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.

2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0 inline six from North America

Summary:

A love hate relationship

Faults:

Hood release cable broke. At this time I cannot open the hood. The parts are on their way.

The rear door vapor barriers have failed and the car leaks quite bad into the back floor.

Replaced alternator due to squeak.

Replaced water pump, fan and fan clutch. All of these were replaced as preventive maintenance.

General Comments:

I have a love-hate relationship with this car. It is a fantastic driving car that I really love! At the same time, it is a money pit that so far has already cost me over $1,000, and I have done all the work myself. I have put a lot of money and time into this car already, and it had fantastic maintenance history. The previous owner had spent nearly $10,000 in repairs over the 10 years he owned it.

There is always something broken that needs fixed, but my gosh I have never driven a better feeling car! It looks fantastic, and even as a 12 year old car, I get compliments quite often.

Before you buy one of these used, make sure you have a pre-purchase inspection done. Also, if you are unable to do most repairs yourself, you need to have deep pockets! At the shop, this car will cost a fortune to keep on the road.

This car is exceptionally smooth on the road and very quiet inside. The stereo is not great by any means, but does OK.

Overall, I'm not sure if I would buy this car again or not. Time will tell. I'm hoping that after repairing a lot of issues within the next few weeks, it will be relatively problem free.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd May, 2013

2002 BMW 5 Series 530i 3.0 litre petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

Bought carefully, the best used executive you can get

Faults:

These cars are notorious for having weak cooling systems, and mine is no exception. Made of plastic, the expansion tank often cracks and needs to be welded together or preferably replaced.

Then I replaced the water pump.

Then the front headlight went out.

Then the reversing light went.

After having the radiator replaced, it now tells me to check the coolant quite often, and is a bit annoying.

Then it had a rough idle one morning, and I suspect it needs a new coil pack. Hmmm.

I've had it for a year, and at the current mileage you would expect it to need a few things doing. Frankly, it makes me nervous.

Oh, sorry forgot! The fan blower resistor is also in need of replacement as it's now blowing on full the whole time.

These are not big items, but when they come all at once, you start to question the logic of buying a 10 year old luxury car...

General Comments:

Well, it's an e39. That's almost all that needs to be said. The most awarded and favourite 5 series of all time. Many described this model as "the best car in the world", and still do. Journalists and owner reviews are close to unanimous in their praise for this car, and I find it difficult to argue with them.

I bought the car with 77,000kms on it, and in pristine condition. It has now done 86,000kms and I have loved every minute in it. It's comfortable, secure on the road, quiet and has a good turn of speed. Oh, and everyone thinks it's worth 5 times what I paid if that matters to you.

So, in summary I've loved this car. I turn to look at it when I walk away, it does not have one rattle or squeak, has never failed me, is so serene and comfortable to drive long distances in, and most importantly, makes me feel great about heading off somewhere (anywhere) in it. My advice is to proceed with caution on these cars. Buy the best you can get, with a great history, and preferably one that has had the above issues sorted.

Enjoy!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd November, 2011