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View Full Version : Bulletproof BMW which one?


Muddy4DSM
07-12-2011, 12:09 PM
Im not talking about literally bulletproof (which I realize is an option), but what model of BMW out there have people really found to be the best BMW out there? Which models have you owned that have given you the least amount of headaches and maintenance issues?

I have personally owned a 2002 540i and the only issue I had with it was frying the alternator, but that was my own fault. Other than that, I had a door lock go bad and that was about it in the 3 years I owned it. I know this model is prone to coolant issues and that may be a deal breaker, but what other models have been pretty worry free?

need4speed
07-13-2011, 11:18 AM
I'm not sure there is a BMW(or any modern gadget filled car) that one would term "bullet proof". Some are more reliable than others. I think the biggest difference is how much a a PITA/danger the break down is. Is it a window regulator or a radiator going? Does the HPFP completely kill the motor while on the interstate or does it let you limp into the dealer? You pay you dollar, (or in our case lots of dollars) and take your chances. N4S

fivepointnine
07-23-2011, 07:18 PM
I would say an old E30, you still see TONS of them on the road. most of the M54 powered BMW's seem to be really reliable (engine/tranny wise, not taking into account electric issues)

ProRail
07-23-2011, 10:13 PM
I would say an old E30, you still see TONS of them on the road. most of the M54 powered BMW's seem to be really reliable (engine/tranny wise, not taking into account electric issues)

You could browse through this forum and find lots of old Bimmers that are still running. for instance, my E-39 is still going great with just a few major replacements. Generally, if you take care of them they last almost forever.

Andrew*Debbie
07-24-2011, 02:06 AM
Which models have you owned that have given you the least amount of headaches and maintenance issues?


So far, our 2008 MINI Cooper has had ZERO issues. This is the first trouble-free BMW built car we've owned.

For real BMWs our 1990 e34 had the least and our 1996 e36/5 had the most number of headaches and issues.

mikenice
07-24-2011, 08:52 AM
That's an interesting question. I'd like to hear more.

Fast Bob
07-24-2011, 09:14 AM
I`ve owned & driven BMWs since 1980, and every succeeding generation has become less reliable (lots more plastic crap components , too many overly-complicated systems, too much unnecessary crap like Self-Adjusting clutches, CDV, etc.), and less able to live up to the name "The Ultimate Driving Machine". Looks like those days are gone forever....the E39 and E46 are the last of the "DIY-friendly" BMWs....all newer models bring a whole sh!tload of new technological problems to the table, most of which are beyond the grasp of the typical backyard mechanic (i.e., you and me). In the future, owning any out-of-warranty BMW will be a very painful experience.

dalekressin
07-24-2011, 09:42 AM
I`ve owned & driven BMWs since 1980, and every succeeding generation has become less reliable (lots more plastic crap components , too many overly-complicated systems, too much unnecessary crap like Self-Adjusting clutches, CDV, etc.), and less able to live up to the name "The Ultimate Driving Machine". Looks like those days are gone forever....the E39 and E46 are the last of the "DIY-friendly" BMWs....all newer models bring a whole sh!tload of new technological problems to the table, most of which are beyond the grasp of the typical backyard mechanic (i.e., you and me). In the future, owning any out-of-warranty BMW will be a very painful experience.

yes and also true of an Audi, Bently, Cadilac, Porsche, Telsa ect:thumbup:

TRS550
07-24-2011, 09:51 AM
My vote would be E28 and E34 5'ers. While they all have tons of miles on them now, they are built like frickin tanks.

drive by72
07-24-2011, 11:55 AM
e30

/thread

my old e30 had 240k miles and started right up every time, even after sitting in the driveway in the dead of winter for 4 months. not only that, the m20 is so easy to work on. i mean, you can see the spark plugs even. and, because its a simple sohc 12 valve engine, itl run with half the sensors disconnected. e30 ftw

Yorgi
07-24-2011, 12:22 PM
I`ve owned & driven BMWs since 1980, and every succeeding generation has become less reliable (lots more plastic crap components , too many overly-complicated systems, too much unnecessary crap like Self-Adjusting clutches, CDV, etc.), and less able to live up to the name "The Ultimate Driving Machine". Looks like those days are gone forever....the E39 and E46 are the last of the "DIY-friendly" BMWs....all newer models bring a whole sh!tload of new technological problems to the table, most of which are beyond the grasp of the typical backyard mechanic (i.e., you and me). In the future, owning any out-of-warranty BMW will be a very painful experience.+100

The electronics BMW are installing are getting out of hand. Combine this with the fact that BMW cannot make reliable electronics and are using way too much of their bio-degradable low-silicon-content plastics means reliability is going down the tubes on the latest cars.

I find I am better than the dealer at diagnosing problems, especially if they involve electronics or something that has not thrown a code. You pretty much have to have a copy of DIS/SSS running on your laptop to work on your car.

For what it's worth I found my two E46 more reliable than my E30.

MMME30W
07-24-2011, 12:39 PM
Im not talking about literally bulletproof (which I realize is an option), but what model of BMW out there have people really found to be the best BMW out there? Which models have you owned that have given you the least amount of headaches and maintenance issues?

I have personally owned a 2002 540i and the only issue I had with it was frying the alternator, but that was my own fault. Other than that, I had a door lock go bad and that was about it in the 3 years I owned it. I know this model is prone to coolant issues and that may be a deal breaker, but what other models have been pretty worry free?

My E46 was reasonably reliable, at least until I sold it. I did not enjoy the cooling system issues, and the Xenon (ZKW) headlights were a continual problem.

In buying my new car, I was looking for more reliability/less problems, so I opted for a normally aspirated I6 328i vs the turbo, and standard Halogen headlights, having been burned by the Xenon light thing. So less to go wrong, at least incrementally.

Having said that, by any measure, a modern BMW is fairly complex. I agree with Fast Bob the E46 was fairly DIY friendly, compared to the E90 at least. Still, I'm very much enjoying my E90 and am looking forward to the end of the break-in period in about 350 miles. :bigpimp:

MotorMark
07-25-2011, 11:09 AM
My '94 E36 (318i) had 206,000 miles on it when I sold it to my mechanic. In the entire 14 years I drove it, the only component that I had to replace that would not be considered regular maintenance (brake pads, belt, etc) was a voltage regulator. It still had the original clutch in it, paint looked great, interior looked great. I can only hope that my '01 530i can continue this trend.

Rstyman
08-05-2012, 09:17 AM
I have a 2002 540 and I have 127,000 miles on it now. All I have done is breaks and an alternator. Was not hard, found alternator on amazon for $220.00 and that eat alot better then the $499.00 from the local autoparts store. It's like a rock and I love it! I am sure you will have a good long relationship with your 01 530.

crowz
08-05-2012, 09:50 AM
Well I wont claim the e46 is the most reliable for everyone since it seems people have a habit of killing them for some reason.

But my 2000 323i is working its way to 300,000 miles and is still on the original automatic transmission which I took to over 130 mph again this morning. Im not sure why I did it but I did.

Its been super reliable. Im on the factory automatic trans, all the cooling system except the clutch fan and waterpump is stock. Alternator is still the original. Battery lasted 12 years, just replaced it.

Control arms, struts etc was done at 2nd service. So they have 150k on them or something so its getting about time to do them. Rear differential mount needs replacing and its getting about time to paint it.

The headlight lenses need replacing. Thats about it.

Ive seen hondas and toyotas that haven't come near my bmw for reliability.

So by definition Id call that bullet proof but others results haven't been as good as mine.

EconoBox
08-09-2012, 09:57 AM
Headlights can be buffed out in under 1 hour the first time.
Wet sand 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500.
Then drill/orbital buff with plastic polish.
Then UV coat

e30lebanon
08-15-2012, 12:48 PM
German 98 540i with 378k km here! more reliable than the 2003 X5 with 100k miles..

R2dmax
08-15-2012, 01:31 PM
e30

/thread

my old e30 had 240k miles and started right up every time, even after sitting in the driveway in the dead of winter for 4 months. not only that, the m20 is so easy to work on. i mean, you can see the spark plugs even. and, because its a simple sohc 12 valve engine, itl run with half the sensors disconnected. e30 ftw

I can roll with you on the e30 and add e28. The 2.8 and 3.5 engines are bulletproof. Even the 3.2 in my e24 is.

My e32 was too temperamental, but the 3.5 never gave out. The e39 was nice but the cooling system issues are a threat to the reliability of the engines.
.

Turbo_525
08-22-2012, 09:08 AM
I`ve owned & driven BMWs since 1980, and every succeeding generation has become less reliable (lots more plastic crap components , too many overly-complicated systems, too much unnecessary crap like Self-Adjusting clutches, CDV, etc.), and less able to live up to the name "The Ultimate Driving Machine". Looks like those days are gone forever....the E39 and E46 are the last of the "DIY-friendly" BMWs....all newer models bring a whole sh!tload of new technological problems to the table, most of which are beyond the grasp of the typical backyard mechanic (i.e., you and me). In the future, owning any out-of-warranty BMW will be a very painful experience.

+1! I would add the E28 to the list of a great "old" car/classic. I would add the 6'ers of the same era, however the nearly 100% leather interior lining, on almost every surface except the headliner, dosne't age well and would cost $$$$ to replace. Those old 3.5L 2-alve I6's were as close to bulletproof as any engine in a car has come.

"Modern" BMW's, like most modern cars, are designed for a designated service life. Eventually, like most personal computers, they are simply "recycled." :p

GVFlyer
08-29-2012, 05:29 AM
The current 328i xDrive with the N52 NA I-6 is using the 12 generation of that motor. In my view, it would be the most likely in production BMW to go 200,000+ miles.

Turbo_525
08-29-2012, 01:00 PM
The engine could - but the rest of the car (e90) remains to be seen. This is what Fast Bob was reffering to.

JCV
08-31-2012, 12:38 PM
E39 gets my vote

Xerxes
09-02-2012, 02:22 PM
I'd say e34 525i from 93-95, they had the m50tu but still lacked most of the electrical niceties that break. I have a 93 with 180,000 miles on it and all I've had to replace was the water-pump (twice) and a neighbour up the road has a 93 with 415,000 miles on it, his smokes a bit though.

Bimmerzzhott
09-06-2012, 08:27 PM
I would say an old E30, you still see TONS of them on the road. most of the M54 powered BMW's seem to be really reliable (engine/tranny wise, not taking into account electric issues)

I agree I love whenever i see those cars and i have a cousin of mines who never once had a problem with it. U know what you're talking about.

E60*
09-17-2012, 06:48 AM
Personally, my 2005 e60 gave me the least amount of hassle. Apart from servicing i only ever bought a set of new tyres!

My dads E34 520i is still going strong at around 195,000 miles, that car is a tank!

My 97 E36 broke down on me within the first mile of purchase... After that there were the chorus of coolant issues.