Bought this car as a CPO in 2002 when it had <20k mi on it, replacing my 93 325i. Pluses: A joy to drive, no question. Can be thrown into corners almost with impunity. Great touring car, can drive all day w/no fatigue. Excellent sound system. Classy exterior design. Power out the wazoo. Legendary braking. Downsides: Eats tires even with proper inflation (stagger prevents rotation) - typ. 15-20k on rear, 30k front (all-seasons). Expensive routine mx. Expensive non-routine mx. Cupholders are for decoration only - go aftermarket or avoid drinks. CD changer not bump tolerant.
Proper cupholders or no cupholders - you're always tempted to use them and always regret it.
I've owned my 540i 6 speed sport for one year now. Although its going on 8 years old and 103K miles, it doesn't have a single rattle - the build quality is exceptional. The torque of the V8 is addictive and takes the car from an everyday commuter to track day hooligan. Two car seats fit great in the back and even though I'm putting in premium at >$3 a gallon, I'm getting 24 mpg on the highway in 6th gear. These cars are more maintenance intensive than your everyday Japanese appliance, but the drive is worth it!
I bought the car used and had a little trepidation about the reliability of the car. The exterior design of this car is unbeatable bar none. I have the performance 17 inch wheels and the ride is harsh to say the least. The road noise from the tires are too loud. But the car looks and runs so well that I can overlook those few faults. Also I have to take into account that the car is six years old.
The exterior design, the high quailty leather seats and other interior designs.
Can't really think of anything to improve this car. Just keep building them.
I bought a "certified" BMW and had NOTHING but problems since I bought it. I have had three different severe problems with the cooling system alone and this is with a car with only 50,000 miles on it. All three cooling system problems happened three weeks after my "certified" maintenance expired and each cost approx $1000 to fix and left me stranded. This car drives nice and is fast and all but mechanically it is a nightmare and it totally unreliable. And again, it was a "certified" car when I bought it. BEWARE: BMW service like brakes and regular service is EXPENSIVE! $1000 just for front brakes which you need every 25,000 miles or so. I am not happy and getting rid of the car.
It is very fast and comfortable. It is the ultimate driving machine but you will pay out of your pocket big time for the driving enjoyment. It is a rocket, but it consumes gas (18.7 MPG for me). I really like the steering and comfort and it is a very cool car to be in. Mine is a sport model.
The cooling system is a mess. Radiators failing, entire cooling systems failing, hoses failing, it seems to be always something wrong with the cooling system and NOTHING is cheap to fix. Spent a fortune