1998 BMW 5 Series 540 Sport (6 Speed) 4.4 from UK and Ireland


The best car BMW have produced


Since I took delivery of the car in March 05 the only problems I have had is a failed water pump, which I changed myself and working from experience only use genuine BMW parts! As its cheaper in the long run. (84 000miles).

A noisy cam follower for a day accompanied by a misfire? Disappeared on its own and up to now is still OK (80 000miles).

Annoying noise from the rear seat.

Resonating noise from the center section of the exhaust. Which I am not too bothered about as I am looking to change the system to a much less restricted version with sport catalytic converters.

General Comments:

When I purchased the car, I had a performance chip upgrade fitted to it which gave it another 25hp, and also removed that annoying 155mph speed limiter too. It now accelerates to 62mph in under 6 seconds and carries on to a top speed of I don't know what as it will go off the clock.

The handling is superb as it is also fitted with a set of 18" BBS split rims 245/45 front and 275/35 rears, which make all the difference.

It is fitted with a full M5 body kit and Schnitzer mirrors.

The interior is full leather sport trim, which is very comfortable and very supportive. And in my opinion this model BMW (E39) is the best they have produced to date, and that includes the latest model.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2006

1998 BMW 5 Series 523i SE 2.5 petrol from UK and Ireland


This car is quite simply the mutt's nads


Some pixels on the digital temperature display fail to light intermittently.

There was a split in the screen washer fluid line which had been bodge-repaired; the dealer repaired it properly for me as soon as I spotted it.

Rear cup-holders have jammed.

General Comments:

I am so pleased to have a BMW again. I last drove a collection of 3-series in the early 1990s and then had two Volvos in succession, but this is a welcome return to the BMW fold. The 523 is a seriously comfortable, good-looking, practical and relatively economic family car. I got this one at 6 years old and it looks and feels like a much younger car, having been well maintained by the previous owner and having a full BMW service history.

It goes quickly, the leather seats are very comfortable, and easy to keep clean, and with the heated seats option there is no need necessarily to use the very powerful climate control except to give a quick burst of heat to the interior on a cold day. I'm getting about 30 miles to the gallon.

What more can I say? The car has given me 1,200 miles of very pleasurable motoring since I got it 2 months ago, in towns, on motorways and down country lanes, and with a full family load as well as with just me on board. I love it. Not for nothing was the E39 model 5-series thought of as the best saloon car in the world. Pity its successor is so plug-ugly. What will I do when it is finally time to replace this one?

My only criticism is that the cup-holders are rubbish, a terrible afterthought by BMW, for the American market, or so I understand, but I knew they would be before I got the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th January, 2005

28th Oct 2005, 18:15

I had the same problem with the digital temperature display and the rear cup holders in my 523i, it seems these are common problems that occure in the 5 series.

Besides that, this car is one of the best driving experience you can get.

7th Jun 2006, 15:16

How does the E39 compare with the Volvo 850 in terms of comfort and ride smoothness?

18th Jul 2006, 00:31

I think the best way I can draw a comparison between the E39 and the Volvo 850 is that my daughter has never once suffered from car-sickness in the 18 months I have had the E39, whereas it was a constant problem with the Volvo. I thought it was her! Funnily enough we were talking about the difference she has experienced only the other day.

Driving it is just completely different as well of course, and the serious wind noise problem of the 850 at speed is entirely absent.

24th Oct 2008, 14:48

It was interesting to read of the comments on the 5-series. I have just bought, in August 2008, a 1998 523i SE (M-set) with 130k on the clock from its original owner from new, a senior mechanic at a local BMW dealership (Harry Fairbairn, Glasgow). It was the particular model I had wanted for years, with the full spec, lowered suspension, blah, blah, blah, etc. Even with 130k on the clock, it drives like a dream and has a lot of 'lift-off' when required. The 1998 model was, for me, the business, in terms of power, grace and style. Used to be a 3-series man, but knew this was the car for me. It took ages to find a 1998 that ticked all the boxes but, as these things go, it was just luck that I met the mechanic at the dealership just before he was going to ring round a few old customers. Best buy I have ever had.