2001 BMW 5 Series 520i SE 2.2 petrol from UK and Ireland




Oil leaks, ABS sensors, driveshaft whine, console display missing pixels, plus the usual wear and tear.

Rust starting at the wheel arches, but it is over 20 years old!

General Comments:

Loved this car - 2001 metallic black 520i SE - big, comfortable and reliable.

SE model has a nice interior, all electrics and comfy seats.

The car was amazing to drive - very smooth, could sit on the motorway for hours and still feel good.

2.2 petrol automatic had OK performance, not that economical though at around 30 mpg at best.

They are expensive to run, but worth it in my opinion; I sold mine to a BMW enthusiast last year, it needed some work but was way too good to scrap. This was peak BMW in my opinion (late 1990s/early 2000s).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th April, 2024

9th Apr 2024, 22:05

That would be an E39 body? In that case, I feel that is the most perfect modern car. The best balance of handling, comfort, build quality... and looks. BMW went downhill after that, as though they made it mandatory for the design team to be on some pretty strong drugs.

2001 BMW 5 Series 530i M-Sport Sedan 3.0L from Botswana


The best kept secret. Once you try one, you are hooked


I ordered this car from Japan through a dealer that I have dealt with for personal use vehicles over the past 7 years. He has always included me in the selection process, so when I received it in Feb 2014 (on Valentine's Day!), I already had an idea of how it looked. I had expected that it would be in near perfect condition, but was disappointed that the radiator was leaky and it looked like it had previously had a poor attempt at a mend job done.

I was wary of the radiator problems BMWs are notorious for, so I immediately bought a brand new one and had it fitted. After that was fixed the mechanic noticed that some of my water pipes were also leaky. But not to a detrimental extent. I can manage with filling up once or twice a week. Each time with about 500 ml of water/coolant. This will have to continue until I raise enough money to do a complete cooling system overhaul.

General Comments:

Other than the minor problem above, this car is mind blowing each time I drive it. It has been 5 months and 5000 km later and I still haven't gotten used to the power and crisp driving response of the engine and gears. I always out-accelerate cars and actually end up with nobody willing to play with me!

The 3.0 liter is the sweet spot of performance, reliability, comfort, prestige, good looks (mine is an M-Sport), fuel efficiency (especially for a 3.0), and sheer driving pleasure (that statement is no crock).

Let me end by saying: I love this car so much... I have recently ordered and received a 2nd one (a non-M Sport) for my wife! His and Hers. And she is more than satisfied. I'm not obsessed. Just satisfied.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st July, 2016

2001 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0 petrol from UK and Ireland


Good car, but needs a lot of TLC


A lot of suspension parts needed replacing - front and rear arms, droplinks.

Brake discs kept distorting - went through four sets in 10k miles.

Cam cover gasket leaked and had to be replaced.

Driver's electric seat switch failed.

Front brake calipers failed (one completely went on the road).

Despite a full alignment and suspension check, uneven tyre wear meant premature replacement of the rears.

Exhaust was quite unrefined at medium to high revs - diagnosis was failing baffles (new exhaust required to fix this at over a grand - didn't bother).

Inlet cam sensor replaced.

New clutch and dual mass flywheel.

General Comments:

I needed an inexpensive workhorse that was comfortable and economical on long runs, so I sold my E39 M5 and got the 530i. Expectation was that running cost would be somewhat lower, but I think it would have been cheaper to have kept the M5!

The 530i was essentially a fine car, but I bought it just in time to get a lot of the usual BMW niggles at around 10 years old. This despite a good maintenance record.

If you get many of these problems, the car is expensive to run, not to mention frustrating. I got on top of most of them and the car had a lot of life left in it, but I'd just lost patience with it.

Performance is strong and is married to very good fuel economy.

If aligned just right, the chassis is very good with strong grip and comfortable ride on 17 inch wheels. Steering is excellent - possibly the car's best feature.

Low wind and road noise, but a worn exhaust meant a drone from the engine at motorway speeds - spoilt the refinement of the car. Eventually I judged the cost of restoring the car to what I wanted it to be was too great. A pity, but with old BMWs you take your chances.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th December, 2015

30th Dec 2015, 22:27

A hell of a lot of problems for such a mileage.