2004 BMW 5 Series 520i 2.2 from Norway


Expensive nightmare


"General electronics" failure popped up frequently.

Always throwing up some sort of a fault code. In the end it was quite depressing to turn the key - you never knew which fault was going to pop up.

- Seat sensor passenger side, $1400 fix to get the airbag working at 120,000KM.

- Some sort of bushings in the rear, making a really annoying sound at 100,000KM.

- Light module went out, throwing fault codes that had to be replaced. Bushings and wishbones in front, suspension leaking at 122,000KM. All this cost me $4000 for parts and labour.

- "Transmission failure" fault code popping up sometimes, however I never noticed any fault in the transmission, it worked fine.

- Frequent need of wheel alignment.

- Kept blowing an ABS fuse.

- Front headlamp leaking, mist inside. Looks fugly and is an expensive fix.

General Comments:

Such a disappointment and expensive experience. This car has been a pain, I got rid of it after 1 year of ownership and sold it to a local. I talked to him some time ago and he's already spent $5000 on electrical gremlins and other fixes underneath the car. The car always started and drove, but there were so many absurd things that went wrong.

Economy was also very poor, power to economy rating, 1.2L/10km average mixed driving.

This car had been so much looked after, the service book was brimming with services from when the car was new to when I bought it and sold it, but still so many things went wrong in a short period. I guess some of the reasons things went wrong was that the 2004 model is the first one. I think that in the newer models, many electrical glitches have been sorted out.

All in all, this was not worth it at all, the car was not really THAT good to drive, but the comfort was good. Still, it doesn't justify the running costs at all. Got quickly bored of the car; I guess it's because of all the problems and expenses.

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

Review Date: 11th May, 2013

13th May 2013, 07:09

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

Now that's what I call a really forgiving nature. My response would have been, "No f***ing way."

13th Sep 2016, 21:56

One simply cannot afford to bring a German or Swedish (Volvo) used car to the main dealership for repairs. These dealers don't look at three digit numbers, only 4 digits and up prices when it comes to repairing a higher miles car.

5th Dec 2016, 19:40

I'm shocked by the number of electrical problems you have had. The only problem I have had was alternator failure, solved by a cheap brush set bought from EBay. I did wake up one day after a very heavy night of showers to find the boot had opened itself, nightmare. I was very lucky that I didn't start the car, and after a day in the airing cupboard the modules at the bottom of the spare wheel well worked without a problem. I of course have since replaced them higher up. Stupid location.

Matthew Dawood Khaghani

2004 BMW 5 Series 530i from North America




Nothing for now.

General Comments:

I have tried Audi, Volvo, Infiniti, Toyota, Nissan, Pontiac and BMW. Best car by far is the last listed. Everything that this car offers is perfect. Although it is not cheap, it is still well worth the money. If I will change this car one day, then it will only be replaced by a Porsche.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th June, 2009

2004 BMW 5 Series 525i 6 cylinder from North America


Very good


Radio/CD player started hissing all of a sudden. Slight rattle in the dash. Dynamic drive malfunction on a cold day.

Promptly fixed by dealer under warranty.

General Comments:

This is one excellent car. I have one with sports package and 6 speed manual transmission and its really satisfying to drive. Handling is exemplary and power delivery is smooth and power keeps on coming no matter what speed you are at. Gives great gas mileage. I have been regularly getting about 23-23mpg in city and have topped at 34mpg (with a very light foot) on the highway. regularly it gives around 29-30mpg around 75-80mph speeds. There is slight road noise in the car and its not that quiet, but its definitely not annoying. There is a lot of wind noise when I open the sunroof shade.

The CD player is very good. 10 speakers are enough for me.

The cons:-------

1) Seats - very uncomfortable to the point I am thinking of trading in for something else.

2) Clutch is not smooth and is heavy. Gears are notchy and have a lot of travel. The whole car jerks while changing gears from 1-2 and 2-3. Its seems there is no way to avoid that jerk no matter how smoothly you leave of the clutch. I drove an my friends Acura TL with a manual - its clutch was like butter and gear throw was short and precise. But it did not match the handling and power delivery of my car.

3) Very little engine exhaust note when accelerating. Would like to have a little exhaust noise (like in my previous 7 series which had nice V8 burble under acceleration.)

4) Other people tend to speed up when I try to merge into a lane, This did not happen to me before - jealousy, i assume.

Overall, I really like this car. Active steering is excellent. Adaptive headlights are cool. They impress a lot of people when the car is started and the lights move up and down, right and left as if looking for something. Car draws a lot of jealous stares.

Dealer service is great.

Reliability has been good overall. Bmw engines and transmission are very reliable, but I am a little worried about the in car gadgetry after the warranty runs out. They may be really expensive to fix.

IDrive is great once you get used to it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th December, 2007

4th Jan 2008, 02:25

Update at 46000 miles. AC compressor went out. Fortunately it was covered under warranty. I am now thinking of getting an extended warranty to cover it up to 100k for major mechanical problems, which, now seems to be a standard expense of owning a BMW and should always be added while buying it.

I have started to wonder- whether the amount I have paid for the car plus the amount I would pay to keep it in shape, would it be worth the ultimate driving pleasure!

Next time maybe I would go for a Lexus or if I give in to temptation of a BMW, I would make sure I am covered until atleast 100k.