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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

My wife told me not to consider the Lexus RX330 or RX400H, so I'm back to the E39 5 series. Here are two cars I'm considering:

(1) 2002 M5, 34k miles, Sterling Grey/Caramel, approximately $50k. Not a CPO car, but I can do extended warranty with it. If this was an 03, I'd have bought ir already.

(2) 2003 530i, 5-speed, Kolarahi Beige/black, 18k miles, fully loaded, sports package, premium package, cold-weather package, sports seat, heated seats, the works, approximately $29k. Not CPO either, so extended warranty is in order. The purchase price differential here can pay for a lot of mods and road trips.

I'd love the M5 (in fact, my wife says I should buy an M5), but I'm worried about the stuff (mainly electronics and sensors) that could go wrong with it. It's just a lot of hassel to diagnose/fix. Does the 530i has similar issues with electronics and sensors ? (MAFS, O2 sensors, CAM sensors etc.)

I'm not in a hurry to buy a car, but this is probably a question I have to answer for myself sooner or later.

Thanks for your opinion.

CP
 

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chunpng said:
I'd love the M5 (in fact, my wife says I should buy an M5), but I'm worried about the stuff (mainly electronics and sensors) that could go wrong with it. It's just a lot of hassel to diagnose/fix. Does the 530i has similar issues with electronics and sensors ? (MAFS, O2 sensors, CAM sensors etc.)
Every BMW is, I think, going to have little electrical irritations periodically. The 530i is probably a little better on such matters than the M5, but not a Toyota.

Get on the bmwe39 list and ask...
 

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If you are not in a big hurry, why not wait and find the right '03 M5 so you are really excited about it? Otherwise, I'd say go for the '02. The sterling grey/caramel is a great, rare color combo. Is that the car up in Santa Rosa? If so, they've had it on the market quite a while now, so you may have some leverage in negotiating price. I know they started with it priced around $54K. I can't speak to its condition -- I considered going to look at that car, but I never did because I really wanted to find the right '03.

Just my $0.02

Best of luck finding the right one.
 

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The is no doubt a 530i will be a capable and reliable car, not that shabby on performance either.

The M5 on the other hand will have the same equipment as the fully loaded 530i and the $20k extra will be for the uprated suspension, better brake and the all important beast of a V8 engine that will keep your kidneys touching the seat.

Even with $20K I could not see anyone making a 530i anything close to an M5(well maybe). There is something about the M i cannot explain... Frequently imitated, but never equaled.

As for the realiablity, I guess a performance car will alway fall short but as long as the M5 is maintained well, it should go a long way.

- Kin
 

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of course i'd vote for the M5!
I can't specifically speak for the 530, but my 528 was quite reliable. No mafs problems, no vanos issues (although it was a single vanos car, which is more reliable than the later dual vanos, like the 530). No o2 sensors problems, i think i saw one check engine light in the time i owned it (about 2.5 years). I drove the car up to 78k when it was sold. I believe the current owner was going to take it from seatle to bimmerfest last weekend, i hear it's still going strong. (anyone see a black 528 with alpina wheels and spoilers?)

What went wrong? Typical e39 stuff, final stage resistor in the climate control, window regulators, the tilt steering motor died. It needed a clutch at 36k due to a failed Self adjusting mechanism (i think this was a misdiagnosis because -->) and a transmission at 57k. Thrust arm bushings, ball joints etc. I drove it daily and tracked it similar to the M5. Honestly, other than my first month of two of m5 ownership, the m5 has been quite reliable, and i've done a lot more modification to it (i.e. more potential for problems, imho). My father in law had an 02 530iA, put about 75k on it as well, and had no major problems either.
 

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What does your heart say Pong? If the Ruf will keep you happy and you have no need for another performance car, and can say nothing but good things about the E39 6cyls. My 528 was flogged to death daily, and other than the typical CDV clutch woes and some small seat gremlins, it never missed a beat. Clutch stayed intact, but went in a time or two for slipping issues. No SES lights, no CPS problems, no MAF or O2 problems from delivery to lease return at 47k miles or so. Rack and pinion steering was fantastic (makes the V8's feel like a truck), engine sounded great (530's are even better), and the tranny shifted smoother than the M5's.
In the end though, the 530 isnt an M5, and is nowhere close. If you want two performance cars, I would say wait till the right 2003 comes around. If you need an M5 now, that 2002 sounds nice. Best wishes finding something that fits the bill.
:cheers:
 

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CP, as you have owned the beast and been spoiled by the beast, any lesser variation of the E39 would seem to be somewhat of a let down. We all agree that the M5 is an all around great car offering the performance and handling when you need it and also a very comfortable car for daily duty. If warranty is required for each and $$ is not an issue then...... well I've sold myself. Unless of course you can hold out until an attractive '03 is up for grabs.
 

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I had an E39 530i for 35k trouble free miles before I sold it. The BMW inline sixes seem bulletproof. :cool:
 

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Hey Pong, buy mine. My beast is now up for sale with 1 yr left on extended maint and 100k extended war. and just put new tires on(and you can put >$10k in your pocket). Intereted?
chunpng said:
Hi,

My wife told me not to consider the Lexus RX330 or RX400H, so I'm back to the E39 5 series. Here are two cars I'm considering:

(1) 2002 M5, 34k miles, Sterling Grey/Caramel, approximately $50k. Not a CPO car, but I can do extended warranty with it. If this was an 03, I'd have bought ir already.

(2) 2003 530i, 5-speed, Kolarahi Beige/black, 18k miles, fully loaded, sports package, premium package, cold-weather package, sports seat, heated seats, the works, approximately $29k. Not CPO either, so extended warranty is in order. The purchase price differential here can pay for a lot of mods and road trips.

I'd love the M5 (in fact, my wife says I should buy an M5), but I'm worried about the stuff (mainly electronics and sensors) that could go wrong with it. It's just a lot of hassel to diagnose/fix. Does the 530i has similar issues with electronics and sensors ? (MAFS, O2 sensors, CAM sensors etc.)

I'm not in a hurry to buy a car, but this is probably a question I have to answer for myself sooner or later.

Thanks for your opinion.

CP
 

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Listen to your wife! Buy the M5.

I'm driving a loaner e60 525 today. It's like having only half an engine! Heh heh heh. I'm so spoiled now!

:hihi:
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Hi,

I just went out and test drove two 530i 5-speeds. Here's my take. While it is definitely no M5, it's plenty fast enough for me. I'm only as fast as the guy in front of me, and in the Bay Area traffic, the M5 and the RUF are WAY overkills. I can absolutely live with the motor and the transmission of the 530i. I drove a 02 and an 03 back to back, the 03 drove much better than the 02. It might be the car, it might be the general case.

The steering and road feel in the 530 is awesome. It is dialed in so right. I took some corners hard, and the turn in, road grip, etc. are both sharp and crisp. I'm very impressed. I'm sure if I got the 530i, loose the CDV, throw in the Power Chip, a short shifter, and eventually a PSS9 system, M5 spec wheel and tires, it could be an excellent road car.

One more thing, I absolutely love the Kolarahi Beige color. The dealer has the Kolarahi Beige and a Sterling Grey parked side by side, and I just loved the Kolarahi Beige so much more. It is a light color, especially in bright sun. It changes color with light conditions, ala the carbon black, and is more of a brown tone, which is a warmer color. I just love that.

As for the M5. If I had never owned one, I'd buy one now without thinking twice. Since I had one for 4 years, and now the RUF (it's now sounding like a broken record), the necessity for an M5 is not so high anymore. It'd be an enviable garage, but I guess my practical side is taking over for now. Of course, it does not mean that I won't ever own an M5 again. Just takes a little more time.

CP
 

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Seems all logical. But I do think you have a very splendid and supportive wife. You have chosen wisely.

David
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
My dealer has an M5 and the 530i 5-speed that I can drive back-to-back. I may just do that on Friday for a fair comparison. I will keep everyone posted.

CP
 

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Pong,

What's keeping you from getting the '02 M5 other than the CPO issue? Is it because of the CD based navigation system? That can easily be upgraded. I couldn't tell you whether there's much of a difference between the '02 and '03 models other than that.

I think you know the answer to your question, Pong. Whatever you end up choosing, you'll LOVE it.
 

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Pong, have you thought about a 540 at all? It might be harder to find a 2003 in good condition at the same price as the 530, but if you went a bit older (say 2001 and then got the extended warranty) you might be in good shape. Sadly though, you lose the fantastic steering.
:cheers:
 
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Pong,

You should definitely get the M5. This is completely clear from reading the following statement that you made:

"I'm sure if I got the 530i, loose the CDV, throw in the Power Chip, a short shifter, and eventually a PSS9 system, M5 spec wheel and tires, it could be an excellent road car." hmmm

Cheers, Daniel.
 

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BmwNut said:
Pong, have you thought about a 540 at all? It might be harder to find a 2003 in good condition at the same price as the 530, but if you went a bit older (say 2001 and then got the extended warranty) you might be in good shape. Sadly though, you lose the fantastic steering.
:cheers:
I already suggested the same thing but he pointed out that if he'd go for the 540 then a M5 might as well be in the picture. :rolleyes: Can't argue with the man.
 

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Barry said:
Hey Pong, buy mine. My beast is now up for sale with 1 yr left on extended maint and 100k extended war. and just put new tires on(and you can put >$10k in your pocket). Intereted?
Barry,

Say it isn't so! Are you waiting for the E60?

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #20
If it's a 540, then might as well be an M5. In 99% of the cases, the M5 will be a better 'choice' than the 530i. There is no debate that the M5 wins the perfromance aspect hands down. It'll most likely win the fun-to-drive aspect as well. Although with mods, the 530 could be fun as well.

However, at this point, my priorities are, in this order:
Durability/reliability: 530 wins.
Safety: draw.
Long freeway hauls: probably a draw, may be a tad in M5's favor.
Economy to own/operate: 530i wins.
Fun: M5 wins, but.....RUF rules. :)

I will check out the Sterling Grey M5 in Santa Rosa this weekend as well. Gotta do all my home-works.

CP
 
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