I acquired this car new in April 1999 and have run it every day since. It now has 62,000 miles on the clock and has never missed a beat.
I have deliberately never reset the average fuel consumption function on the computer and, to date, the car has averaged 32.7 mpg - which for a 2.5 (170 bhp), driven reasonably hard in all manner of urban and motorway conditions in the UK and in Europe, I consider excellent.
This is a quick and refined executive car that is every bit as good as the motor writers say it is. The handling and ride quality are, in my experience, way beyond anything else on the market (and I've driven most other execs on the European market).
Faults? Nothing too serious to write home about. There was a mysterious water leak into the passenger compartment 20,000 miles ago which was attributed by the dealer to dodgy door seals, but no other problems after they were replaced under warranty.
The cloth interior is a bit Spartan, but three years on the anthracite colour scheme still looks pretty new - even though it needs hoovering out at least once a fortnight as it shows every speck of dirt.
I recently borrowed a 530i Sport for a trip to France and enjoyed it very much, so that may be the next car for me. But climbing back into the 523 wasn't so different. It's a pleasure to own.