525 versus 530

Is the several thousand dollar difference between these models justified in order to get 40 more horsepower out of the engine? The difference is a little more than a $100 per horse.
If one were of that ilk a little retuning of a 525 should be a less expensive alternative . . .
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... both are OK but a 530d or 535d are better!
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Since the OP doesn't state, if he is from the US, then the "d" or diesel option is, unfortunately, not a choice as its unavailable....
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Another consideration is torque. The 525i puts out 185ft-lb of torque; the 530i puts out 220ft-lb. That a 35ft-lb difference. I know on my 90 E34 535i, 5spd, 105K miles, there was a big difference in torque (over 50ft-lb) over the E34 525i. You could definitely feel the difference "off-the-line" between the 2 cars.
I would say drive both cars and see for yourself whether you notice the difference. If not, get the "less expensive alternative"....
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bmoag wrote:

I think there are two factors to consider: 1. Transmission - manual or auto, and 2. the type of driver you are.
Number 2 is probably more important. By type of driver, I mean do you like to rev the engine to high rpms, or do you want an engine that pulls hard from under 3k on the tach. I'm routinely castigated here for my advocation of 4K or higher shift points with my 97 328, for mere casual driving over to the grocery store - note that by shifting at 4K plus, it doesn't mean you have the throttle floored - it just means you shift at 4K, usually under rather light throttle.
Now why is this important? Simple, moving the car takes horsepower (I can show you from F=ma why it is horsepower NOT torque that determines acceleration). There are two ways to get the horsepower (essentially) Large engine at low rpm, so that torque x rpm results in the horsepower that you want, or small engine at high rpm so that, again, torque x rpm results in the horsepower you want. Thus, there is enough horsepower in the 525 for enjoyable driving - IF you are willing to go get it - i.e. rev the thing a bit.
Some people don't like to do this - nothing wrong with that, but which type of person are you? I think this is the biggest factor in your decision.
Number 1: Transmission. With a manual you will have to make the high rpm shifts yourself - with an auto, it will do it by itself, based upon how hard you step on the throttle - again, it's a personal preference thing. However, I would expect that with a car as heavy as the 5 series, with the 2.5 liter engine and a manual trans, you would really need to like 'my' above driving style to enjoy the car. Again, the auto trans will shift at high rpm just by stepping hard on the throttle, and you don't really have to pay any attention to the shift points if you're not into that sort of thing.
Let us know which one you decide to buy.
Frank
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While I agree with most of your comments (assuming the OP is in the US): The 525i is not that heavy - only 150 lbs. more than the 325i and the 2006 525i does not have a 2.5 liter engine - it is a 3 liter with 40hp less than the 530i.
Tom K.
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"Tom K." wrote:

You are correct. Temporary brain freeze - I knew it was a 3 liter engine - I just went with BMW calling it a 525.
What 'might' be interesting is the fact that the rated torque spec of 185 lb-ft for this engine yields a mean effective cylinder pressure of only 153 psi. This is an extremely low value for a BMW engine (my M52 328 is 183 psi, for example) - in fact you should not even need to use premium gas with this engine, as there should be little danger of pinging with such a low pressure.
Makes one wonder - though maybe since it revs to 6250 rpm for max horsepower, they did actually need to 'tune' the intake so much for the higher rpm that considerable torque was sacrificed at lower rpm. In my opinion, it would be a much better engine if tuned for more like 200 plus lb-ft of torque, and max hp at lower rpm like the M52 - even if the max hp were less. Would give nicer throttle response when cruising at 3000 rpm and you want to pull over some of the mountain passes out here where I live.
Even though I like revving an engine, I guess I still like peak power to occur before 6K.
Frank
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