1999 BMW 5 Series 520i 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland




There were a few minor faults present when I took ownership (4-5weeks ago) which were:

Leaking front headlights - replaced from ebay with angel halos for €270.00

Broken rear cup holder - replaced from ebay €30.00

Intermittent fault on stereo - repaired, loose connection in fusebox mounted in glovebox

Dirt on leather - valetted and now pristine.

Additionally there is another issue with the car. The autobox works fine in all modes for about 30 minutes, then it seems to start to stick in third (or it could be possibly jumping to fourth - it's hard to tell sometimes). Anyway, the net result is it feels like a manual car that's been put into too high a gear for the speed. The work-a-round seems to be to give it a bit more welly when it baulks, it then goes into the right gear and powers away, no problem. If you do not follow this procedure though, it eventually goes into emergency mode, and performance and economy go out the window. It does not seem to be a mechanical fault, as it works fine for about 30 minutes or so, shorter if you drive hard from the get-go.

I have done some reading up on the issue on the net, and it does not appear to be very common. Initial things recommended to me were to have the complete transmission oil changed out, and also possibly check with BMW for updated software for the autobox. These two options are currently being investigated, and I will report back when I get an update.

Aside from the autobox issue, this car is a beauty. It has some minor stone chips to the front, which will soon be repaired.

General Comments:

A beautiful cruiser if not a rocket on the back roads. Although the sport mode or using steptronic does allow me to open it up a bit, but I'm never going to be racing an r-type down the countryside. This is more of a 'get you there in perfect comfort' type of car, and this it does with ease.

Engine start up is faultless every time, interior beige leather is beautiful now it's be restored. Every other mechanical items works a dream. There is a feel of quality and tightness to the car.

I had looked at '99 530 (diesel) and it was more powerful, however when you take into consideration the fact that 1 years road tax on a 3ltr versus a 2ltr is almost 700€ more, I don't think the minor improvement in fuel economy makes the the diesel a better choice. The petrol is definitely quieter and more refined.

I have added the following parts since purchase:

Clear Lens front Halo Lights with Xenon, ala M5 (€270 from ebay)

Black/Red Rear Light Cluster, ala M5 (€140 from ebay)

Clear Side Repeater Lights and Orange Lamps (€40 from ebay)

Clear/Black Front Fog Lights - to replace broken (€70 from ebay)

Rear Cup Holder Assembly (€30 from ebay)

Complete M5 Badge/Decal Set - Front Grille Badge, Rear Tailgate Badge, Side Moulding Badge (x2) - (30.00 from ebay)

I am currently looking at M5 Alloys c/w Tyres on ebay, which are retailing for €280 plus shipping, and they do look like they'd finish it off nicely on the exterior, but I still have to convince the wife!

It's Deep Metallic Burgundy (Wine) coloured with beige leather and wood trim c/w M5 three-spoke black leather steering wheel.

At €9000.00 to buy it is pure luxury for little money.

I hope to get about two years from it and would definitely look at another one then, possibly an 02-03 model, but not the new type as I've read they give more trouble.

Overall, a very special car - a joy to start each morning.






Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd July, 2007

17th Sep 2008, 14:08

Hi Gary.

Im just about to buy a 99 520i BMW (Burgundy) as well. It sounds very like yours and I was looking to find out some history on it... just wondering have you still got yours as of now... Sep 08!?

My email is goneill81@hotmail.com and I would appreciate any info.

Cheers mate.

6th Dec 2010, 14:09

520 ISE estate auto with manual override. Superb car, very frugal and fast, not a sound to be heard. Best £1500 I have EVER spent.

23rd Apr 2011, 02:32

Gary (and others), about the gearbox issue...

Don't know if you sorted it out or if you still have the car, but here is a view on a similar, if not the same, problem.


It's a Greek BMW forum.

The post is about the Steptronic ZF5ΗP24 gearbox.

Basically he was having issues with it "stuttering" in 1st and R. Hesitance in changing (as you say) and the like...

Problem was crack in the aluminum cap/plaque shown, system loses hydraulic pressure, causing the problems.

ZF techy was reluctant to repair (he preferred to sell a new unit of 2500 euro), but in the end it was OK. Cap/plaque cost 150 euro + tranny fluid and work came out to 600 euro.

Sorry about the long post.

Cheers, Nikos.

1999 BMW 5 Series 520i SE 2.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


I can never fault a BMW; I own two of them


My seat belts are old now, and they have lost their original shape. They would need changing in order to pass its MOT.

General Comments:

This car handles very well on the motorway. It is not the fastest car on the planet, but it's a very beautiful drive.

I filled up with £70.00 fuel and got 450 miles, which I would say is not bad.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th May, 2007

12th Feb 2008, 17:01

Yeah your gas is much cheaper - it's £5stg per gallon here.

12th May 2008, 10:30

Yes, your petrol is about a third of the price!

22nd Aug 2008, 20:33

But it's soon going to be very expensive. Say goodbye to the SUVs.

5th Aug 2022, 14:38

I wonder what the person that left this 2008 comment would think now about fuel prices ... ;)