I owned a 2004 530i that I purchased in 2013 for a year and six months and 20,000 miles. In those 20,000 miles the vehicle needed more than $5,000 in maintenance and repair items, and this was a clean 1 owner example that had been meticulously maintained. It needed 4 new brake pads and rotors for $2200, 4 new tires for $1200, all new PCV hoses for $850, Spark Plugs for $300, transmission fluid and filter exchange for $900, water pump and coolant for $75 (DIY), $200 for a sunroof leak and the subwoofer it took out (DIY), and $300 in oil and filter changes. I cringe when I think about how much I spent on this car, only to have it totaled in a flood. However, it was the most solid driving, comfortable and beautiful car I have ever owned. All of the features it had worked from the heated steering wheel, to the complex iDrive system, even after 11 years and 120,000 miles. The engine still purred like a kitten, could bounce off the rev limiter, and the car would still hit 155mph and pull 0.90g in the bends just like when it was new. It never broke down, nor had any problems. All of the items listed above are either wear items, or were replaced preventatively. I can't imagine owning another BMW of this age, as the rubbers and plastics used simply don't hold up over time, however I'd definitely consider owning another newer one. This car is not for the faint of heart, and if you just need a cheap luxury car to drive everyday, I'd go for a Lexus. On the other hand, if you like to work on cars yourself, or want a fun daily driver and are willing to pay for it, the BMW is the best you'll find.
I purchased my 2004 BMW 525 used with 28K miles in 2010 to be used as my commuter car. I can not stand the iDrive that BMW uses in this model year. The cup holders are officially the 10th level of hell. Tires and brakes are three times as expensive as a "normal" sedan. Repairs, though few and far between so far, are costly.
Every few months I will shop around hoping to replace it, refusing to look at another BMW. Every couple of months I go test drive another round of models and makes that I cant bring myself to buy. I love my BMW! Nothing handles like it. Nothing performs like it! Nothing captivates the true essence of the drive like a BMW! Until i can find something better...
This is the first of many BMW's that I will own! This car's interior is amazing for a 2004! Heated everything, power everything! The iDrive wasn't too hard to figure out after a few weeks of owning. It doesn't save my presets to my radio, but that's fine I use my phone. There is no performance to this car, it is VERY slow, but the luxury makes up for it.
We purchased the 525i to replace a Q45t Infiniti. It is a different world. The BMW is much more sporty than the old pillow barge but it is not as comfortable on long road trips (we drive it to Seattle almost every year, ~ 3000 miles RT). I find the drivers seat small and cramped, although my wife likes it fine. Handling is good and the ride is adequate. The 4 year $0 maintenance is good and it was needed. A lot of small problems including a bad window motor, broken cup holders, dashboard computer replaced.
Spectacular gas mileage. Holding at 65 will give 38 mpg on the highway. Averaged 32 mpg over a 1000 mile trip. Solid handling on the road. Great trunk space.
The iDrive is awful, a product designed by engineers for engineers. Cup holders are flimsy and poorly placed. The center console is unusable.
I've had this car for three years now. Although, I really dig this car, I must say it really doesn't handle well in the snow. I've gotten stuck plenty in the snow over the last three years. BMW needs to do something about better winter performance or I will be forced to purchase other vehicles and leave Bimmers alone completely. I can't believe I said that but my safety and well-being come first. My neighbor has a Chevy Cobalt and it gets around better in the snow than my Bimmer EVER could. BMW better think of customer safety if they want my continued business!
Still like the lights most of all.
Better performance in the winter/snow or it's a Chevy for me.