2002 BMW 5 Series E39 520i ES SE M Sport 2.2 petrol straight six from UK and Ireland

Summary:

One of the world's great cars, purchased for buttons!

Faults:

Cruise control not working.

General Comments:

My previous 520 was written off by a clumsy Waberer's lorry driver. I was gutted as it was a mint low mileage dream to own.

I am very happy to report that I have found another in amazing condition with very low mileage to buy with the insurance money!

This is a runout edition with a lot of extras included, such as M sport ride, wheels, steering wheel, gearbox etc, and a lot of SE kit like climate control, adjustable seats and a multi CD player.

As a result it drives and rides more firmly than my previous E39, but is still amazingly comfortable. It looks and feels like a one year old car rather than a thirteen year old one.

Very much anticipating putting many happy miles on this beauty, this time avoiding Waberer's trucks!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th May, 2015

30th May 2015, 20:04

Keep this E39 you have found well as it's already gaining collectible status, despite the low asking prices, which I suspect, will not last for much longer for good examples.

6th Jun 2015, 14:35

Original Poster here -

I've done over 1000 miles in my first week of ownership.

First thoughts are: the ride is much firmer than my old SE's was. It's certainly sportier and probably handles better, but I'd rather have the magic carpet ride.

It is still a sublime mile-eater however, and very comfortable at speed. It looks fine too with its deep blue paintwork and de-chromed look.

Much quicker than its reputation would suggest too, yet still averaging 35 MPG so far.

Looking forward to piling the miles on this lovely exec saloon!

9th Jun 2015, 13:41

Thanks for your comment!

It seems the 2.2 six is not well thought of amongst the BMW owner community, so I'm not sure about the "classic status" thing, but it's certainly a brilliant, brilliant car!

5th Jul 2015, 21:15

Original poster here again.

Just covered 4000 miles in a month. My respect for this car runs very deep indeed. The ride is indeed firmer than my old SE's, but the body control is quite excellent, while still being comfortable. The cabin's a lovely place to be, and the feel of the thing just makes me want to drive as well as I can. It's just so classy.

Very happy, still averaging 34 MPG.

Just had four Hankook Optimo 4S tyres fitted - now worth 1/5 of the car's value :)

I had the AC re-gassed and cleaned too, which has made everything smell and feel fresh as new.

Up early to drive a long way to work tomorrow and looking forward to it.

18th Jul 2015, 15:42

Original poster here. I found the windscreen washer wasn't working. After researching online, I discovered that the motor gunging up is a common occurrence with cars not used too often.

I pulled apart the hose connector near the cabin air filter and blew down it, causing bubbling. Sucking on it bought up some nasty looking algae stuff.

I crumbled a water purification tablet into the reservoir and blew bubbles down the pipe to agitate the contents. Overnight the algae was gone and the washers worked fine.

I will take off the wheel and arch liner when I get some plastic rivets to make sure there's nothing else wrong.

Still a wonderful car. 35 MPG, 4350 miles in six weeks.

19th Jul 2015, 20:00

Good tip on the water purification tablet!

2002 BMW 5 Series SE i 2.2 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

A timeless classic, that outshines many modern rivals

Faults:

Steering wobble at speed; cured by four wheel re-balancing.

Uses a litre of oil every 4000 miles.

General Comments:

I found this E39 in virtually new condition, having been owned by an elderly couple since new.

It drives and rides significantly better than the DS5 hybrid I had as my recent company car. The engine is also quite lovely and charismatic.

I am averaging 31 MPG too, which is pretty excellent for a petrol six.

I love it so much, I am keeping it to use as my work car instead of taking a new company car. Truly one of the world's greatest ever saloon cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2013

13th Oct 2013, 09:25

Original poster here:

Did a thousand company miles last week, from motorways, across busy cities and around fast sweeping Welsh roads. This E39 is amazingly capable. Comfortable, civilized, great handling and communicative; it really does humble many brand new cars for capability. I am even learning to love the boring looks!

I do wish I had sports seats for a bit more support, but nothing at all to complain about; a great car.