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  1. #1
    Jamin
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    Looking for advice on what is the best BMW to buy

    I am looking to purchase a BMW. I am looking for advice on what the best used BMW would be from a reliability standpoint. I am leaning toward one of the 5-series cars given the extra back seat room. I hope to only spend around $20k. Any advice on model, year?


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    Best BMW

    Reliability? I would lean towards a 6 cylinder 5 series. I can't really comment on the 3ers, but here is some 5er and 7er information:

    E39 (5er) information.

    .com/forums/posts/17971]E38 (7er) information.

    You are located in the Pacific Northwest?M.Wong
    E38 2000 740iL Orient Blue

    E39 2003 540i/6 Sterling Gray (European Delivery)

    E30 1987 325i Royal Blue (Passed on to a new family.)





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    Second link

    http://www.bimmer board.com/forums/posts/17971

    Sorry,
    Remove the space between bimmer and board... M.Wong
    E38 2000 740iL Orient Blue

    E39 2003 540i/6 Sterling Gray (European Delivery)

    E30 1987 325i Royal Blue (Passed on to a new family.)





  4. #4
    Jim Derrig 93 750
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    Re: Looking for advice on what is the best BMW to buy

    first piece of advice is that the most important factor is the condition of the particular car you're looking at, not the model or year.

    second, if reliability and maintenance costs are a high priority for you, a BMW might not be the best choice. I would strongly advise that you NOT buy a BMW thinking that reliability is going to justify the extra money you paid. Bottom line is that these cars don't pencil out as great deals from a pure cost standpoint. Car lovers pay a premium for the driving experience. Approach the purchase REALIZING this.

  5. #5
    Jamin
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    Re: Looking for advice on what is the best BMW to buy

    To clarify a little - what I really meant to say is what are some of the common problems that I might look for when looking to purchase a used BMW. Are there some years that have had a higher history of certain problems and should be avoided? Is there a link to somewhere to look at what each year's +'s and -'s are?

  6. #6
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    Stay away from...

    All 530i V8s and early 4 liter V8s (unles the owner can prove that the motor has been replaces with the _UPDATED_ block, not just any replacement motor.)
    E32 750iLs due to various electrical gremlins and the fact that they leak oil, trans fluid, hydraulic oil (which is expensive,) and they are costly to maintain.
    Aluminum block 6 cylinders (1999 and up) because they are unrebuildable (the head cannot be torqued down once removed- the threads pull out of the block.)

    That pretty much leaves E32 535i or 525i. Beware of Touring models with SLS rear suspension. The struts are $1400 and special order from Germany. The suspension can be converted to standard coil-overs, but just know that it may need to be done on SLS cars. Oh, and automatics are doomed to need replacement if neglected.

    All of this is from experience, as I am an independant BMW technician. If you like your mechanic and want to put his/her kids through college, buy one of the cars I tried to steer you away from :)
    Good luck!

  7. #7
    Jim Derrig 93 750
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    Re: Stay away from...

    Good advice, but I think he meant the E34 5 series, 6 cyl, not the "E32 5 series" as E32 is a 7 series.

    You can easily find an E34 for under $20,000. They've been out of production since 1996, however, so finding a good one is another question. Plenty of overpriced, high mileage stuff out there.

  8. #8
    Hallen (AKA Eric smashed 94 740iL)
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    Tough question to answer

    You could write a book on it :)
    I can mostly speak to the E32 cars.
    What Paul and Jim say is correct. I personally had a Nikasil block in my car, and it was fine. However, it was always a source of worry for me wondering if it would ever start to fall apart. You don't hear about these engines dying much anymore, but that may be beacause there are not many left out there...
    All BMW (ZF and others) automatic transmission suck. Many experts, including Mike Miller, say that a BMW automatic will generally fail between 80k and 120k miles. And that is failing in such a way as to require a full rebuild. I think that with proper maintenance most will go for mor than 120k miles, but the plain fact is most don't get serviced properly. Plus, BMW is now big on this "lifetime fill" bull hocky so on the newer cars, you can expect that the transmission fluid has NEVER been changed. The E32 740 was the first to use this new wonderful concept.

  9. #9
    Velocewest
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    Buy a '80 or '81 e12 5 speed

    You will find a good one for under $2k, then spend another $1k having a Motronic 3.5 dropped in, and another $2k on a good paint job, and I'd drop another $1k on a set of restored e21 Recaro seats and fresh carpets (I really like new carpets). Roomy, reliable, plenty fast, no car payment sucking the life out of you, cheap to insure, and you won't see yourself at every stoplight.

    Then send the other $14k to me, I have a lot of BMW's to support.

    Tony

  10. #10
    bob
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    Re: Looking for advice on what is the best BMW to buy


  11. #11
    bob
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    Re: Looking for advice on what is the best BMW to buy


  12. #12
    deputer
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    01-03 E39 530, great cars!!!


  13. #13
    jb
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    Re: Looking for advice on what is the best BMW to

    to be quite frank, you won't be able to find any sort of a decent condition 5-series for less than $30k, and if you are looking into a luxury sedan at a price of 20k, then maybe BMW isnt right for you.

    If you REALLY want a reliable beamer with good power handling and overall comfort/style then i would suggest one of their 3-series models.

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