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Hi, I've been considering a 97-2001 5-series but i can't quite find the differences from year to year. I've taken a few 540s out for a spin and they're all fun, but I can't quite find out why the 2001 is so much pricer than the 2000. I'm not dead set on a 540, but it seems the price difference is negligible between the 540 and 530. So are there any years I should stay away from or lean towards? Also I'm 6'3 and I'm hoping the car is big enough for me and any backseat passengers. any thoughts?

Thanks!

Chuck
 

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MonstaChuck said:
Hi, I've been considering a 97-2001 5-series but i can't quite find the differences from year to year. I've taken a few 540s out for a spin and they're all fun, but I can't quite find out why the 2001 is so much pricer than the 2000. I'm not dead set on a 540, but it seems the price difference is negligible between the 540 and 530. So are there any years I should stay away from or lean towards? Also I'm 6'3 and I'm hoping the car is big enough for me and any backseat passengers. any thoughts?

Thanks!

Chuck
Im about 6'3, and the car doesn't have enough headroom, and the car is much cramped than its supposed to be. The 2001 recieved many exterior changes, angel lights, and different tail lights, and they made the bumpers smaller to make the car less hefty. They also made new engines, 528i changed to 530i with a more powerful engine, and some revisions to the 540i. Another thing to look at is options, the options on those cars can had up in market value. My advice too is buy a 5 series from 2000 because many options were standard in those cars like xenon lights, and rain sensor (canadian market) plus all the electrical glitches were somewhat fixed in later models.

See the difference in these links:

1997-2000 5-series

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6008&item=4543242555&rd=1

2001-2003 5 series

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=6008&item=4542847189&rd=1

:)
 

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I would get latest model you can. In your range that would be the 2001. In 2001 compared to older models, there were some cosmetic facelifts such as clear tailights and sidemarkers, and angel eye headlights were available. Front foglights also look different.
 

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There were also some changes in the option packages throughout the years, so equipment may vary depending on year. For instance I believe sport seats were not always part of the sport pkg, and moonroof was not always part of the premium pkg. 530's got auto headlights in '02, rain sensing wipers (great feature!)

The 540 also went from single-vanos to double-vanos at one point.

I agree with the others, buy the newest you can afford. What's your budget?
 

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Another thing that I forgot and hopefully you can learn from my mistake. I didn't know much about cars when I bought mine. My car (a 2001 model) has the sport-premium package. However, in order to get power seats for the passenger, it also had to have the convenience package. So, it's kinda f-cked up that my driver seat has power adjustment, but my passenger side only has a manual adjustment. On the plus side, the seat warmers for the cold weather package to apply to both seats.
 

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jvr530i said:
The 540 also went from single-vanos to double-vanos at one point.
not so sure about this one

thought it went from no vanos to single vanos.... the ///m5 I believe has a dual vanos
 

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Get the latest model, (01-03), and an certified series bmw with extended warranty. See if u even buy a old bmw you'll be paying the same price at the end, cuz once these cars reach the 5 year mark, everything starts going. Your better off with a newer 5 series model. Now do the BMW certfied series cars come with bumper to bumper warranty??????
 

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You Lick It, You Own It
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they're all the same.. nothing but braggin' rights for later models. :D

seriously, what is it you are looking for? i picked 98 540 because i decided to avoid VANOS so it's one less thing to break on me (plus it makes more power.. hehe). that's just me.
 

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I'm with Chivas - I'm very happy with my '98. I know Bilal has had problems with his 528, but I am lucky enough to have had no expensive problems.

My recommendations for buying used is buy the one that has all the options you like. There really is not that much difference between the years (lights/ navigation/ cosmetics). My neighbour's 2001 540iA and my '98 are basically twins. The major price difference will be the options in the car, and depreciation between the years.

I'd be less concerned about a warranty than Bilal. Frankly, you won't find a '97 through '00 with a warranty and it would be a shame to write all those years off. Pre-delivery inpection is a must - in particular make sure the following was either done or taken into account in the price:

1) new/ recent cats
2) new/ recent rad
3) tires & brakes in good shape
4) suspension and steering in good shape (no shimmy at any speed)
5) recent battery
6) No accidents that bent any of the galvanized sheet metal
7) full maintenance history with proper oil changes.
8) figure out when the next Inspection 1 or 2 is due (it can be pricy if the dealer does it).

Other common problems are relatively cheap to fix yourself: camshaft position sensor, ignition switch, !$%!!! cupholders, trunk actuator, final stage resistor.

Good luck and have fun.
 

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I'm with rtw_traveler too. I recently bought a '98 540i for a very good price with 62,500 miles and now has 63,600 on it now. I had to replace one cat, the previous owner did not know that he could have that replaced under the federal 8 yr, 80,000 mile warranty, he put on a universal cat and my SES light would not go out, so I had to bear the expense of putting a direct fit cat on it. Now, no problems. Word of caution, I spoke with a very experienced guy who's shop does custom exhausts and in his opinion and experience, the 540's should use a direct fit unit only, and not to use the maganflow/carsound cats that others have used. He has done this to 4-5 540's and they all have returned within 6-8 months with the SES light on. He believes that the exhaust flow is restricted and that is the cause. He does not install the magnaflow/carsound cats on 540's anymore. He did not sell me the cat I ended up using, he just installed it. Two other things that I replaced were a defective climate control unit, and this week the cam positioning sensor, it was the original unit that came with the car. Radiator was replaced at approximately 49,000 miles by the previous owner and I think that I'm set for anything else. Total cost for all of this, parts and labor was $2000. The only thing that I could do myself was the cam positioning sensor, all the other items had to be installed by the shops that I visited. If you have any mechanical abilities, you can save major $$$ on most of the maintenance. MonstaChuck..... Go for the 540!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!
 

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Basically any BMW 5 series is good, if it has a clean track record and full service history then its worth a shot with any year. My friend bought a 1999 528i brand new with the sports pkg and premium pkg, up until now he drove about 280,000km. The funniest thing is the car only needed regular service, brakes, tires, and thats it. Everything is orginal, even the lights didn't burn out yet. :)
 
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