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


Bought carefully, the best used executive you can get


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.


Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd November, 2011

2002 BMW 5 Series 2.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Cheap to buy second hand, but expensive to run, and unreliable


Engine breather valve replaced due to oil usage and white smoke from the exhaust.

New pistons rings as oil usage still evident (1 litre per 400 miles).

Complete engine rebuild, as oil usage is still a problem after the above steps.

General Comments:

Good car for long journeys.

I have owned or had access to three 5 series of this model, and they all have had engine trouble starting at 80,000 miles.

Expect valves or piston rings to go, and it's going to cost over 1500 euro to fix.

They are not the bulletproof car everyone says.

Fixing them is difficult due to the amount of extra kit BMW load them with.

Petrol consumption is an average of 23mpg.

The 2.2 litre engine is not strong enough for weight of car.

The 3.0 litre petrol is a better match for the weight of the car.

The automatic transmission in most of them is not smooth, but may be designed to feel more sporty.

You can actually drive it smoother by selecting the gears yourself.

1st gear is particularly short.

I have owned 5 automatics, and this is the worst.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 25th September, 2011

4th Dec 2011, 10:36

Sorry, but do not agree. The experience I have had, is that I get medium repairs. It is not bulletproof, but it is not an Alfa Romeo either...

And I have the 2.0 150 bhp model, and I can agree the engine is way too small.. but have not been running into the same problems as you are.