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Old 12-13-2012, 08:16 PM   #16
kfsinc
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Location: Crystal Lake, IL
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I'm driving a 2003 540i M-Sport 6 speed -- pretty much an M5 with the smaller motor. I've had a 1998 740iL, a 2000 528 and my daughter has a 325iX. They're all very different cars.

The 740 is a luxury boat that drives like a sports car. It has the same engine as your 540 so is subject to the same potential problems. That said, mine is near 200K miles and the guy I sold it to reports that it is going strong. My 540 is at 120 and going strong. If you need room for four, the 740 can't be beat. And it will still get well over 20mpg. I sold the 529 at 200K and it too was going strong.

The 530 has a bullet proof 6, with plenty of power and the previously mentioned rack and pinion steering, like my 528, it will handle better than the 540 in around town driving. The M suspension, tires, etc, make the 540 ride like the high performance sports sedan it is, but it eats low profile staggered ($$$) tires. And I must say, I'm sick of the 6 speed.

I'm pretty sure they all have the same BMW issues -- plastic radiator, front suspension that need replacing at about 100K, valve cover leaks, PCV issues, plastic water pump impeller. All are $500 plus if you have it done for you. The 540/740 have valley pan gasket issues and cam chain issues.

However -- I'm still a big fan and will buy more of them.

In your case -- the choice is really how big a car do you want?
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Old 12-14-2012, 05:33 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anorak View Post
i don't mean so far as reliability, i mean performance. But, the 530 is a really well balanced car. My favorite is silver with a black interior and tinted windows.
10-4...
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:05 AM   #18
aceluck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anorak View Post
I don't mean so far as reliability, I mean performance. But, the 530 is a really well balanced car. My favorite is silver with a black interior and tinted windows.
Like this?



Not a 530, but a 528i 5-speed (wearing its small 15-inch winter wheels). Love this car. I can't believe how well it drives at almost 15 years old with 123k miles. Just had to put in a new battery, as the old one gave up after 10 years. Other than that it's been pretty reliable over the 2 years I've owned it. Looking forward to keeping it for a long time

I do sometimes wish for the 530's extra 35 horses though. I find myself thinking that my car's handling, with just a bit more power, would be perfect.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:12 AM   #19
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My E34, a 1990 535i 5-speed. The M30 engine is in my opinion one of the best on the road provided you don't let it run hot because they are known for blowing head gaskets when run hot. I bought this car in 2001 the weekend before 9/11 from a guy in Raleigh via Ebay.

It has been the best car I've ever owned only being in the shop twice since I've owned it. First for something I could probably have done DIY, but it was so frigging cold and I don't have an enclosed garage to replace a broken ignition switch lock and front wheel hub/bearings. The second time it was in the shop was a little pricier at around $700 for new struts and front end suspension bushings which I didn't feel like I was experienced enough, nor did I have the proper tools to do the job safely.

In the time I've owned the car I've replaced the radiator, starter, and water pump all DIY. That's it other than normal maintenance.

I can't tell you how nice it has been to not have had a car payment since, well since so far back I can' remember because I paid $7K cash for this.

It's closing in on a quarter million miles now and as far as I'm concerned it might be the last car I'll ever own.

There is an E34 for sale in the Flea Market right now, but it looks a little ragged out from what I can see in the photos, and proper maintenance is everything to the lifespan of these cars. I absolutely would not buy one without a complete verifiable maintenance history, but if you can find one that has been well cared for, then I'd jump on it in a heartbeat.

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mb90535im screwed with this post 12-14-2012 at 09:24 AM
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:27 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Ursa Major View Post
A 2001 530 is the ultimate expression of the E39, the best 5 series ever made (I know E28 fans will disagree).... .
Yes, the E28 is at the top of the heap and that is coming from an E34 owner.

I wonder if this car's owner could use some eye teeth?

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Old 12-14-2012, 09:45 AM   #21
kfsinc
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+1 "....from what I can see in the photos, and proper maintenance is everything to the lifespan of these cars. I absolutely would not buy one without a complete verifiable maintenance history, but if you can find one that has been well cared for, then I'd jump on it in a heartbeat."

As i mentioned before, I've had several BMW's. Buying a 'certified' used one or one that's been owned by rich/anal previous owner, but may have ~100K miles on it, is the best way to go. If the previous owner can't document in detail that the big items have been taken care of, these things can be a huge money pit.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:54 AM   #22
Anorak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceluck View Post
Like this?



Not a 530, but a 528i 5-speed (wearing its small 15-inch winter wheels). Love this car. I can't believe how well it drives at almost 15 years old with 123k miles. Just had to put in a new battery, as the old one gave up after 10 years. Other than that it's been pretty reliable over the 2 years I've owned it. Looking forward to keeping it for a long time

I do sometimes wish for the 530's extra 35 horses though. I find myself thinking that my car's handling, with just a bit more power, would be perfect.
Exactly, the 16 or 17 inch wheels tie the hole car together but the winter setup is understandable.
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:07 PM   #23
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There is an E28 turning to dust in my neighbor's yard, too far gone.

I also like the E34, but finding a clean one is next to impossible up here.

I went to see the 2000 540 M-Pack today, dark green, grey interior, I has never seen that combo, the plastics are green inside, weird. Unfortunately the car needs mechanical work, and different sections of the car were repainted at different times, colors don't match, it kinda looks goofy. And green plastics??? flashback from the 70's

I'm quickly running out of options, hopefully the owner of the car I saw last week will be back from Florida tomorrow and he will still be in a selling mood, I should know for sure on Tuesday.
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