After seeing and driving the 2004 E60 5 Series, I immediately leased the last 2003 E39 540i at my dealer. At the end of the lease, I still didn't find a better car, so bought the car from the leasing company! Now after 7 years and 76,000 miles this car continues to impress. I've been fortunate to own many high end cars, but the E39 540i has been one of the best. It has pleasing styling, a comfortable, stylish interior and great ride/handling balance. Mine has had some reliability issues: door locks, power seat cables, and radiator, all covered under warranty or extended warranty. I know this can be an expensive car to fix as it ages and I should replace is soon, but with what?
Torquey V8, supple ride, decent handling. Styling, comfortable seats and driving position.
The transmission programming could be better, full throttle shifts are slow, particularly the 1-2 shift. Plastic radiator tank should be aluminum. Door seals tend to creak and the fix is elusive, could be improved.
I read some reviews that talk of the cup holders and other issues. We bought our 2003 525i and simply love it. The thing is on rails but also feels heavy but responsive. The weight is good for absorbing road imperfections. Just feels solid. Performance is nice, just need to hit the sport tronic trans at right rpm range. This car looks better than the newer model and BMW has changed it back to the E39 style with a more squat body. I had to change the alternator, but like our broken cup holder, alternator, and brakes, all of which I changed myself with the Bentley E39 Service Manual and the write tools and she is as tight as, well tight feels good. We Just Love Her, Silvia, because it's silver.
Purchased from a private party with 25K on the odometer. Currently have about 99.4K miles on it. This has been far the most reliable car we've ever owned - Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Mazda. When you do basic maintenance yourself, ownership costs are somewhat comparable to many other brands. Just have to keep an eye out on the cooling system, heard that this was/is the weakest part of the E39's (so far no problems with mine). Average MPG during summer months: 24-27
Smooth, bulletproof inline 6 engine. Tight chassis, relatively quiet interior, great balance between ride and handling. Easy to do oil changes.
I love the handling, the ride, & the fuel efficiency. The engine power is only slightly lacking. However, a car must also be reliable. This car requires repairs every 8 to 12 weeks (seriously). Thank god for the extended warranty. I fear the day the extended warranty expires & I still owe monthly payments. I love this car&hate its ongoing issues: new radiator; new plastic radiator reservoir; washer fluid pump failure (3 times); pcv valve failure ($700 to repair) & my personal favorite is when the seat warmer caught fire. The car is awesome to drive and looks like poetry in motion but my 30 year old Ford truck has been more reliable. German efficiency does not seem to include reliability
Handling is smooth with agile cornering. Fuel efficiency is near 30 mpg highway at 80 MPH - surprising for such a large and heavy vehicle. The design is timeless and beautiful (much better than the later 5 series).
A luxury car must be reliable. My BMW is not. BMW practically begged the Japanese & American luxury car companies to take market share with the BMW lack of long term reliability. It looks like a BMW is made to last about 60K before breaking down. This is my second & LAST BMW. BMW = bring my wallet
Original owner. Not as quick as my old 325 but still good. 30+mpg on trip on reg or mid grade. A good car with little trouble past the warranty except for display digits dying which was fixed gratis by dealer. OEM Pirelli tires were noisy from get go and after several attempts of balance and rotation I ditched them for Michelin Exalto All Season and have been happy ever since. Dealer again shared the pain with free install and alignment as comp for OEM cheapies.
Handling, quality of interior, and performance along with mpg
Probably would opt for a bit more oomph on next one. Avoid Pirelli as OEM tire. Need a real spare allo. no run flats to replace at $$$$$. It's the excitement and drive not the electronic gimmicks BMW.