Monday, October 1, 2012

Used Car Review - BMW 5 Series (2003-2009)

Myk Belmonte invites you to have bottles of beers with him as the German month of October starts. Let's start this month by featuring a car that has been a benchmark from the Deutsche land. Want to go cruising on the country side? Jump in to this car and enjoy the drive.

2003-2009 BMW 5 Series

Let's answer the question how did the 5 Series got its name. It was the fifth of the so-called "new series" cars after the V-8 and Isetta age. Predecessors include the 700, New Class, New Six, and the CS; with the 5 Series replacing the aging New Six (weird isn't it? Replacing something that has the word new on it). The first 5 Series sedan was launched in 1972 as the E12

31 years later, a newer version of the 5 Series with the platform code E60 had seen dealership floors and prospective owners. It featured a new design cue courtesy of the late BMW designer Davide Arcangeli and numerous on-board gadgetry that received mixed receptions. New for the 5 Series are the controversial "Bangle Butt" rear end, the much talked about iDrive interface, adaptive headlights, a hill start assist, and even a trailer stability program which is useful for towing. Production continued until 2010, with the F10 5 Series replacing it in that year.

Together with the world market, the Philippines had dibs on the E60 5 Series in the same year. It saw a first in the luxury car market, introducing a line of diesel engines for the class. Yeah, we could all remember the Isuzu Gemini and the B12 Nissan Sentra diesels, but, numerous sedans - whether luxury or mainstream - have diesel movers under their hood nowadays. Milestone recognition aside, the E60 stayed until 2009, with the next generation model seen the Filipino consumer hands in the following year.

Value and Costs
If you desire something larger than a 3 Series but something practical than the 7 Series, please to know that a pre-loved E60 5 Series - which is something in the middle - would cost you in the price range of P1,500,000-P2,000,000. The price range does count the regular four and six cylinder engines whether gasoline or diesel. And since there exists BMW Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, my advice is to check them out and if you decide to go for a E60, it would be a wise decision since you can get a limited warranty plus lessen the problems of purchasing a used car.

A common deficiency among European cars is the deteriorating interior quality no thanks to our climate. Plus, make sure that maintenance records are complete since if the owner missed one PMS schedule, expect problems to sprout one by one. A recall done by Asian Carmakers Corporation recently this year which involves the battery cable connector and not having it remedied would lead to the malfunction of the electrical system and the failure of the vehicle to start, make sure the previous owner had it fixed under the recall.

Exterior and Interior
The E60 5 Series utilized a new design direction the saw more curves than sharp edges, despite the usage of the much talked about Bangle Butt in the rear. But then, it featured a striking appearance and the design aged well, which is an advantage of the 5 Series from the past.

Inside, the interior was executed well and was money well spent, you get what you pay for. A huge LCD screen serves as the main screen for the iDrive function. Depending on who you ask, the media interface can be a hit or miss when it comes to user friendliness. Wood accents are present and they do not look tacky at all while the transmission resembles joysticks from gaming consoles that requires time to master it. Interior room is top-notch, since you can invite your friends for that ultimate driving experience. But if you are after the amenities, this is not the car for you.

Three gasoline and two coal powered engines are made options for Filipino buyers. So allow me to discuss them one by one. By default, the base engine is a 2,171cc (for 2003-2006 models) and a N43B20 1,995cc (standard among 2007-2009 units) with four cylinders and 156hp at 6,200rpm and 200Nm at 3,600rpm. The inline six engines include a M54B25 2,494cc (2003-2005), N52B25 2,497cc (2005-2007), and a N53B30 2,996cc that produces 218hp at 6,500rpm and 250Nm at 2,750-4,250rpm. Want more power? A B48 4,799 V8 that possess 367hp at 6,300rpm and 490Nm at 3,400rpm is the engine for you. If you are the budget and fuel conscious person, the diesel engines are just for you. From the start is a M47 1,995cc I4 with 163hp at 4,000rpm and 340Nm at 2,000rpm and go big time with a M57D30 2,993cc I6 that carries 231Nm at 4,000rpm and 500Nm at 1,750rpm. While the I4 and I6 gasoline motivators have decent power, the diesels are the good way to go if you love to have an E60 in your garage. The diesels would out sprint gasoline moved luxury sedans.

Driving Impressions
Jump in the drivers seat, buckle up, put the transmission in drive, and push the accelerator you're good to go. Steering would follow your commands, and the big body defies its skills, you feel that you are driving a small car even on the twisted roads that Antipolo or Compostela Valley has to offer. Numerous safety features such as the stability and traction control would help you if things get far. Keep on driving, and you'll forget the lack of equipment (such as the lack of a CD changer and an auxiliary signal boost) which people who prefer to be driven would complain about.

BMWs - new or old - would offer the same driving experience for decades, and the E60 5 Series is one solid example despite the age. The 5 Series showcases the balance between sportiness and functionality, which explains the deprivation of several luxury items in trade for that excellent driving characteristics. Now you're thinking of getting one since prices are just in the one million range, good luck and remember these tips.

The Good:
  • Strong diesel engines
  • A statement that you had arrived
  • Superb handling and feedback
The Bad
  • Design lacks imagination
  • Lukewarm gasoline powerplants
  • You'll cry for more equipment (but then again you want one for the driving experience, not back seat riding)
The Pick: Diesel variants

Engines: 2,171cc M54B22 (2003-2006), and 1,995cc N43B20 I4 (2007-2009); 2,494cc M54B25 (2003-2005), 2,497cc N52B25 (2005-2007), and 2,996 N53B30 I6 (2007-2009); and 4,799 B48 V8 gasoline. 1,995cc M47 I4 and 2,993 M57D30 I6 diesel.
Power: 156hp @ 6,200rpm (I4 gasoline), 218hp @ 6,500rpm (I6 gasoline), 367hp @ 6,300rpm (V8), 163hp @ 4,000rpm (I4 diesel), 231hp @ 4,000rpm (I6 diesel)
Torque: 200Nm @ 3,600rpm (I4 gasoline), 250Nm @ 2,750-4,250 (I6 gasoline), 490Nm @ 3,400rpm (V8), 340Nm @ 2,000rpm (I4 diesel), 500Nm @ 1,750 (I6 diesel)
Fuel Consumption: 3-9km/L (city), 7-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front McPherson strut, rear multi-link

Price (New): P4,900,000-P7,000,000 (range from 2003-2009)
Price (Now): P1,500,000-P2,000,000
Rivals: Mercedes Benz E Class, Volvo S60, Volvo S80, Audi A6, Chrysler 300, Jaguar S Type
On Sale: 2003-2009

Prestige Cars Makati - 892-8127
Autohaus BMW - 638-0734
Autozentrum BMW - 772-6021

Photos courtesy of

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