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Seeking opinions on newer 3 series coupes & 5 series

Discussion in 'BMW' started by Tony Poulton, Dec 9, 2011.

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    Tony Poulton

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    Currently have a 2002 530i. Love it but now looking for more predictable car expense... 2008 or newer, Sport package, CPO, either another 5 or maybe a change to a 3-series coupe.
    Would really appreciate opinions and experiences with either model, especially regarding the different engine options.
    I love the inline six on my current 530. It's smooth, powerful and has proved reliable. So am tempted to stick with that on a newer model. But what about the turbo engines on both the 3s and 5s? Recall hearing not-so-good things about them in the past (fast but prone to repair trouble) but some say BMW have resolved that now? And there's the V8s on the 550s? Haven't heard much at all about those.
    Oh, and then there's the polarizing run-flats debate (tolerate-them or hate-them?) and, similarly, the no-dipstick arguments...
    Any advice and counsel, pluses and minuses, positives and negatives, all gratefully received. Thanks
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    The electronic oil-level sensors have been around for over 10 years. They're fail-safe and well tested; mine (E46 and E90) have been very reliable and accurate. Yeah, not having a dipstick is stupid, but I wouldn't worry.

    The newer RFT's seem to be much better than 1st generation (now on at least 3rd gen.) Even Satch has said they're ok.

    The turbo engines and their fuel pumps seem to be much better, now. Too early to tell how long the turbo(s) last. The early wastegate problems seem to be gone. A post LCI (2009) 3-series should be a pretty good car.

    The diesel engines (I have one) have been very reliable, except for emissions systems (but they seem to have a handle on them). Still pretty new, however.

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    Out with the old, in with the new ... It's going to be a little tough finding a newer BMW that matches the overall package of your E39. I too drive a 2002 5 series, and love it. I honestly don't know where I'll go next when mine gives up.

    We've also leased a couple of E90 cars over the last 6 years. Started with the first E90 330xi west of the Mississippi. That was a great little car! Never should have let it go...big mistake. It was replaced by a 2008 335xi. What a rocket! The first year brought on a few problems but, wow, such fun to drive. Great bang for the buck ... for a while. The 2nd year was very frustrating and disappointing, trouble, trouble, trouble. The final year of the lease was horrible! We almost forgot what the car looked like ... it was in the dealership service department so many times, with us driving some basic 328i as a loaner. That year was a personal trial, feeling like nothing short of the Wrath of God. Between the design/engineering flaws/failures and the abject failure of BMW US to acknowledge and deal with the problems, it was a nightmare.

    On the bright side, it looks like the fuel pump issue might be under control now (eight design upgrades over five model years). If you look at the earlier turbo cars (335, 535) be absolutely sure to have documentation of the needed recalls, repairs and upgrades before even considering the purchase of one. If you find one with appropriate miles on the clock, with full service history, it just might make a very enjoyable replacement for you. If you find one that had an obsessive/compulsive owner (like me), who did oil changes at sensible intervals, all the better. The new electronic technocr*p steering is a little numb, but you'll get used to it. When they're running right, they're a blast.

    The 3rd gen fun-flats are indeed a large improvement over the early tires. Not great ... maybe not even good ... but certainly acceptable. Our last set, on the 335xi, was much quieter and smoother and still had decent tread when we turned the car in at 46,000 miles. Can't complain about that. We have the newest run-flats on the F25 X3 and they're really not bad.

    Good luck and let us know how your search turns out.

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