault, but I really am struggling to find things that have gone wrong with the car).

General Comments:

Proper comfortable cruiser, with enough guts to do so all day long. It's not a rocket, as it's only a 2.5 litre engine, but then it's pretty economical for an auto.

Bought the car from a friend in the trade; it has all the old bills, including original bill, full service history, all old MOTs etc.. so it was something that caught my eye.

And you can tell, from the moment you get in the car, it has been looked after.

Engine and gearbox are smooth as silk, quiet with no whines or noises. Interior has no rattles whatsoever, and the leather seats look as good as new.

It has had 7 grands worth of extras from new, with auto climate, the coms pack, M5 wheels and suspension etc etc...

It stands out really well in glacier green, with Alpina splitters.

All de-badged and upgraded to clear lenses on the indicators, which I agree knocks years off the car.

This is a great mile muncher, and it really works well for me when cruising from the north to the south every weekend. Hit the cruise control button, and sit back and relax. Even around town, it's a car to drive and get out of still feeling relaxed.

And not that I'm bothered about it, but it is a nice feeling to see someone in a grotty euro box thing pull up alongside you, and seeing in their face, that they wished they had your car and not their little eco friendly thing.

This car is probably one of the best all rounders you can buy, and for the money they make nowadays... why the hell would you buy a Fiesta (or similar)?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th June, 2010

1998 BMW 5 Series SE 2.5 from UK and Ireland


A proper car


Rear cup holder pops out, and ahhhhh that's it.

General Comments:

Steptronic gear box took a while to get used to, but for around town it is perfect.

Done some serious miles in last year, frequent drives from Kent to Nantes in France.

The BMW makes the journey a pleasure, I look forward to the drive (500 lovely motorway miles)

The car is as solid as a rock, and makes you smile from ear to ear when the kick down appears.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th November, 2008

1998 BMW 5 Series 525 tds 2.5 turbo diesel from Germany


Reliable but dated diesel


Nothing has gone wrong with the car at all during my ownership. Only routine service items such as oil, tires brake pads have been replaced.

Typical rust spots on tailgate (edge near rear window and along bottom of tailgate) for this model which require paint touch-up.

General Comments:

Totally reliable diesel from BMW. Only irritation is the typical rust spots on the tailgate. Ride a little harsh but it is the 'sport' version. Diesel technology old now and incurs increasing environmental taxes because of its relatively high diesel particulate content in the exhaust gases. Performance is OK but not up to modern 2.5 Liter turbo diesels.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th May, 2008

1998 BMW 5 Series 523i 2.5 ltrs from Costa Rica


Perfect driving device


It had a faulty airbag sensor in the passenger side seat when I bought it, will be replaced by the dealer at no cost (at least they said so).

A park light in the main beams was burned out, I bought it at the dealer for $0.90.

Cd's "jump" when you're driving over bumps or not so smooths roads, (and we don't have really smooths roads or highways here in Costa Rica). My car has a Cd stacker in the trunk.

General Comments:

I bought this car just a week ago, it has just 76.000 kms and is in pristine condition. Beautiful tan leather interiors with nogal wood.

It is a very well maintained car, with dealer service records. Previous owner even had all the " circulation permits " of the car since new, this is what we pay every year for tax and insurance.

Now I understand why they say BMW's are the " ultimate driving machine ", in twisty roads you feel like you are in rails. It gains speed very easily, and passing power, for our roads, is more than enough.

The trip to our house in the beach is a 4 hours drive, twisters up and down hill roads and long straights, where ever I'm riding I feel I can keep doing it...

I like the solid feel of the vehicle, when you're inside you don't hear nothing from outside, not even the engine. The air conditioning is amazing, 1st the car doesn't loose power and 2nd, you don't hear noisy fan, just feel the cold.

Everybody have to do with BMW's, in my work, even with persons that I normally don't talk, they just get to you and say: " Oh man, your car is beautiful ", " that's the one I always wanted " etc etc, you know what I mean.

Fuel economy: Highway I got 8 lts/100 kms or 30 mls/gl, in town 14 ltrs/100 kms or 17 mls/gl.

I'm in love with this car, I think I will never buy another make than BMW.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th October, 2007

8th Nov 2012, 15:05

Nice to read your comment, do you still have this car? I'm about to buy the 525TDS 1998 e39 in Costa Rica too. I know the car is extremely comfortable and reliable in many aspects, but I do have my concerns...

Have you ever had any trouble like clutch, brakes, suspension, maybe even a check engine light on?? Have you found the maintenance of this car too expensive?

I'm really into this car, and the one I'm looking at is in pristine condition, but daily maintenance is what makes me think this could be a not so good idea...

Also, I know that this car series wasn't delivered to the US, so maybe this could make the repair parts a little bit harder to find too, and this keeps me thinking about it.

Would be nice to hear about your experience with your car, so I can have an idea of someone else's experience, taking into account that I use my car around 100 kms daily home - work - home, and that would be how I'll use this one too.