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How good is the E39 compared to newer cars?

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I'm on the lookout for a E39, fell in love with the shape! However I'm aware that money will need to be spent on maintenance as it's a 18 year old car!

 

How does the E39 (530i) compare to newer cars, for example F10 in terms of driving experience and build quality?

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My father in law has an F10 and he loves it... Still prefers the interior, build and ride of mine though... 

 

Plus its smaller in the F10 front than the E39! 

 

They're fantastic cars and yes, will need £££ spending on them (suspension, cooling system etc) but they're worth it ;)

 

Buy the best you can afford, but have at least £500+ spare for any stuff that needs doing ASAP and then go from there 

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After the 530i Automatic, I can understand newer cars having more electronics and gadget but that's not my top priority!

 

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13 minutes ago, GBS said:

After the 530i Automatic, I can understand newer cars having more electronics and gadget but that's not my top priority!

 

 

I love mine as I did my previous 530i...

 

Its the best of the bunch IMO... Unless you find a minter 540i!

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540i has arm twirling steering and is a bit front heavy. I loved mine but often wanted the balance and steering rack of a 530i.

 

My E39 never felt too big but my F11 often does. Other than obvious differences in infotainment, the size is the most obvious thing to me. When I replace the F11, I will look to more E39 size.

 

I still think the E39 was ahead of it's time and only the fact that I can't be arsed to maintain one would put me off one nowadays.

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 Everytime I drive something new I compare it to an e39, so far I haven't driven anything better. A while back I drove a brand new 4 series, it didn't even compare to my mk3 Mondeo, never mind an e39. 

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These cars are now warranting some welding done in the more inaccessible places. Get this done and a tub of undercoat along with some fresh suspension bits and will last you forever. Ish....

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Be prepared for some welding and the average E39 should do another 15 years with some TLC ... Pre may 2001 low tax ...

 The ideal would be the manual 540 .... But really any 540 in clean condition  

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^^ Agreed 540i are the ones to go for!! Before I bought mine (admittedly in E34 guise) I test drove and done a lot of research on 530i's and for me the V8 was just in a different league....

Still o.p the main advice I can offer is if you got your heart set on an E39 530i then go for it! Good cars and I would probably buy on condition of car rather than mileage ;)

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If you don’t drive a really good modern car then they stand up,really well. However hop out of an F10 into an E39 then they do show their age.

 

 

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I prefer the later 5s steering, to my E39 as it's heavier.   However I still say "The E39 is still one of the best driver's cars ever made by today's standards, but especially for that era"

 

The only other criticism is, when I look at the car from behind it seems too narrow.  (Does that make sense?) 

Edited by nealpina

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I have owned examples of the E34, the E39 and my current car, an F10 525d SE.  The current car is a lot bigger than the others, but the biggest difference I notice is the ride quality.

 

I need to use the A9 between Inverness and Aviemore reasonably regularly, and without any danger of exaggeration, I can tell you that the road is worn out.  Finished.  Full of pot holes, cracks and every other issue you can think of.  Parts of it haven't seen any resurfacing since the 1980s.  The E34 handled it well enough, as did the E39 when I had it on either the 16" turbines or the 17" Style 32s.  BUT - the F10, even on 17" wheels (I have never been tempted to go bigger) feels like something is going to break when I hit these bad bits.  It actually feels frightening.  I realise most of this is down to the runflat tyres.  I can only imagine what the Sport version, with its bigger wheels and stiffer suspension would be like.

 

BMW don't provide a wheel well for even a space saver, so I'm stuck with these - otherwise I would get rid of them full stop.  It would be difficult to do now anyway, as it would involve replacing eight tyres - winters and summers - and that's not going to be cheap.

 

To be honest, I feel BMW (and others) have made some bad decisions with their more modern cars.  Shame.

Edited by Calypso-E34

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^^^

 

Fully agree... Back in Feb we popped up the A9 to the Cairngorms and my god the road was atrocious. 4 of us in my E39, on it's winters thankfully and I was at a steady 40-50 in places as the road was falling to pieces

 

Would't like to do it on my current 19s!

 

As for the RFTs; my father in law has just fitted non-RFT Uniroyal RS3s onto his F10 as the 2 rear tyres needed replacing and the fronts only had around 3-4mm on them and he's already stated how much more nicer it is to drive than on the previous RFTs...! They really do make that much of a difference

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4 minutes ago, 535i Andrew said:

Its a six cylinder petrol powered rear wheel drive car.  What's not to like?

 

Yes - it also has decent wheels which aren't shod with granite, and one of those olde worlde spare wheel things........

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The biggest problem with the modern BMW's and something that really gets my goat is that you need to pay extra to get the best ride/handling combination in ticking the VDC/EDC or AD option. Excellence in this department came as std in the older BMW's.

 

Having said that the F11 is a pleasurable ownership experience being more reliable (my experience) than my E39's were. Had my E39's ten years and the F11 is eight years old in December.

Edited by E39mad

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On 3/18/2018 at 12:20 AM, NWJW said:

 Everytime I drive something new I compare it to an e39, so far I haven't driven anything better. A while back I drove a brand new 4 series, it didn't even compare to my mk3 Mondeo, never mind an e39. 

I was the same with the e60 530i tbf

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4 hours ago, Calypso-E34 said:

one of those olde worlde spare wheel things........

 

Lol, I haven't seen one of those in nearly 11 years, when I chopped in my 

 

4 hours ago, 535i Andrew said:

six cylinder petrol powered rear wheel drive car. 

 

 

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On 19/03/2018 at 4:49 PM, Calypso-E34 said:

BUT - the F10, even on 17" wheels (I have never been tempted to go bigger) feels like something is going to break when I hit these bad bits.  It actually feels frightening.  I realise most of this is down to the runflat tyres.  I can only imagine what the Sport version, with its bigger wheels and stiffer suspension would be like.

3

 

Well, OK actually! I have always resisted big wheels etc. for this reason but I really wanted HK and it is rarely available except on MSport Plus pack cars with 19's. I knew I wanted an F11 Touring and the two reasons for test driving mine were A was the 2.0d quick enough (yes, it overtakes the same as the 325i it replaced) and B, was the ride OK (yes, so I bought it). This meant a change from an E91 with SE suspension & 17" wheels with 45 profile non-RFTs to M Sport suspension & 19" wheels with 40 profile RFTs. The F11 rides all of the minor bumps and ridges better than the F11. All the bumps I would know were going to sting, ceased to after the car change. I would say that big bumps, the things I should have avoided, like potholes are a little worse.

 

My family and friends who have ridden in it say they like the ride quality. I appreciate the fact that I don't get an understeering feeling on bumpy roundabouts which the E91 used to give as the front would lose grip by being too stiffly sprung over the dips

 

Probably, what I am experiencing is much better suspension in the 5 series compared to the 3 series. Definitely, I am going off topic. Sorry.

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31 minutes ago, Retset said:

 

Well, OK actually! I have always resisted big wheels etc. for this reason but I really wanted HK and it is rarely available except on MSport Plus pack cars with 19's. I knew I wanted an F11 Touring and the two reasons for test driving mine were A was the 2.0d quick enough (yes, it overtakes the same as the 325i it replaced) and B, was the ride OK (yes, so I bought it). This meant a change from an E91 with SE suspension & 17" wheels with 45 profile non-RFTs to M Sport suspension & 19" wheels with 40 profile RFTs. The F11 rides all of the minor bumps and ridges better than the E91. All the bumps I would know were going to sting, ceased to after the car change. I would say that big bumps, the things I should have avoided, like potholes are a little worse.

 

Interesting.  I guess BMW made a good job of the different suspension on the Sport, taking into account the bigger wheel / tyre combination.  What I would say is that whereas I was happy to add larger wheels to the E39, I wouldn't do so with my F10 - at least not unless I was also changing the springs and dampers.

 

I'm going away for a few days soon with the family, and this will be the first time I have headed down that crappy A9 with the car fully loaded with passengers and luggage.  I hope nothing breaks.  Not a concern I would have had in my last car - the Volvo V70 - with it's softer suspension and taller, non run flat tyres.

 

Another thing I would say - I think the car rides better on the Summer tyres than it does on the winters.  Summers are goodyear (I think), Winters are Dunlops.

Edited by Calypso-E34

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