Think I'm gonna get a 5 series. Volume 1 - Blue {P}

***** This thread is now closed, please CLICK HERE to go to Volume 2 and continue discussion there *****

Well, after lots od looking, I have finally got my heart set on an old style 5 series as my replacement car.

Absoloutely nothing else will do, and I've found the one that I want, it's a 2001 X Reg 525i SE Auto. Euipped with Leather, TV, Sat Nav etc.

The car has full BMW history and is reprtedly in very good condition.

Scren price is £6,900 nd I've been offered £5,800 for y Focus TDCi Sport.

I know it's a much bigger cost to hange than I originally wanted, but the car is so nice I'm afraid my heart is ruling my head.

Can anyone tell me whu I shouldn't buy this car?

And as a side note, does anyone want my Focus TDCi Sport for £6,500? It's a snp when you compare it to others on Autotrader!

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - hillman
Sorry, Blue.

This is a very old chesnut, and the mods are welcome to cut me out, but that make of car, and a 5 especially, makes one very impatient and bad mannered. Why don't you go for something more cultured and civilised ?
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
No way, I LOVE the look of the car! It's the older more civilised bodystyle as it happens, with walnut dashboard and full black leather, not the sports model with "get outta my way" styling, although that is also on my list... :-)

If I don't get the 5, then the only other cars on the list are C-Class (no where near as well specced for the money) or 3 series with decent size engine, but that has none of the civilness of a nice 5!

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - MichaelR
Do it, do it, do it, do it then do it again.

Absolutely fantastic cars, you will LOVE it. IMHO there isnt another car this side of £20,000 that is better than the E39 5 Series at what it does.

If only I was less fussy like you, I'd have one by now, I'm still looking for my manual box fitted 528i/530i Sport :)

Provided you do not underestimate running costs and potential big bills, you'll love it.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Pugugly {P}


Blue

If you manage to ignore people's narrow minded prejudices you're buying it for the right reasons, if it's a decent one you will either love it or hate it. There is no middle ground. They are cracking cars by any measure, probably the best Beemers of all times, they are far prettier than the current shaped cars. If you love it it will become a lifelong friend - you will remember it's design and engineering values long after you have parted company, it's one of those cars.

Avoid blinged up versions with huge shiny wheels - the ride will be rubbish.

Try and remember when you last saw one on the road, they are Q-cars in their own way but they avoid blandness. Far nicer car (IMHO) than the E46 with a better image. There are people that react badly to BMWs, usually they are the ones that have never driven one or are just not suited (i,e, they see them as style statements).
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Lud
My excellent independent motor engineer has a very nice understated navy blue manual 525. Pretty well invisible and obviously excellent.

Never mind all the stereotyping of BMWs and their drivers. Even if it' was based on statistical reality (and it obviously isn't) you could still be an exception.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Number_Cruncher
... independent motor engineer ...

Lud, you're just baiting me aren't you?, just winding me up?

Number_Cruncher
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Lud
Perhaps NC, but I am mystified as to how I am doing it. Any explanations will be gratefully filed for future use.

Figure of speech, Aprilia. Hyperbole it's called. Meaning in this case very discreet and unlikely to attract much attention in its usual environment... but you knew that really didn't you?
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Number_Cruncher
Sorry, this is what I'm on about;

www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/index.htm?t=43508&...e

and

www.honestjohn.co.uk/forum/post/index.htm?v=e&t=43...4

Number_Cruncher


Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Lud
Sorry, this is what I'm on about;
Number_Cruncher


Ah I see, bee in bonnet about promotional terminological inexactitude, pretentious title given to oily thicko?

My chap calls himself an engineer and seems very competent. He is often oily but not a thicko. And as you point out yourself in the second of those threads, MIMechEs and the like can actually be thick and incompetent. Similarly I have met brickies with taste, sense and responsibility, and architects who can only be described as crooked stupid sleazeballs.

But all right, since you are a fellow bee in bonnet person, mechanic then. But I don't mean oily sly ignorant cheeky greedy dangerous twit.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Stuartli
>>MIMechEs and the like>>

Certainly didn't apply to my father who was a superb engineer...:-)
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What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Lud
>>MIMechEs and the like>>
Certainly didn't apply to my father who was a superb engineer...:-)


I didn't say they were Stuartli, just that they could be. Applies to all qualifications. You ought to hear the discourse of some professors I've met...
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Dynamic Dave
Ok, enough of the pedantic discussion and back to the question posed by Blue please.

DD.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Aprilia
Pretty well invisible


Really? How does he manage that?
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Adam {P}
The cloaking device!
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Stuartli
One of the best driver's cars ever to be made available to the man in the street at an affordable price and probably the only BMW I'd consider to replace my succession of VWs.

Did 2,000 plus miles in the 523i once from the south of Spain to the North West in around 48 hours including two overnight stops and felt fully capable of turning round and doing the journey in reverse.

At that time the 523 (actually a 2.5 engine) was only a whisker apart in all performance areas to the 2.8 unit.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - omeganoway
Did 2,000 plus miles in the 523i once from the south
of Spain to the North West in around 48 hours including
two overnight stops and felt fully capable of turning round and
doing the journey in reverse.


If you turned round and did the journey in reverse you would carry on the same way you were going.(dont take offence,only a bit of fun).
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Pugugly {P}
Do it, do it, do it, do it then do it again.

That's what I meant to say.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - rover 75
Nice cars, shame about the L.H.D. wipers still, depending how tall you are you can allways lean over the passenger side when it rains,the ultimate driving machine - except in the wet.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Stuartli
>>shame about the L.H.D. wipers still>>

You are right...:-)

Just looked out at my next door neighbour's superb silver W-registered example....
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Xileno {P}
I agree. It's strange that BMW who pride themselves on their engineering didn't swap the wipers over. If a nasty cheap Peugeot 106 can have wipers set up for RHD, why not an expensive BMW?
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - tack
I had a 2litre auto and I found it the most relaxing drive ever! Rather than make me rude and impatient, It made me drive in a far more accomodating manner. Go for it, a lovely car. If you are a rude and impatient pig.....you'll be one in any car.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - grafen
The E39 has to be one of the few, timeless, classy designs on the road. How on earth BMW signed off Bangle's current 5, perhaps the Lord only knows. Even the one before the E39 looks better IMHO...
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Pugugly {P}
Ultimatly and back to back I have to say that the E39 is the better car both as eye candy and as a driving machine (sorry car). My "new" 535 is a far better package than my old new shape 5.....maybe that's down to the engine. OK the E39 is the better car.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - adverse camber
If you're looking for an out its in that word 'Auto'

Yuk!
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - blue_haddock
Go for it mate - you only live once!
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
I'm definately still going for it!

Unfortunately my head has had time to overule my heart on just one aspect, I can't afford to give my Focus away as a part exchange, therefore it is now on Ebay, I'll take just about any offer for it so long as it's closer to the asking price for the 5 series!

My next plan of attack is to ask the garage if they will accept a deposit to hold the car for a bit longer for me as there is NO equivalently specced model for sale in the country, believe me I've been looking!

What's wrong with the Auto box? My dad has an Auto 2.5 Z4 and it's very nice indeed, I certainly wouldn't have a problem with a similar bit of kit in the 5 series.

I have to be honest, getting my hands on this car is occupying my mind every few seconds, I really have fallen head over heels for this particular one, I will of course post a link if the garage accepts my deposit, if they won't play ball then I'm not going to in case someone else buys it! :-)

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Craig_1969
I can't believe that there isnt a similar BMW E39 available for you, don't buy from a dealer sell private buy private save £££'s. I hear from the guys/gals at www.bmwland.co.uk that the 528 is the one to go for.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
How come the 528 is the one? Actually that might be a question for Michael R as well, as I get the feeling that he has researched this a lot more than I have. :-)

My only concern is insurance as I'm only 22.... The 525 is £110 per month as it is!

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Adam {P}
Blue,

I can't resist anymore. I've got my heart set on a 530. I know - I'm not copying you though - honest! I've been thinking about one for some time. I'm in no rush to get one simply because I have no job and no money! But the other day I did an insurance quote with my existing insurers for one and it came back at 3000. However, I ran one through Churchill setting the start date for after my 21st birthday and it came through at 1100 quid! Given I'm paying 800 now, that doesn't sound too unreasonable?

Might be worth giving Churchill a shot. I've not looked any further because I'm not in a position to buy but I reckon if I look hard enough, I might be able to get it just under a grand. I should point out, this is with a Greater Manchester postcode and according to the insurance company tables, the highest risk band too!
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Well I live in a reasonable estate, but my postcode is attached to some scruffy areas so it sounds like we're in about the same boat. Will give Churchill a try now as so far the best I've had was £1100 with Quinn Direct and 2 years NCB.

That'll be three of us defecting from Ford to the Blue and White Propellor then? :-)

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Adam {P}
With any luck, yes!!!

I've got three years no claims but I've never looked at Quinn Direct. When the time comes, I might give them a shot.

If you do get one, it's an unwritten rule that you have to let me have a go in it. Or at least sit in it and flick all the switches!
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Chips with everything
Wise choice.

I defected from a Mondeo TDCI 130 to a 530 Sport and reckon it's the best purchase I've ever made.

Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Well I've had a quote from Churchill for the princely sum of £1700!!!

Think I'll stick with Quinn for now ;-)

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Adam {P}
Yeah I would too!

Don't forget the unwritten rule ;-)
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - cheddar
I would try and get a 530 rather than a 525.

Give us the low down on the Focus, year, plate, owners, miles, colour, spec, sh etc etc.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - MichaelR
Which engine to go for - well this is something I have agonised over for some time now, and IMHO the answer in your budget is quite clear - the 528i or 530i.

Despite having the same power outputs (Well, the 528i has 1bhp more) the 528i has noticeably more torque than the 525i on and the road is noticeably quicker - the manual has a 0-60 time of 6.8 seconds which for a car of this type and power output really is quite quick.

The 530i is quicker again, although not by any huge margin - despite its 39bhp power advantage over the 528i it only has another 10lb/ft of torque, so is only marginally quicker. I've driven both. I would think that you will find a nice 528i far easier to come by for this sort of money than a nice 530i, however.

The best thing is that this performance advantage comes without many, if any, disadvantages - quoted fuel economy figures for the 525i, 528i and 530i are all as near as makes no difference the same, so you might as well go for the biggest six you can find. Running costs appear not to change. It's the V8's which start to make huge leaps in running costs.

Insurance wise, I am 22 and am getting quotes of about £800 for a 525i Sport and £900 for a 530i Sport. The 528i Sport curiously sits in the middle at about £850. I thought this was entirely reasonable.

Now, if you absolutely do not care about performance, then the 520i is worth a look because it isn't chronically underpowered but IS noticeably cheaper to buy as its considered the runt of the 5 Series range, which is pretty unfair - you've still got 170bhp to shuffle you to 60 in less than 9 seconds, but probably slower than that in automatic form.

You have a major trump card in finding the right Five and that is that you are happy to accept an automatic gearbox. There is nothing wrong with the BMW Steptronic box, and the majority of Fives are in automatic form. This gives you considerably more choice. Unlike me, who has decided that a manual box in Sport specification is the way forward - and consequentlly it's now 6 weeks since I got the cash together and I'm still without an E39.

If you want one, go for it, and don't listen to any of the stereotypical nonesense like 'BMW's are only for ****'s' or the one I am constantly hearing 'You are too young for a car like that, dont you fancy a nice hot hatch instead'

No, actually, I don't. I want a real car.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Chad.R
Now, if you absolutely do not care about performance, then the 520i is worth a look because it isn't chronically underpowered but IS noticeably cheaper to buy as its considered the >> runt of the 5 Series range, which is pretty unfair - you've still got 170bhp to shuffle you to 60 in less than 9 seconds, but probably slower than that in automatic form.



Didn't the first E39 "520i"s have the 2.0 straight 6 which produced 150bhp, I thought it was the 2.5 "523i"s that had 170bhp at launch?

I know they were rebadged 520i (with a 2.2 6cyl 170bhp?) and 525i (with same 2.5 6 cyl as 523 albeit with more power - 194bhp?) - though I haven't been keeping up with all the recent engine changes, when I had an E34, I knew the engine/power/model of the whole BMW range - sad isn't it?

Anyway, back to the OP question - As MichaelR says, I'd also go for the best 528i (preferably in Sport spec) that I could find - should be much easier (and maybe better condition) than finding a 530i at your budget and the real world difference is marginal between the last 528 sport and early 530 sports.

Happy hunting to both of you.

Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - MichaelR
Facelift 520's have a 170bhp 2.2 litre Straight Six - they were introduced in late 2000, at the same time the 523i became the 525i and the 528i became the 530i.

Getting mighty fed up of the jokers on Autotrader after stupid money for otherwise worthy of consideration cars. Do people REALLY think 100k mile 528i Sports are worth £8-10k?
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Adam {P}
So what does the facelift 530 become? Still a 3.0 isn't it? Assuming everything otherwise was equal, what's the difference between a 528 and 530 facelift?


Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - MichaelR
There was no facelift 530i - at facelift in late 2000 on an X, the 528i became the 530i.

The main differences:

a) Angel Eye front lights
b) CELIS Rear LED lights
c) Front AND rear parking sensors
d) 2.8 M52TU BiVanos engine became 3.0 M54 BiVanos engine.
e) Colour coded rubbing strips
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - MichaelR
That should say there was no PRE-facelift 530i.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Adam {P}
Gotcha.

Thanks for clearing that up.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
I think that the 525i I am looking at is a facelift model, the advert makes mention of it's front and rear parking sensors and it is on an X reg, curiously the ad doesn't mention angel eye lights, although maybe they just neglected that bit.

I would quite happily have a 528i, the only issue been that there are NONE in the country with appropriate spec (full leather, Sat Nav, TV and Comms Pack) under £7K. It's unfortunate that £7K really is the top of my budget, the closest I can get is one at £7,295 o.v.n.o. which is prvate, the 525i that I have found is at a trader and comes with 3 month warranty for just on £7K. It is also a colour that I prefer more (Topaz blue as opposed to silver) So basically as it stands at the moment, the 525 has it, and I wouldn't imagine that the 525i feels too slug-like, it should be spritely enough for what I want it for.

If I sell the car for a decent enough amount then I will ring up about this 528 that is currently for sale and see if I can get it for a better price, if I can't then I'm just gonna go with the 525, at least it gives me hope that at least one of them will still be available when I go for it! :-)

Michael - I know entirely what you mean, I'm sick of people expecting me to drive some nasty luke-warm hatch because I'm young, why on earth shouldn't I own a 5 series? :-)

Fortunately I've just this second done an insurance quote and found the 528 to be £20 per year more expensive at £1330, not exactly gonna break the bank :-)

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Cheddar, the Focus is a 2003 53 reg TDCi Sport.

3 Door in Panther Black.

Some of the equipment includes:-

Half Leather
A/C
17" Alloys
Sports Suspension
ST170 front spots

Very nice car, only scuffed alloys and a slightly damaged passenger door mirror make it anything other than perfect.

It's on Ebay right now starting at £6,250.
Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Erm, I've been looking in the car by car breakdown.

Can someone please tell me what the problem with the combined Nav and Phone system is and just how prevalent the failure of autoboxes between 120K and 150K is please?

I'm a bit nervous of buying one and then finding it needs a fortune spending on it soon after on a new box...
Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - TrevorH
Unlike me, who has decided that a manual
box in Sport specification is the way forward


I hope the seats give enough lateral support.

Our 523 manual, like most E39 manuals I suspect, has the pedals offset to the right. Combined with bench-like, flat seats it's a recipe for lower back pain. I'm not a big fan for this reason only. I had a similar problem with the 3 series manual diesel.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Argh!

I don't know what to do! I've now found a V reg 528i Sport Auto with the sat nav, TV, and built in phone available for £7K.

It's got a decent amount of tax and test left, 110K on the clock with a full BMW history.

However, I don't feel as attracted to this one for some reason, it's black with the nice sport allys but I'm not sure if it ;ppls as classy as the blue SE model that I've seen.

Would people in the know sacrifice the 528i in favour of a 525i that is a slighty better colour?

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - MichaelR
I've seen that one on AT - looks brilliant and it even has Goodyear Eagle F1 GS-D3's all round.

Had it been a manual, I'd have snapped it up already. Go for it, I'd take it over any 525i.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Do you not think it looks a bit drab for some reason? Maybe it just hasnt been cleaned properly...

How much better is the 528 than the 525?

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - DavidHM
I'm no 5-Series connoisseur but I'd take the 525i - it's newer, cheaper,lower mileage and has just as much power and spec. Admittedly it doesn't have quite the looks but you don't seem too bothered by that.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Actually it's got 20K more on the clock than the 528!

Really confused about what to do now, and wondering whether I can afford the fuel that these things swallow, I'd bargained on a worst case scenario of 24mpg, the 528's fuel computer is reading 22.9 on the screen!

Somebody make my mind up for me please!

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - AngryJonny
My old E34 was a 525i with the M50 24v engine. I reckon I got in excess of 25mpg normally, and 30ish on the motorway. It was also the best handling, most fun car I've ever driven by a country mile. They're expensive to run, insure and service - but they're worth it. Mileage is nothing to these cars. Get the 525i.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Chad.R
Get the 525i.


NO. NO. NO.

Get the 528 Sport, you know you wanna. IMO an E39 Sport is real eye-candy.

Anyway you won't see the colour from inside the car and the extra power and sport spec should make your grin even wider!!!
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Well I've been digging a little deeper, if I'm prepared to overlook the lack of a TV, there is a supposedly unmarked as new 528i Auto SE with 42,000 miles for £6,999 for sale privately.

I think with an approriate amount of haggling this could be reduced. Although it's a 1998 the car looks very smart in gunmetal grey with full grey leather interior, electric seats window blinds etc.

My dad is saying that he reckons that's the best one as it should still drive like a new car compared with ones that have 130K on the clock as like it or not, even the BMW forums have people asking about doing suspension overhauls at 120K miles to return the car to driving like new.

I'm starting to think that maybe that is a more sensible idea, there's a bit less liklihood of the autobox lunching itself at 42K than there is at 142K too!

Oh, I was so certain before and now I'm really confused!
Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Chad.R
Funnily enough, I saw that grey 528 with 42k on and "multispoke" alloys and thought it looked pretty good too! Mind you, though it's advertised as a "sport" it doesn't have the sport bodykit and seems to have the "comfort" rather than "sports" seats. Though the rest of the spec looks pretty good - Xenons too.

It sounds like a sensible compromise and yes they do tend to need a suspension overhaul after around 120k to get them back to their best.

Decisions, decisions........
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Baskerville
Well I've been digging a little deeper, if I'm prepared to
overlook the lack of a TV, there is a supposedly unmarked
as new 528i Auto SE with 42,000 miles for £6,999 for
sale privately.


Maybe it's just me, but BMW + 8 years old + 42,000 miles makes me wonder. I'd look that over carefully. Who buys one of these and only does 5,000 miles a year? And if the mileage is genuine, what kind of miles were they? Hardly nice relaxing motorway miles I think.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - yorkie123
I've just bought a 2001 530i manual, and driving in heavy traffic around London for the last week, the computer's showing 22 mpg.Yet to drive it in 5th gear, but i reckon at 70 mph in 5th it'll be ticking over at around 2800 rpm, meaning good fuel economy.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Chad.R
the 528's fuel computer is reading 22.9 on the screen!


Yes, but the average speed is reading 22.6mph too
;-)
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Judging by my dad's CLK which is driven on the same sort of routes that I drive, that's all that I would acheive!

Well spotted though ;-)

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Aprilia
My advice would be to slow down and take your time inspecting these cars. Not all E39's are trouble free by any means..... You also need to think about past accident damage etc (which might not necessarily come up on HPI). I have seen E39's at auction that have had paint - the proper trade guys steer clear and they get bid up by over-enthusiastic private punters or the dodgier traders.
Anyone who says these 'go on forever' etc doesn't know what they are talking about. From 120k-on there is a likelihood you will need to spend some money, whether it be suspension parts, transmission overhall, recon diff etc etc. Go to you local ECP and see that they have a lot of E39 non-service items on the shelves - they don't keep them in stock for fun, they're in stock because they will sell.
Don't let your heart rule your head - take it slowly and check out plenty of cars before you take the plunge. The E39 sold in quite decent numbers so you don't have to jump at the first you see - as soon as you buy it you'll spot a better one. Consider a DEKRA/RAC inspection before you buy.

As regards your earlier question about the tranmissions - well, the E39's used the GM 5L40E - a 5 speed transmission used on a variety of RWD cars (inc. many US GM cars). The transmissions for BMW were actually built in GM's French plant. They are not a bad unit, but expect some wear and tear after 100K miles. I suspect not many make it to 200K without some repair work. Expect to pay around £2-3k for a properly rebuilt box, fitted etc. The snag with many auto's nowadays (inc on BMW) is the manufacturers' persistence in saying that they are 'filled for life'. ATF works hard and wouldn't want to keep it for more than 60K max in any of my cars.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Thanks for that Aprilla, I was actually planning on e-mailing you to get your opinion as it's one that I value having read your posts for as long as I can remember!

I must confess that I am starting to have second thoughts about some aspects of getting an E39, the one that I originally wanted (and I still do) can be seen here: -

tinyurl.com/pshef

How does something like that look to you? If the salesman and advert are to be believed it's in good condition, unfortunately I can't check it out as I live too far away (over 200 miles). My other problem is that the buyer should arrive on Saturday to take my Focus leaving me car free until I buy a new'un, this jacks up the pressure to find one considerably.

The problem I have is I don't know what I would get if I don't get an E39, the only other cars on the list at the moment are an E46 2.5 manual with the full Sat Nav etc. for £6,500, it's got 101,000 miles on the clock, or, if I sacrifice the Nav, there's a lovely looking 325 coupe with the 18" M alloys, and all the spec I could want. That one is £6,950 (less when I've haggled hopefully) and is on a Y reg. It also has 98,000 miles on the clock so has hardly been under-used.

With these car's been the E46 manual are they likely to present me with smaller bills than a high mileage Automatic 5 series? It's sad that I have to actually consider this when buying the car, but having worked the figures over recent days it's a lot closer to call than I originally thought in terms of fuel and running costs for an E39 getting 24mpg. If the autobox lunched itself it would ruin me totally (i am still just a student at the end of the day) whereas I reckon manual gearboxes seem a bit more reliable from purely anecdotal evidence?

I could always get an end of line E39 with a better spec in 2 or 3 years I suppose once I actually graduate and stop being a student...

Sorry for such a long winded post, but would really like your advice on this one!

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Should also point out that the E46 coupe has Full BMW service history for what it's worth...

But then again so does the E39....

Arghh!!!!! I'm going to bed before I tear my hair out!!

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Adam {P}
Don't forget the unwritten rule ;-)
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
I think you might need to write it out for me as I've obviously forgotten it! :-)

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Aprilia
Adam

I didn't realise you were a student. A 2.5 litre BMW is not really a car to run on a budget - as the miles pile on then some repairs are inevitable, let alone the cost of insurance, petrol etc.

As a rule, the simpler a car is the more reliable it is - especially at high miles. From that perspective a high-mileage manual transmission car is likely to be less troublesome than a high-mileage auto. Moreover when a manual DOES start to give trouble it tends to be in the form of whining bearings and crunching synchromesh - the car remains driveable and saleable and repair costs are not insane. When an auto gives trouble it often ends up on the back of a low-loader. As you know, I buy and sell a few Mercs. Buyers of the newer cars always tend to want auto's, but when it comes to older cars the demand for manuals tends to pick up. You want to avoid a situation where something fails and you can't afford to fix it. Your then in a situation where you can neither use the car nor sell it, and its sitting in your drive depreciating.

Your link didn't work for me. However two things to note....when enquiring about a car on the 'phone ANY trader will tell you its 'mint' etc. Their objective is to get you to their premises so they can sell you a car. Take the trader's descritption with a large pinch of salt. Similarly a 'FSH' can be three old stamps in a service book and a few receipts from a fast-fit outfit. Also, be a bit careful in buying a car from a dealer 200 miles away. If there are any problems with the car then it could be difficult to sort out. If the car blows its head gasket the dealer will likely say, 'bring it in for me to look at'. What are you going to do? Trailering a car 200 miles will cost you a couple of hundred. I would try to buy from within 40-50 miles radius max. unless you are buying from a national dealer chain etc.

Finally, I wouldn't worry too much about having the BMW sat nav. It sounds good, but my experience of it is that TomTom is a lot better and much cheaper to update with maps etc.

It might be worth going to an auction and looking for high-mileage manual cars that look straight and clean at a low price. Then, if it turns out to be a dud, you can put it back into the auction and not lose much. Worse is to buy a nail from a dealer miles away.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Honestjohn
530i auto in Wednesday's auction report. I rememberd Blue was looking for one so checked the price.

HJ
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Dalglish
boys, students, or new graduates - please listen to aprilia.

these bmw e39 models are not for you. they are very expensive toys and will give out the wrong image and you will go bankrupt soon - what with student loans to pay off and all.
nor do you do not want to be mistaken for "pharmacists" or "physiotherapists" ( to give them their respectable trade names, akin to calling "mechanics" by their respectable name "chartered mechanical engineers" - if you get my meaning, nudge, nudge, wink, wink ), even though you may have really qualified in those professions.

so please, boys, students, graduates, etc. - please buy the right car for your status. a 5 year old renault clio, for instance.

p.s. i must declare my interest here. i do not want e39s becoming sought after until i come to sell mine. while i am buying ( and i am buying, not selling ), i want to keep e39 prices to stay low.
when i come to sell, that is when all new highly paid graduates should come knocking on my door to buy. but until then, remember these cars are not for you lot.

Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Pugugly {P}
brill
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - bell boy
i have just read Aprilias post of Thu 17 Aug 06 14:29 and think it should be cast in stone its that good,the times i here bags of junk talked up as mint absolutely does my head in..........
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Aprilia
Dalglish

I really don't know what your problem is. You frequently seem to snipe at my posts, which are made in good faith and borne of experience. The OP made the point a little further up that he's a student (i.e. very limited income I suspect) and is concerned about running costs. I was merely pointing out that a 2.5 litre BMW is not a car to run on a budget - what's wrong with that? These are complex cars with potential repair bills to match. I have seen a few folks with 'head in hands' after buying an apparently clean older BMW and then getting landed with a massive bill a few months later. There is nothing worse than a car that makes you poor.

Perhaps you'd like to proffer some contructive advice to the OP rather than knocking others who make the effort?
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Thanks for that Aprilla, I have had a slight reality check on things now, I'm determined that it will be a manual that I get as I simply can't afford an automatic failure, whereas, like you say, manuals are more reliable as the car gets older.

I am however still determined that the car I get, whatever it is, will be nice, hence I'm looking at a very nice 325i E46 Coupe, as well as the saloon I mentioned earlier. I feel that these cars still have the potential to go horribly wrong, but that this is a lot less likely than on a 5 series with auto box and it hence comes under what I would define an acceptable risk for owning such a nice car.

My family previously owned an E36 from new up to 9 years old and it was acceptable on the whole, the ownership experience was only soured by an ill advised trip to a horrendously dodgy back street garage on the recommendation of my uncle. We flogged it on Ebay after having a replacement engine fitted shortly after. That's not a mistake I would repeat myself!

I'm now trying to decide whether I fancy a coupe or a saloon the most, I have to confess that I like the look of the coupe more, and I figure there shouldnt be anything more to go wrong with it than on a saloon, my guess is it may also hold it's money slightly better.

I'm in a fortunate position financially in that, whilst I have a lot of debt to service and tuition fees to pay, I just got promoted at work and am now a manager, so hence my income is ok compared with most students my age. I actually have a list of reasons that justifys this purchase to myself, for example I've worked damned hard since the age of 16 (I went from May to August this year without one day off) so, although it may not be totally sensible, I want one of the nicer things in life as a little treat :-) Another good reason is that the way taxes are going, if I dont get a big engined BMW now I may never afford one again!

Anyway, will keep people informed as and when I look at purchasing something which will be soon hopefully.

Blue

P.S. Thanks again for your contribution to this thread Aprilla, I do appreciate an informed opinion! (and thanks to HJ for remembering my little quest when you were at the auction!)
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Aprilia
Blue

The E46's are nice motors but make sure you check out insurance. Whilst on the face of it you might imagine the cost would be similar to that for a 525i, the simple fact that its a coupe means it has a different owner profile (not a 'family car'...) and so insurance co's might really sting you on it.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
I think you might be right, Quinn Direct quoted me a reasonable £1320 for the 325 saloon, but the coupe brings up an error message asking me to call them....

Will give them a buzz this morning, I'm nervous as when I rang them about the 325 saloon they quoted nearly £200 more than they did online for no apparent reason!

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Argh!!! I originally had a quote on the system with Quinn for £1325 for the coupe, but then I went in to amend the numberplate to match the one I want and it wouldn't honour the quote anymore, I rang them up and they insist that the car is too powerful for cover as a manual for someone of my age! Funny that it wasn't the other week!

I still have the quote for the saloon on system so I'm just going to ring up to take out cover over the phone later on so that they should, according to the girl, honour the quote that they've given me for that! I never like been forced into a corner by insurance companies...

Grumble, moan, whinge.....

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Sprice
Online quotes are usually cheaper than phoning (by 5 - 10% typically) due to avoiding the 'middle man'.

Its even worth doing a new quote online when renewal time comes for the same company as the online price undercuts their own renewal fee! I think you said you tried Churchill (always the cheapest for me), but also try Hastings and Tesco.

Nice cars BTW!
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - cheddar
Blue
The E46's are nice motors but make sure you check out
insurance. Whilst on the face of it you might imagine
the cost would be similar to that for a 525i, the
simple fact that its a coupe means it has a different
owner profile (not a 'family car'...) and so insurance co's might
really sting you on it.


Is it the E46 that has the crumbling alloy rear subframe problem?
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - A_Lees
Hi Aprilia

Please dont get upset by the snide remarks made earlier in this thread. I seldom post here but read a lot and cant be alone in thinking that your posts are amongst the best written and most accurate and informative in the HJ backroom. Thats bound to upset a few people!!!! Keep up the good work.

Ashley
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - A_Lees
Beware that some BMWs can have expensive faults with the traction control. My dad had a 2000X 525 from new and in 2004 the traction control light came on with the engine losing all power. It seems all 525s have traction control. The can hadnt covered a high mileage, about 50000 I think. The repair was extremely expensive. It needed a new throttle unit and the part alone was over £1000, which shook my dad up a bit, as you can imagine. The car also suffered bad corrosion of the alloy wheels in the area where the wheel bolts fit. These had to be repainted at great expense because the car was out of warranty.
It wasnt the most reliable car in the world, more reliable than my Passat though, which regularly finds inself behind the AA truck!!!

Ashley.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
*******DONE!!!*******

I've agreed to go an look at/buy an E46 on Sunday, it's the 325 saloon, 101K with independant specialist service history, one owner, Sat Nav/TV, Multi function steering wheel and is finsihed in obligatory silver. On a 51 plate and price agreed is £6,300 with 12 month MOT.

If it turns out to be OK then I'm quite happy.with the deal that I have got and it means I won't have to do without a car for a week.

If I do buy it I will of course post some pictures up!

Thanks for everyones advice, I really do think that this is going to be a more affordable option than a 5 series.

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Pugugly {P}
My response was to Aprilla......it got misthreaded !
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Have spoken with the seller this evening (he's a trader) and am going to meet him at his house on Sunday, obviously I'm aware that the log book won't be in his name as is normally the case with traders. It is present and signed by the original owner though.

I've got the chassis number and reg to do an HPI and am awaiting the V5 serial number and issue date so that I can get HPI to check it for authenticity, assuming these checks come back clear, and I obtain a receipt with his name and address on it then I should have covered most of the legal angles. Obviously if the car wasn't his to sell then I would imagine it would come up as stolen on the HPI check, the finance and write off angle should be covered by HPI as well, so have I forgotten anything that people can think of?

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - MichaelR
£6000 for a 51 plate 100k mile 325i SE with Comms Pack is bordering on the worryingly cheap. The car is worth considerably more so I would be asking questions as to why he isnt selling it for considerably more.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Well, it's a bit cheaper than others, but I think a lot of people will be put off by it's otherwise poor spec, it has standard 15" alloys, cloth seats etc.

Will see if he answers his phone tommorow when i ring to ask for the V5 serial, surely if the V5 checks out genuine, and the car is in good condition I should be OK? People must buy hundreds of cars every day from motor traders where the V5 has another name on it? I know that is the normal procedure for a trader, after all, when we took cars in at the garage I worked at the log books all had the old owners name on them until we handed it over at the post office when obtaining the new owner's tax disc...

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - cheddar
£6000 for a 51 plate 100k mile 325i SE with Comms
Pack is bordering on the worryingly cheap. The car is worth
considerably more so I would be asking questions as to why
he isnt selling it for considerably more.


Agreed, about a year ago an ex colleague paid around 12k for a 325i Sport on a 51 plate with 70k ish, to think his car would have halved in value if he had done 30k in a year!
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - cheddar
A local trader has a 2001 530d Touring for 13k and a 2004 535d for 35k (both high spec), equivalent models for their respective years, the 530d seems reasonable value (I quite fancy it!) though perhaps indicates what the 535d will be worth in three years time (particularly if there is a new model), 22k depreciation, over £7000 a year. Seems that BMW's make sense from new up to about two to three years old with FBMWSH after which they plummet then can be a good used buy at 5 to 6 years old if you can afford to insure and run one.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Well the car has checked out fine with HPI, no major alerts, there seems to be a slight mileage discrepancy though. It appears that the National Mileage Register hold the record as been 106,000 in July this year, and 81,000 in Oct 2005. The car is currently advertised with 101,000 miles on the clock. I can only assume that there has been a typing error somewhere as surely nobody would take the trouble to knock 5,000 miles off a car with 106K on the clock! :-)

I've seen something like this only once before when a Cinquento had reportedly covered 250,000 miles before been traded into us with 50,000 on the clock, needless to say we didn't believe the data held by NMR then either!

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - cheddar
>>I've seen something like this only once before when a Cinquento had reportedly covered 250,000 miles before been traded into us with 50,000 on the clock, needless to say we didn't believe the data held by NMR then either!>>



This can happen via the voluntary field in the Tax form V?? (number escapes me) it has 6 boxes _ _ _ _ _ _ so 25,000 would read as
_ 2 5 0 0 0

..... though I am sure some people will complete it as .......

2 5 0 0 0 _

......... which is easliy translated to 250,000 at the DVLA.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Aprilia
Considering the mileage and the seller (i.e 'home trader' by the sound of it) the price is about right IMHO.

My buying advice...

1. Take someone 'level headed' with you (as a witness and also to stop you getting over-excited).
2. Remember that HPI only relates to write-off damage - a car can be badly damaged and then repaired and not appear on HPI.
3. Make notes before you look at the car and then take a lot of time looking round it - don't be rushed.. check front and rear plates (same?), front chassis rails, radiator, panel gaps, matching glass codes etc. Check boot floor under carpet etc etc. Door closures.
4. Give car a good test drive and check usual things - and whilst its still cold try fast 1-2 2-3 3-2 gearshifts and feel for synchro catching (slight crunch) which can be a weak spot on these. Also feel for front ball-joint/wishbone wear (a bumpy road is good for this).
5. Check air-con and electrics works.
6. If possible leave a minimal deposit and then give previous owner a call.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Grrrrrr!

It's all fell through, had a call from the guy who was meant to be buying the Focus to say that his son has failed to sell his car after all (despite it been a done deal supposedly) and now he can't buy until next Saturday at the earliest assuming that the sale goes through by then.

I've had to call the seller of my car (who fortunately only held it for 24 hours so I don't feel like I messed him about too much), and advise him that I can't come to collect tommorow.

I'm relisting on Ebay and it's a lesson learned that no matter how genuine buyers seem I will ALWAYS ask for a deposit to be paid via Pay Pal to cover re-listing costs where applicable.

With any luck the saloon will still be there in a week's time, if not, I'll just find something else for sale.

Actually, there is a beautiful 325 M-Sport for sale on a Y reg for £7,000 but I got a quote from My Tyres to replace the tyres on the 18" alloys and it came in at £135 each for the cheapest tyres, then fitting needed adding! I think I'll avoid the 18" wheel ones as that really is out of my budget, I always go through at least one sometimes two pairs of tyres per year...

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Dalglish
Dalglish I really don't know what your problem is. You frequently seem to snipe at my posts, which are made in
good faith and borne of experience.

>>

you have taken the worng meaning. i was actually telling these students to heed your advice.
as i said, it is in my interest that not too many young ones should start driving the e39, and make it a cult student car to have. it will spoil the image for the likes of me.
but, if they want to buy 3 series examples, that is fine by me. please do encourage them to go for those, but not e39.

Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Anyway, who are you calling a student? Just because I go to uni doesn't mean people should be allowed to think of me as a student, I'm a young professional :-)

Oh, erm, except when i go shopping, I'm definately a student in anywhere that takes my union card. ;-)

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
That message was aimed at Dalglish by the way!

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Dalglish
That message was aimed at Dalglish by the way!

>.

i know, but i am assuming that aprilia is correct in referring to you as a student (and adam? and michael-r ? ). anyway, if you prefer, i will refer to you as a professional student.

Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - MichaelR
Blue, don't take this the wrong way but if you are of the opinion that £135 a corner for tyres is so expensive that you cannot afford to run a model with those wheels (All Sport model E46's have 18s) then are you really sure you can afford to run a car like this? £500 for a set of tyres every 2 years is a minor expense compared to what else might go wrong!

Also please leave all the manual E39 Sports alone, as I'm trying to buy the next good one that appears, much obliged :p
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Adam {P}
Strictly speaking, I'm not a student - I'm unemployed!
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Aprilia
Blue

I have been on the phone this morning to a trader I know (I'm sorting out an electrical fault on one of his cars). He deals mainly in BMW, SAAB, Volvo and the occasional MB. Although he prices very keenly he tells me that things are really really quiet at the moment and have been so since before the World Cup. I guess there was a World Cup effect and then people going on hols etc - so they haven't been thinking about changing cars. Also utility bills etc are going up so maybe money is getting a bit tight. Anyway, he's not getting many enquiries at all and I think he's getting a bit anxious about the business. The message here is that you don't need to rush into anything and you should haggle very hard on price - its a buyers market it seems.
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
Michael - It's just one part of the running costs of such a car, I know things can and will go wrong, but I'd rather avoid anything that's likely to cause me a big fall, auto boxes etc. I had never even thought of them going wrong until I started doing my digging into this particular subject! Hen ce, I'm thinking that the big wheels might be nice, but I have to consider that they will cost me the best part of £200 per year more to maintain the normal wheels, that money all has to come from somewhere.

Besides, although they don't look as good, I went out in a mates E46 with normal alloys, and the ride was much smoother than what I'm used to in my Focus with 17" wheels, I thoroughly enjoy the sharp handling of the Focus, but after a year, I'm getting tired of been jolted and jarred over every single bump in the road. My ultimate aim of course when Im older and more flush is to have two cars, a sensible one, and a mad one with the big wheels etc. at the moment I just can't justify it though so I need to get an all rounder.

Blue
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - MichaelR
I'm glad you can think sensibly. Unfortunately, I have fallen for the idea of a nice E39 Sport with 18" Style 37's wrapped in 265/35/18 Eagle F1's on the back, and 235/40/18's on the front.

It must be done :(
Think I'm gonna get a 5 series - Blue {P}
I'll do it later in life, maybe when I'm 25, then I'll hopefully have a bit more cash to throw at it as my salary will have gone up by about £5K a year.

Blue


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