Used 2002 BMW 5 Series Review

Edmunds expert review

Every vehicle in the 5 Series lineup is a wonderful car. If you can afford to buy one, we recommend that you do. Sure, there are other great cars out there in this price range; we just think this is one of the best.

What's new for 2002

This year a standard CD player, climate control and power seats. The 4.4-liter V8 of the 540 now makes 290 horsepower, up 8 from last year. Rear side-impact airbags are now a no-charge option, rather than standard.

Vehicle overview

The 5 Series follows BMW's fine tradition of embodying a "true driver's car" and is offered in four flavors for 2002: the base 525i, the mid-level 530i, the top-level 540i and the high-performance M5. In addition to the sedan body style, a wagon is also available in 525i and 540i versions.

A 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder engine that makes 185 horsepower moves the 525i models. This base model comes with a standard five-speed manual transmission, or it can be optioned with a five-speed Steptronic automanual transmission. Step up to the 530i, and you get a 3.0-liter inline six that makes a healthy 225 horsepower at 5,900 rpm and 214 pound-feet of torque at 3,500 rpm.

Under the hood of the 540i sedan and wagon sits a 4.4-liter 32-valve V8 that manages 0-to-60 times in the low 6s. With 290 horsepower at their command, these Bavarian barnstormers are a blast on the open road. The powerplant comes mated to either a six-speed manual or a five-speed Steptronic automanual (the 540i Sport Wagon comes only with the auto) for those who find the BMW stick-shifts a bit too demanding in stop-and-go traffic. The suspension is pleasantly firm on this lively model, making even the most docile of drivers feel like Michael Schumacher.

As one would expect in a top-end luxury/sport vehicle, equipment levels are first-rate. Standard fare includes a 10-speaker premium sound system, car and key programmable memory, dual-zone air conditioning, eight-way power adjustments with memory settings and cruise control with steering wheel controls. All-Season Traction Control (AST), Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Dynamic Brake Control are standard on all 5 Series cars.

Standard safety equipment includes dual-stage front airbags, door-mounted front side airbags and head-protection airbags for front passengers. The optional Rear Side-Airbag package also includes head-protection airbags. Three-point seatbelts at all seating positions, impact sensors that unlock the doors and activate the hazard lights in the event of a serious accident, remote keyless entry, two-step unlocking, coded drive-away protection and a vehicle security system are also standard. To list all of the 5 Series' luxury options would take more space than we have. A few of the more noticeable ones include a Cold Weather package with heated front seats, Park Distance Control, a navigation system and 17-inch wheels with performance tires.

The 5 Series continues to be one of our favorite luxury cars currently offered. No matter what you are looking for, something in this lineup will likely suit you.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.