2003 BMW 5 Series Reviews

2003 BMW 5 Series 520i 2.2 petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2011
Engine and transmission 2.2 petrol Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 3 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 2 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.6 / 10
Distance when acquired68000 kilometres
Most recent distance85000 kilometres
Previous carBMW 3 Series


Don't buy a Singapore import


- Tyre sensor failed.

- ECU reset itself.

- Computer bug caused 2 cylinders to cut off.

- Gear shifting issues.

General Comments:

This one was a Singapore import, and they have a reputation of having a lot more electrical issues, due to being in a humid environment, and causing lot more drama.

Despite all the mentioned issues, the car drove really well when it did. The handling was great. I found body roll was high compared to my 3 Series, but inside felt grande. The seats are very comfy and it's a very slick car to drive with an executive feel to it.

The BMW workshop is generally very expensive, and I spent over 9k on fixing things, but I had a point where I had to just say - this is it. So I sold it and bought a 320i, which is very basic, but it has been a reliable car since.

I will buy another 5 Series in near future, but will be a NZ new or German import. From my experience, these cars are not a daily driver. It's different if you buy new I guess, but it's good to have it in your garage to use it occasionally.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th January, 2014

11th Jan 2014, 04:13

A Japanese import is fine, but I've definitely heard problems with Singapore used import European cars. Your 320i uses the same engine basically as the 520i. Which part of NZ are you living in? If in Auckland, the mechanic I use is great, on the North Shore, ex-BMW South Africa.

20th Jan 2014, 16:53

Hi Mate, I live in Rotorua, but all maintenance is done in Auckland. Would I be able to get details off you for the mechanic? I currently have a 2006 3 Series - back to square one, but being simple, this has been good so far :)

21st Jan 2014, 12:59

No worries - my mechanic's Burger's Motor Works (um B-M-W) 09 444 3965, 95 Wairau Road, Takapuna (it's on the same building right behind Pit Stop when coming from Wairau). Burger usually has lunch from 12-1, so call him to book. Have you posted any reviews on your 2006? I might consider one as my next car - eying rare Japanese manual ones.

27th Jan 2014, 18:52

Thanks heaps. Yes I am about to write up one for 2006. Bought a Lexus V8 LS400 this weekend, and I have been enjoying it so much that I might be taking a break from my BMW. The only thing hurts me is the fuel economy on the Lexus, but my 3 Series is brilliant on gas, especially when you're doing long trips :). Once again - thanks loads for sharing the contact info. I would love to try him out.

27th Jan 2014, 20:04

Also just to let you know - I have just submitted a review for the 2006 320i E90 sedan. Please let me know what you think :). Any questions - happy to answer.

28th Jan 2014, 19:01

Read your other review, have posted a reply. May show up online tomorrow :)

2003 BMW 5 Series 525i from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2012
Most recent year of ownership2013
Engine and transmission Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired199000 miles
Most recent distance210000 miles
Previous carBMW 5 Series




As of today nothing has gone wrong. Previous owner did a great job of holding it and maintaining it for me. :)

The only thing that has gone wrong, if you can call it that, is that the front tires wore out unevenly, so I replaced the entire set.

I am noticing a bit of softness in the steering. So I am thinking it may be time to replace the front thrust bushings. This is a common problem, and I don't consider it a breakdown; more like maintenance.

Actually something has gone wrong. The housing for the exterior mirrors seems to be taking in water and deteriorating. More so on the driver's side. Hasn't affected the mirrors, but just looks ugly. And makes me very, very sad.

General Comments:

This is a very sexy car. The interior is just plain classy. I tinted the windows so it is now super sexy. Every single time I get in the car, I can't help smiling. The leather is very nice and my car has the sports seats, so I'm a happy camper.

It drives like a champ! It's not the fastest Beemer, but I get by nicely. This is the second 525i I've owned; I never should have sold the first. The biggest difference is the road and engine feel. My 2003 is SO smooth. It's like flying a rocket. My 1994 was just raw. I could feel the road and the acceleration. These cars are a pleasures to drive.

Something I've noticed, and I don't know if it's common to all 525's... is a rough second gear. When shifting into second gear, it's never butter smooth. Both my cars were high miles acquisitions, so I'm not sure what it they were like before. Or maybe I just need to learn to shift better. In my 94 it got to the point where sometimes I had to double clutch or use a little bit of force. With the 03 I have to nudge it a bit. But it's only with 2nd gear.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th December, 2013

Average review marks: 8.0 / 10, based on 13 reviews