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.
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