2006 BMW 5 Series 530xi 4dr Wagon AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
I absolutely loved my 530 xi wagon and put over 175,000 miles on it before things started to go bad. It still rode like a car only a year old and looked new after 12 years. Great visibility and flexibility while keeping the handling of a performance car (without the higher center of gravity of an SUV and low enough for my dog to jump in). I held off getting a new car, hoping against hope, to get a new one - the difference between the 5 wagon and the 3 wagon was night and day. And now they aren't going to make either. I initially thought the turning headlights wasn't so important but now that I've had them, they are a "must" for future cars for me. Most cars have heated seats, some heated steering wheels but I found the quality of the heat was different/better on this 5 - instead of feeling like electric coils, it enveloped me in a gel-like warmth. unbelievable difference. And my mpg was only 1 mpg under my son's subaru!
2006 BMW 5 Series 530xi 4dr Sedan AWD (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
Yup, here it is November of 2017 and I just went out and bought a pristine twelve year old 530xi. It only has 71k miles, was a one-owner ('older gentleman', like me) who obviously pampered and maintained his car meticulously. The car has such an impeccable maintenance history, and was in such awesome condition, that the BMW dealership who serviced the car for the last seven years decided to offer it for sale themselves after taking it in trade, instead of wholesaling it or taking it to auction. THAT says something!! And truly, I can't imagine how, or even if, the car could have operated any better when it was first delivered. I searched for six months hoping for this specific model to appear, and hoped that if one did it would be in this kind of condition. I eschew force inducted engines and, other than M-engines, this is the most powerful inline non-turbo’d 6 BMW ever sold in North America. I am positively thrilled with it. It’s truly the unmatched chassis dynamics, the unique combination of ride quality and superb handling dynamics that sets even this older BMW apart from other, newer cars , even BMW’s newer cars. I test drove a 2011 535 6-spd manual and was not at all impressed, which matches an earlier impression made a while back by a 2013 335xdrive. IMHO ‘BMW’ today might as well stand for ‘Buicks, Munichs Way’, (but I’m sure that company shareholders are happy). In contrast, the E60 5-series is the epitome of their ‘ultimate driving machine’ credo and their voodoo-like art of passive suspension tuning. The same vintage Infiniti M35x and Mercedes E500 AWD cars I also drove paled in comparison. But it took no more than moving 50 feet in the dealership parking lot in this 530xi to instantly realize that this was the car I wanted to drive every day. It’s almost magical. Sure, it’s been only a couple of weeks with this car but I’m in love again. The car epitomizes what is meant by ‘planted’ and secure handling. I feel much more confident running this car along curvy roads, even at faster speeds than I did my former smaller, more ‘sporting’ 2008 335xi. It’s got that classic ‘how-do-they-do-it’ unique blend of handling AND ride quality that only BMW knew how to provide for so many decades. My car has the iDrive NAV system and yes, they overdid it with this thing. Almost everything must be done through the controller; there aren’t even any simple radio buttons one can use to change stations! It takes some getting used to and a commitment to studying the manual. Apparently designed to mimic the operating logic Blackberry and Treo cellphone users were accustomed to back then, it winds up being needlessly complicated and clumsy to use for everyone else; clearly inferior to the system I had in my 2007 Infiniti G35x. But not impossible; I’ve fairly quickly become accustomed to it and it’s not all that bad once you get over the learning curve. I also have Park Distance Control which is a Godsend. I’d probably prefer a rearview camera (again, like my Infiniti had) but this is the next best thing. The Logic 7 sound system still holds its own today, and the Heads-Up display is a cool option that I now don’t ever want to live without again. All around heated seats and steering wheel are awesome, and the ‘Comfort Access’ system means I never have to pull the keyfob out of my pocket or plunk it into the ignition slot. Here’s the killer part of this whole thing: according to MSN Auto, this car, with its complement of specific options, had an original MSRP of just under $61,000 back in 2006. I just bought it from an authentic BMW dealer, with new tires, all maintenance updated, including essentially new brakes, for just over $10,000. Granted, twelve year old E60 Bimmers in this kind of condition and with these low miles aren’t just growing on trees, but with persistence they do pop up now and again. If you can find one, it will not only be among the least amount of money you could spend for a car of its capability and quality, but the best money you would probably spend by far compared to anything else in this price range. I couldn’t possibly have spent $10,000 on a better, more satisfying used car! Even if a few expensive things 'pop' in the near future, the money I saved buying this car over less satisfying alternatives will easily cover it. If you value how a car feels running along the road, even on a simple errand to the convenience store, and you’re like the cheap old ex-New Englander I am who prizes ‘VALUE’, ‘beating the system’, and being far ahead in the car owning game, start hunting down a well-optioned, well cared for E60 5-series BMWs; the last of the real ‘ultimate driving machines’.
UPDATE; Seven Months Later.... No change in my opinion. This remains the best car I’ve ever owned. I used to say that my 2004 (first gen) Cadillac CTS-V (aka; ‘four door Corvette’) was the most satisfying car I had ever owned but now this car has that crown too. Awesome!!
All in all it's a great car. The performance and ride when in tip top shape is unbeatable for the amount of miles it acquires. The problem is maintaining that tiptop status is unrelenting after 150k. Literally 5k a year in maintenance repairs at least. I'm to the point to where I'm used to riding with at least 1 or 2 alerts constantly telling me to fix something.