Which year of 530i to buy?

Asked by May 28, 2009 at 05:49 PM about the 2003 BMW 5 Series 530i

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

Hello, I'm planning on buying a 530i within a few days and i have a few questions. Are there any major difference between the 2000-2004 E39s? At BMW of Newport (http://www.bmwofnewport.com) they have a great deal on a 2001 530i which I'm really considering.
Any help is appreciated, Thanks!!

29 Answers


there are no major changes made to the e39s from 2001 - 2004. only changes made were cosmetic. like the cars from 2003 had extra crome ,only changes made was on optional nav/ tv. screens went from 4;3 to 16;9. there was no changes made to stock cars. all changes made were on optional spec . eg; auto steptronic gear box became smg. the 540 recived most of the cosmetic upgrades. but in genral from year 2000 are the best most relaibe e39s money can buy. my advice buy it while you can, not many e39s come up for sale as most people have got no reason to sell, little known fact that the bmw e39 got rated the best car in the world for its life . and it still is better than most uptodate modern rivals. buy buy buy you will never look back. trust me.

12 out of 12 people think this is helpful.

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/carreviews/usedcartests/44251/bmw_5series.html. this is the link to the review of the bmw e39 5 series.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I agree with Alex. I've got the 530i Sport and had no problems what so ever. Its comfortable, fast, got all the extra's and is a pleasure to drive around town or throw it round the country roads.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

i thought 04 got a new grill? if so get the 04. the others look old and ugly. just my opinion though. always seems when i see older bimmers that people are trying to be ballers by having a bmw but cant afford it.


Changes by model year (US) this is from wikipedia. my advice is buy it, while you can. 2000 BMW E39 540i Series [edit] 1996 The 1996 model year 5 series E39 was introduced into the US market in late 1995. Models available were the 528i with a I6, and the 540i with a M62 V8. [edit] 1997 In 1997 the E39 went through minor design changes. The on-board computer, called the Multi-Information System (MID), was upgraded in mid '97. [edit] 1998 In 1998 optional rear side airbags became available, and both models also gained BMW's exclusive new Head Protection System, which consists of two tubular bags that inflate upon a side impact and pop out just above each front door. A new Sport Package for the 528i and 540i, as well as an automatic transmission 540i were added options. The Sport Package included black body trim (standard models had chrome around the top of the windows), a sport-tuned suspension, and 17-inch (430 mm) wheels and tires. In September 1998, the 540i's M62B44 was updated to the M62TUB44, adding 15 ft·lbf (20 N·m) of torque. 1998 BMW E39 540i Executive Sport EditionThe high-performance M5 sedan returned to the BMW fold. Built in limited numbers, the M5 used a 400 hp (300 kW) V8 S62, and came with a firmer suspension, 18 inch wheels, a 6-speed manual transmission, and exclusive interior trim. Lower-body rear side airbags were standard on the M5, remaining optional for other models. [edit] 1999 1999 saw the introduction of the Touring (station wagon) body style and joined sedans in both 6-cylinder and V8 editions. Added options for 1999 were brighter xenon headlights, Park Distance Control that warns of obstacles when backing up, and self-leveling rear suspension for wagons. Standard on V8 models and newly optional for 528i versions was BMW's Dynamic Stability Control, designed to aid control in fast turns. [edit] 2000 In 2000, rain-sensing windshield wipers and xenon headlamps became standard on the 540i, and were newly available for 528i models. The "M Sport" package was added (replacing the standard sport package), and included the M Sport steering wheel, door sills, and shift knob. The 528i versions also gained the 540i's standard stability control system. All models now had daytime running lights, and fog lamps. [edit] 2001 For the 2001 model year, BMW updated the E39 with newer, clear-lens tail, side marker, and headlights which first displayed the now-popular "angel eyes." Rear tail lights were changed to LEDs (Hella, the OEM, refers to these lights as "CELIS"), while the side and rear turn signals were changed from amber lenses to clear. The black trim was now painted to match the body color, and the front bumper now featured rounded fog lights. Internally many changes were made to electronics; items such as window regulators and the air conditioning were updated. The 528i was replaced by the 530i which had a new 168 kW (225 hp) M54B30 3.0 L inline-6. A new entry-level 525i was introduced featuring a 137 kW (184 hp) M54B25 2.5 L I6 and a slightly lower price. The available navigation system was changed to a wide screen version, which also included satellite (cable) television channels and GPS. [edit] 2002 Updated E39 sedan (US)In 2002, BMW Steptronic-equipped E39s had their manual shift direction switched to match BMW's SMG. Also, in 2002 the 540i V8 32V engine power was increased from 210 kW (282 hp) to 216 kW (290 hp) while torque remained the same. All models got a standard in-dash CD player, 6-cylinder models added a standard power passenger seat, and the 525i received automatic climate control standard. Consumer Reports declared the 2002 BMW E39 the best car they had ever reviewed. [edit] 2003 2003 marked the last year for the E39 platform; they were differentiated by the addition of extra chrome trim on the trunk (boot) and on the sides of the body. In all 6-cylinder model 5-Series add a standard sunroof. The optional navigation systems upgraded from CD-ROM format (8 CDs to cover the entire USA and Canada) to single DVD-ROM. The optional sport package on the 540i carried parts from M-technic. This included a full M-tech ground effects, M-tech II suspension, 18 inch wheels, and a variety of M badging. The E39 wagon (touring / estate) was continued into the 2004 model year until the touring version of the new E60 5 Series was released

15 out of 15 people think this is helpful.

i thought the 04 was different from the 03. get the 04 if you can afford it.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

03 was the last of the e39 shape, the estate/wagon was continued untill 04, but from 04 onwards is the new e60 shape, wich had alot of electrical problems and had the most recalls to date of any bmw, ideal you want the 06 onwards as all niggles have been sorted. but it not to everybodys taste , as the new shape isnt as aggresive looking.tho reading on the net alot of people were dissapointed with the e60, as its not any better to drive. tho i must admit i do like the new shape 6 series, i quite fancy a m6 and i do like your car the 300c, now they are gangster, massive road presence, not driven one but they look awsome . i seen alot for sale becoming quite a good used bargin.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

wow i never knew the 04 had so many problems. they look baller though haha. thanks for the compiment on the 300C also. im trying to sell mine for an upgrade to the SRT version. ive had zero problems with mine. and the hemi really cranks out some pwoer and gets great mileage too. i suggest going to a dealership and test driving one for fun lol. thats what i did. i test drove a 328, is300, c-class benz, and the 300C. hands down was the 300C. it wasnt a hard choice at all. plus the sound system is unrivaled in any car i have ever been in(stock form).

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

yea i do like the 300c, plus if i was gonna hav one, it would hae to be hemi, i currently got a bmw m5 aswell , 400bhp stock, awsome drive, but i think i will check one out , as wen the time comes i have been considering a 300c in black to replace my 530. what sorta gear they come with stock, as in dvd players sat nav ?


yeah the "C" at the end is the hemi model. otherwise its jsut a regualr 300. anyways, the stock system comes with a full boston acoustic system. sub included. there is 2 versions of it also. i dont know if its the enclosures or what but its unrivaled in anything ive ever been in. test drive the SRT if you can. the 420 hp is a ton of fun and the system is the same. plus if you pull the computer memory fuse for fifteen seconds and then turn traction control off keep a good grip cause the tires will be all over the place haha.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

there was a slight update to the e39 in 2001

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I would definitely avoid the 2000 model. They seems to have a problem with the attraction control chip on most of them. I have quite few friends who like me own a BMW 5 series 2000 model & in all of these cars the attraction control light has came up. Taking it to the dealership multiple time & still with no luck to fix. I have at the end posted my car for sale on http://www.mecarz.com/bmw.html I am trying to just get rid of it as without the attraction control chip the BMW just drift like crazy even at lower speed. I am putting the car for sale for about $2000, which is way less than I bought it. But with the chip being out of coverage its just crazy to keep the car.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

there is no attraction control chips what are you talking about anyways i would get 2001 and up because the 2000 model has a lot of coolant system problems pumps go bad after 100,000 miles


im guessing he means the asc/dsc.. attraction control switch... traction control?? and he mentions its slides lol


Purchased 03 525ia sedan (saloon) 9 mos. ago and have performed maintenance on it from engine oil service to automatic transmission flush service (not drain and fill). Have also replaced several light bulbs, especially the amber colored bulbs which were flaking the amber colored coating. Other than that, the car has been problem free, with no intermittent lights, no dead pixels on the instrument cluster or MID/radio, most importantly no engine issues ie. noises, oil usage, leaks, overheating, etc. Did research on servicing the ZF 5HP19-TT (BMW-A5S 325Z) automatic transmission in the car after reading numerous internet forum posts from fellow E39 owners commenting on the subject. I took a sample from the trans. pan drain plug, with the car registering 92k miles and the fluid that came out was almost black but did not have a scorched or burnt smell. Performed a trans. and trans. oil cooler flush, pan and magnets cleanup, and replaced the trans. filter, pan seal, pan bolts, cooler lines o-rings, and drain and fill plugs. Car performs superbly...

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Thanks Alex. I really appreciate your insgights. I'm looking to buy a 2003 E39. Is this is a good buy? Or which is the best E39? Is 2002 as good?

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

please quote the price of new model of BMW!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I have a 2005 for sale www.hudsonautotrade.com B-)


im my specilast opinion stay away from 5 series dey are ver troublesum nd defanatly stay away from a turbo man ha


Have had my 2001 530i sportspack since 2004 (almost 10 years now) and I have 150,000 miles on it. Even though I now have a 2006 750i as well which I drive to work, the 530i is more fun to drive and I still love it which is why I have held on to it. I have maintained it consistently, and the engine is still strong and it is still a really great car. If you drive it right, it is quite efficient too. I often average 26 mpg or greater on a 300 mile trip to my cabin, which has about 1 hour of windy hills and elevates to 7200 ft. In 2002 consumer reports rated it the best car they have ever tested. Sure it is 12 years old now, but it still drives better than many current cars. If you enjoy driving, you will love it. Very comfortable for freeway crusing or blasting windy roads fast. Main difference between 2000 and 2001 models, are cosmetic changes (incl. "angel eyes" headlamps), a more powerful engine and a new "smart" transmission with tiptronic. In my view the transmission is one of the best features of this car. It gears down for you (in sport mode) on hard breaking, auto-changes gears when you hit 6200 revs and gives you great control in tiptronic. Ltd slip diff makes it fast off the line also. Enjoy...

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Agree-I bought 2001 530 I loaded-maintain it like a baby best car I have ever drive drove them all including Bugatti's etc

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I have an E39, a 528i from year 2000. It has almost 275,000 miles on it (I purchased it with 28,000). It's gotten somewhat more expensive to maintain, because there are wear items with an absolute life (some of the cooling system parts--people with E39's will be aware). But, all in all, it's been an amazing car. I CANNOT tell the difference in the car's feel-- quietness, power and response, tightness of body--between now and when I bought it. I'm currently looking for a 2003 E39 (a 530i), to replace it.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

I'm looking at purchasing a 2003 530i sedan with 85K. My mechanic said the only problem he noted on the car was (a) a faulty, crooked front passenger seat, (b) a cracked oil filter housing. Questions:- 1. Can the seat be repaired or will it have to be replaced? 2. When the housing is being repaired/replaced, should I have any other important maintenance done like transmission flush. Filters and seals replaced, belts and hoses replaced? 3. Are there any other issues common to this model and year that I should look out for and take care of? I await your responses. Thanks in advance.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

OBOne, the "cracked oil filter housing" is probably actually the gasket... they start to weep a bit after a decade, and the seat problem is just the cable. The outer sheath stretches with time, and a zero-cost fix is to shorten it, or you can replace the cable. Other faults that will occur precisely on schedule with German efficiency are; 1) The torque converter clutch seal will fail sometime between 105-120k miles, 2) the ribbon cable contacts will become relaxed on the MID display and pixels will start to go (again an inexpensive repair), 3) the water pump will fail or start leaking by 120k miles and 4) all your suspension bushings will need to be replaced by then as well. If you have it all done at a stealership the tab would be about 10k, but you could get it done much cheaper. The only thing I would not do at the dealer is the clutch seal since they will replace it with the same item which will fail on schedule 100k later. Level10 in NJ is the place to go for that since they developed an improved seal that ends the problem for good. All the same, even if you dumped 10k into the car to set yourself up for the next 150k miles you could not buy yourself cheaper and more enjoyable driving from any dealer show room. I'll keep my '03 530i until it rusts away or gets totalled regardless the cost. It's the finest all-round sedan ever made, and if you don't thrash it you will be aware of and appreciate every minute of the thousands of hours you will spend driving it.

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.

These are some awesome cars and can be pretty dependable if maintained well.I have a alpine white 1999 BMW E39 528i with sport package with 243,xxx on original engine and transmission.Car runs and shifts like brand new and build quality is better then most new offerings.Cooling system issues is a main factory because everything is made out of plastic and will fail.When one item fails its best to just replace every plastic component including thermostat housing,water pump,radiator,coolant reservoir,coolant heater & inlet pipes(under intake manifold and will cost close to $1000 to repair)and fan clutch.Also some other issues are leaking valve cover gaskets,oil filter housing gasket leak,failed window regulators,drive shaft center support bearing and flex disk(also known as guibo or giubo)and rear sub frame bolts ripping(not as prone as 3 series).Just remember most of these items fail with mileage and its best to tackle these things before they fail then after.Another thing is BMW sealed lifetime fluid transmissions which includes(GM French built units & ZF units)that insist fluid should last a lifetime however what is a lifetime to BMW? 100K?120K?150K?You never know so its best to change fluid every 40- 60K miles if you don't want any problems.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Another thing to consider,it does not really matter what year E39 you buy,just make sure that you have a good mechanic look over vehicle or if you have knowledge do so yourself.If car is not maintained you will definitely have problems.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.

do NOT buy the 04 530i in my opinion its the ugliest body style ever made to date on 5 series any of the E39's would be the way to go the E60's have hidious headlights i would recommend the 03 530 sports package i love it and havent had a single problem shes at 70,000 miles and drives just as great as she did at 10,000

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I own a 2000 BMW 328i with 59 k and a 2001 530 ! Sport ! Both cars always need a sensor here and there but if you take the time to learn the M62 MOTOR there isn't a better sedan around ! Mpower rules the roadway in DAYTONA beach


Any suggestions on a idle control valve problem??? Bad start for 2 seconds then car is fine !! No current code ! But I did replace maf and had two codes maf and idcv can anyone tell me how to clean the valve without removing it ??

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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