528 96 - 2001

I am going to buy a 5 series BMW. But i noticed that they look the same, would you please tell me which one is the best to buy? What are the main differences between the models from 96 to 2001? what are the
issues to look for?
thank you
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The E39 5-series actually went through 2003. The main difference in the designations (525, 528, 530, 540) is engine size, and (generally) refers to the displacement. Consumer Reports rated the 530i with the highest rating they have ever given a car. YMMV.
FloydR
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"Zeus" wrote

Here you'll find model year changes: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showpost.php?pf72433&postcount 
As for which one to buy, get the youngest one you can afford with the least number of miles and in the best condition obviously. They all have some common issues though, like the cooling system failures, dead pixels in the instrument cluster and radio (MID), suspension bushings, etc. When you talk about a 10 year old car, anything can go at any time. Heck, my 530i is 5 years old (4 when I bought it), and in less than a year, it already cost me $4k for various repairs an maintenance. It's unpredictable really. If you're worried about unexpected repair cost, buy a 2003 with some CPO warranty left or buy an aftermarket extended warranty, but even those extended warranties don't always cover everything.
Pete
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The 528 is probably pick of the bunch for a combination of performance economy and handling. Others will disagree. ;-)
The important thing is to get one which has been looked after - regardless of age or mileage. There are no single expensive issues with this model - but if it had every single common wear problem will need money spent to sort. Hence the need to get one which has been looked after.
--
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

Except that the 530i has 30 more horsepower, better performance (particularly in mid-range), similar economy and handling.

Strongly recommend a car that has documented maintenance over-and-above the BMW "free" maintenance. Maintenance intervals were doubled when it became free and fluids became "lifetime." Neither was good for the long-term ownership equation.
Generally, the car with the lowest miles will be the better buy, "It's not the years, its the mileage."
R / John
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Well possibly - but that's not the subject? ;-)
--
*Rehab is for quitters

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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"John Carrier" wrote

Not always. Some things just go bad with age, regardless of miles... take the rubber moldings around the windshield and rear window - mine were all rotted after 4 years, even though the car only had 30k miles.
If I had to do it over, I think I'd look for a car with more miles but younger. Most of the time a car like that was exposed to mainly hwy driving. And hwy driving is very easy on the car. Even long drain intervals don't do much harm if it's mostly hwy use.
Pete
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Pete wrote:

I wouldn't expect the rubber moldings to have rotted in 10 years, never mind 4, unless the car was parked in an area of high ozone or some-such.
I would take the low mileage car in a heartbeat.
--
-Fred W

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so i shall get the one with the least mileage.. sure that would be the newest model i suppose :-)
One other question that i dont think was clear enough. are these cars copies of each other? Did BMW just sell the same car, just changing the headlights, and saying thats it is a newer model? if that is the case then the 96 model is exactly the 2001 model? if not, what are the apparent and important updates that occured to this model between 96 and 2001 (other than that the 2001 had a new engine)
thanks
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Very little. Some things that were extras at launch became standard on later models. Thing is the E39 was so very right from launch they didn't need to do any updating.
--
*Why do the two "sanction"s (noun and verb) mean opposites?*

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"Zeus" wrote

Are you talking about 528 only or the entire e39 platform. Last year of production for the 528 was 2000, and in fact there was not much changed betw. 1996 and 2000. I think the 528 may have gotten a couple of extra hp in 2000 plus a 5-speed steptronic transmission - see the list of changes I posted in my previous response.
Now, if you're talking about the e39 as a whole, there was a facelift in 2001 (at least in the US, it may have been 2000 in Europe) that included things like projector headlights and other cosmetic changes. In addition, the 2.8 engine was discontinued (528i) and instead the 2.5 (525i) and the 3.0 (530i) appeared. The 540i was available throught the entire e39 production, but the hp/torque was improved at some point, in 1999 if I'm not mistaken.
Pete
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"Fred W" wrote

Well, the car was/is used in south Florida, but on various BMW forums I've seen so many e39 owners with these rubber moldings rotting just like mine, and they are located all over north america. Unfortunately, not everything on this car has been made to last.
Pete
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Pete wrote:

And some never rot. I've had two E39's so far. Original molding all the way around and not a sign of rot. It's environmental conditions that cause the rot. I have to agree with Fred (which is rare.. but..)
Not a big deal since it's about a 15 minute job to replace these moldings.
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"admin" wrote

That may be, but the fact that I don't see other 4-year-old cars' molding rot like that makes me think the BMW rubber is not so good.
Anyway, it's a small gripe I guess. I already replaced my front molding. Still have to buy and replace the back one.
Pete
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The original door molding is still on our '91 525i. There are no problems with my '01 330xi. YMMV, but I think you've been unlucky.
FloydR
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"Floyd Rogers" wrote

Floyd, it's the outside front/rear window moldings - the ones directly exposed to the sun. My door moldings are fine.
Pete
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The rubber ones on our '91 are still fine. (shrug) The seal for the sunroof is tatty.
FloydR
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admin wrote:

No it's not!

Pish posh. 16 minutes if it's one. ;-)
--
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